NH Division 1 Preview: Chase is on to unseat Bedford

Kevin Doyle
Kevin Doyle
Kevin joined HNIB in 1990 and is a Senior Writer and Director of the Northern New England and Mass/R.I. High School Division camps. A veteran editor/writer of 40 years in the print and digital mediums, he has edited and produced original content and coordinated production for local and global publications and websites. He holds degrees from Merrimack College and Boston University and won multiple industry awards as Sports Editor of The Daily News of Newburyport and News Editor of The Amesbury News. He is the 2016 recipient of the North Shore Lifetime Commitment From the Community award presented by Moynihan Lumber and a 2017 Newburyport High School Wall of Fame inductee. He resides with his family in Portsmouth, NH. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @kdoyle40

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BEDFORD (19-1-1)

The Bulldogs steamrolled the competition a year ago, annexing their second straight D1 State title (fifth overall). Primary among the tasks facing veteran coach Marty Myers and his staff this season will be replacing a significant chunk of the offense taken away by graduation.

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Kyle Greer
Bedford
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Parker Joyce
Bedford
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John Sylvain
Bedford
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“We are looking to compete this season with a good balance of offense and defense. We hope to have a balanced attack with all the lines and to play tough in the defensive zone,” said Myers.

Top returnees at forward are seniors Kyle Greer, who is expected to be a key contributor on the power play; Nate Musgrave, who excels on the kill; and Zach Bayer, a solid two-way player. Junior Jack Sylvain (10 points) will be counted on for increased offense and junior Kambal Vaidya adds quality depth. Junior Parker Joyce leads the defense and sophomore John Giroux will log significant time.

Jack Johansen
Bishop Guertin

BISHOP GUERTIN (12-9-2)

The Cardinals graduated only a handful from a team that clawed its way to the semifinals a year ago before being bounced by Bedford. That experience should bode well for coach Gary Bishop’s club.

Cam Fagan
Bishop Guertin

“We have good team chemistry with seven seniors returning. With no returning goaltender, competition for the starting position will be intense,” Bishop noted.

Ben Peterson (17-13-30) leads a quartet of senior forwards that achieved double digit points a year ago, including Cam Fagan (9-4-13), Liam Nye (5-6-11) and Ryan Flynn (6-4-10). Senior Nick Gould and sophomores Aaron Pratt and Matt Zeichek add to the mix. Defensemen Jack Johansen and Jared Zeichek, both seniors, are sound two-way players. Depth will be culled from a strong JV program.

NASHUA NORTH/SOUHEGAN

New head coach Peter LaCroix and former assistant (2013-15) will have his work cut out as he tries to steer a program that one but a single game last season in the right direction.

“We are certainly a young team, for sure. I do believe we can accomplish a lot as long as we can think, dedicate and support one another as a team,” he said.

Christopher Constant and Dean Paquette return as key components on defense with speedy winger Cade Facey looked to as the leader on offense. Eren LeBonte and Robert Morel will compete for the goaltending job.

CONCORD (18-6-0)

After rolling to the State title game last season, this year’s version of the Crimson.

Tide must overcome the graduation loss of nine players. The goal is for the Tide to be playing its best hockey in March.

“I believe we can be a competitive team but we have a lot of new players. I’m hoping we will improve as the season goes along and the younger players develop,” said veteran coach Duncan Walsh.

Matt Pappalardo
Salem

Senior defenseman Liam O’Brien, an honorable mention All-State selection a year ago, and junior defenseman Andrew Paquette bring experience to the blue line in front of returning senior goalie Spencer Burgess. Senior forward Drew Livingston popped in 13 goals a year ago.

Chris Wilson
Salem

SALEM (16-5-2)

The Blue Devils could be hard-pressed to approach the success of last year’s semifinal club. A fair number of key operatives graduated, including standout goalie Paddy Capsalis, while talented underclassmen Mitchell McGinn transferred to Governors Academy.

Senior forward Matthew Pappalardo (24-13-37) will shoot to match or exceed his production from a year ago. Junior forward Chris Wilson returns with experience and sophomore Eric McDermott returns from injury looking to make his mark. Senior Sebastian Farah (13 points) is the top defenseman.

“The team will play sound Defense and will rely on the power play to generate offense,” said long-time coach Mark McGinn.

Dakota Robinson
Pinkerton

PINKERTON (11-7-1)

The Astros enjoyed a successful debut campaign under coach Sam Littlefield a year ago, reaching the playoff quarterfinals. They will be looking to build on that and take the next step.

“Carry over the success we had last year, but work to make a more sustained effort at the end of the season,” said Littlefield, stressing the importance of “hard work, good defense, solid goaltending (and) playing smart.”

Anders Dachsteiner
Exeter

The core group of veterans is made up of seniors Nick Trask and Patrick Hare and junior Gennaro Marra at forward; senior defensemen Colin Leighton and Cam Leborgne; and goaltenders Dakota Robinson, a junior, and Matt Gilliland, a sophomore. Junior forwards Landon McClure and Jonathan Last and sophomore defensemen Jack Normand and Sam Patti will look to make their mark.

EXETER (6-14-1)

Hall of Fame coach Jim Tufts will rely on a small core of veterans as the Blue Hawks work toward a return to post-season.

Senior forwards Ben Baldasaro, Anders Dachsteiner and Tommy Civiello will be leaned on heavily for on-ice production and overall leadership. Tufts and his staff will settle upon remaining roster spots during tryouts.

Ethan Messner
Trinity

TRINITY (6-12-0)

Long-time coach Mike Connell said experience in goal and quality forwards are the strengths for his young team.

Eric Favreau
Trinity

Junior goalie Ethan Messner will look to build on a stellar sophomore campaign while senior Nate Arcand and junior Eric Favreau, both wings, return as top forwards.

Freshman forwards Anthony Dizillo and Cadin Booth and freshmen defensemen Brandon Boss and Cam Laventure will push for regular playing time.

HANOVER (16-7-0)

Veteran coach Dick Dodd said continued improvement and daily development will be crucial for the Marauders following the graduation of nine players from last year’s team that won nine of its final 11 games and reached the quarterfinals.

Owen Stadheim
Hanover

Key returnees at forward are senior David Lehmann (9-11-20), junior Elias Zinman (5-5-10) and sophomore Owen Stadheim (18 assists). Senior Braxton McNulty will lead the defense.

BISHOP BRADY (6-10-1)

Ed Seney, the highly successful former St. Anselm’s coach, steps onto the Giants’ bench this winter. He envisions a hard-working group that will rely heavily on its returning core of players.

“The team will work hard to build consistent scoring from the start and drill the fundamentals. With a strong core of returning goalies, the defense will develop with the experience of the net minders,” Seney said.

The goalies are senior Thomas Scott and junior Matt Strickland. Junior Kevin Anderson is the most experienced returning defenseman. Senior Max Lamora and juniors Michael Kenison and Cooper Nadeau lead the forwards. Junior Arthur Snow (D), senior Matthew Tremblay (F) and sophomore Trevor Gallagher (F) will press for time

MANCHESTER MEMORIAL (2-12-1)

Coach Mark Putney is hopeful a core group of upperclassmen is supplemented by a number of new freshmen as the Crusaders seek to trend upward.

“We are looking forward to team development and a successful season,” he said.

The senior foursome of forwards Jared Chandonnet and Patrick Goren, defenseman Eric Langley, and goaltender Charles Degust will lead the way.

MANCHESTER CENTRAL (10-10-0)

New coach Eric Fischer inherits a program that clawed its way into the post-season a year ago, reaching the quarterfinals. Disciplined team defense will be crucial for the Little Green.

“The players are hungry to build on last year’s successes and have their sights on a playoff run,” Fischer said.

Senior center Sam Hebert, who scored both goals in last season’s 2-1 tournament win against Bishop Brady, is the focal point of the offense. At six feet, three inches, senior Brendan Courtney looms large on the blue line. Sophomore Noah Orr is another key defenseman.

LONDONDERRY (10-8-0)

The Lancers may not be top of mind when the season begins, but they likely will be soon enough. Coach Peter Bedford has a good blend of seasoned veterans and promising newcomers.

“(We have) cautious optimism for a solid season with hopes of making a strong playoff run,” he said.

There is depth at forward where seniors Nate Andrews and Jared Tuccolo, juniors Patrick Murphy and Patrick McKinnon and sophomore Nicholas Pitarys all return. Senior Jacob Parilla and junior Anthony Federico are blue line veterans. Four defensemen and two forwards are among newcomers competing for regular time.

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