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NH Division 2 Preseason Top 10: Experienced Windham is the pick

New Hampshire D2 Poll

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In the collective opinion of the coaches, identifying the top two teams heading into this season was clear enough. Choosing a favorite? Not so much.

Riding a hunch here that No. 1 Windham will be motivated to do something memorable in its final D2 campaign before bumping up to D1 next year. Second-year coach Shawn Dunn’s club has abundant experience after last year’s youth movement yielded a semifinal berth. Senior goalie Max Daly is among the best in the division.

Reigning State Champ No. 2 Bow has a well-documented history of excellence under coach Tim Walsh. The thought here is that these Falcons will have a different look, relying on a defense that features stellar junior goalie Nathan Carrier while re-tooling an offense that graduated more than 60 percent of its production.

Could the top pair be destined for a reprise of their 2016 title game, won by Windham? Stay tuned.

No. 3 Dover bounced up, down and all around a year ago. Consistency is the goal under second-year coach Mike Young, who is counting on top-shelf production from a veteran forward group.

No. 4 St. Thomas Aquinas welcomes long-time high school and Junior coach Wayne Sheehan, who brings 20 years of experience to the program. A substantial core group returns from last year’s semifinal team.

Long-time assistant Chris McIntosh takes over as coach for No. 5 Keene. The Blackbirds graduated heavily from last year’s finalist but do return D2 Goaltender of the Year in Myles Ditkoff, a dominant force.

No. 6 Spaulding will lean on a group of proven underclassmen to power the offense as it shoots to move beyond last year’s quarterfinal appearance.

No. 7 Goffstown and No. 8 Portsmouth/Newmarket could both surprise. New coaches are on board at No. 9 Merrimack (Dan Beliveau) and No. 10 Lebanon (Jim Damren).  Alvirne (Matt Simpson) and Oyster River (Peter Harwood) also welcome new coaches.

Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle joined the HNIB team in 1990 and is a Senior Writer and Director of the Northern New England and Mass/R.I. High School Division camps. An award-winning veteran editor/writer of 35 years experience in the print and digital mediums, he has conceptualized, edited and produced original content and coordinated production for local and global publications and their websites. He holds degrees from Merrimack College and Boston University and won multiple NEPA and NEAP awards during his tenure 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 is a 2017 inductee into the Newburyport High School Wall of Fame. The Newburyport, MA native resides with his family in Epping, NH. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @kdoyle40.
Kevin Doyle
- 5 hours ago