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NJ HS Hockey – Gordon Conference Preview: Defending State Champ CBA, Don Bosco, Bergen Catholic Primed; Delbarton a Year Older

The state’s top conference will again have two 5-team divisions. Each of the 10 teams will play the other once for a nine-game league schedule leading up to the Gordon Cup.

AMERICAN DIVISION

DON BOSCO PREP

The Ironmen came up just a bit short in last year’s state finals, bowing 4-1 to Christian Brothers Academy. Coupled with a 1-0 loss in the Gordon Cup championship game, a pick-up on scoring will be a priority this winter.

The personnel is definitely there. A talented returning core includes the likes of senior captain Connor Sedlak (22-20-42), sophomore Ryan Fine, a BU commit who put up 23 points in just 15 games a year ago, another highly-regarded sophomore in Sal Guzzo (25 pts), junior Matt Inbraino (12 pts) and senior Brenden Flaherty (10 pts). Freshman Dean Toskos is ready to show his talents.

Defensively, coach Greg Toskos can be confident with the return of senior captain Zach Hammond, junior captain Lukas Klemm (17 pts) and sophomore Drew Fortescue (11 pts). New junior Marian Mosko and freshman Kenny Kalman look to chip in.

Bosco will also be strong in goal with the tandem of senior Kevin Rose and sophomore Ethan Marich, both of whom had 10 wins a year ago, back for another season.

CHRISTIAN BROTHERS

A great 2019-20 campaign ended in a state Private School championship a year ago. This year, the Colts will have to settle vying for a Gordon Cup title. “Staying mentally focused in this shortened season” will be a key according to coach Andy Gojdycz.

Assistant captain Robert Setteducati headlines a host of returning forwards that includes fellow seniors Greg Findeisen, Justin Lidonici and Ryan Howard, juniors Zach Wagnon, Ray Cartigiano and Aidan Guinnessey and sophomore Leighton Biesadecki. Youngsters looking to make their mark are sophomores Antonio Donahue and William Thygeson and freshmen Michael Schmelzer and Christian Chouha.

A veteran defensive unit features senior captain Colin Grable, senior assistant captain Lucas Salas, senior Matt Romano, junior Thomas Atanacio and sophomores Patrick Reilly and Michael Gravina. New junior Jason Andreyev adds to the talented mix.

And in goal, the Colts return the NJ Player of the Year in junior John Donohoe, as well as junior Joseph Cartigiano.

BERGEN CATHOLIC

Coming off its most successful season in 15 years, Bergen is ready to be a serious challenger for both the division and the Gordon Cup.

A solid returning core up front includes sophomore Aram Minnetian (22-11-33) along with juniors Antonio Arcaroli (17 pts), Mick Thompson (12 pts) and Matthew Higgins.  A trio of freshmen – Alex Frassetto, Matthew Miglio and Johnny Mustard – all look to have an impact.

Seniors Shane Carr and Brenden Kelly, and junior Bryceon Lugo all return for coach Tom Keough’s blue line unit. Freshman Jacob Carver projects to join the mix.

In the nets, new junior Frank Smith (Paramus Catholic transfer), new sophomore Gavin Schornstein (transfer from Avon Old Farms) and returning sophomore Ryan Henry will battle for time.

DELBARTON

No less than nine freshmen played last season for the Green Wave, so the hope is with a year of varsity hockey under their belts, the team as a whole will be much stronger and be competitive with everyone on the schedule.

A strong returning group up front features senior Nick Mondello, juniors Kai Berezniak and James Royse and a big sophomore group of Chase Pirtle, Trip Pendy, Roshean Nissangaratchie, Jack Olsen and Luke Benitez.  Sophomore transfer Nick Faccone, sophomore Tim Galvin and freshman Cal Hughes add quality depth.

Five defensemen are also back for vetern coach Bruce Shatel, in his 20th year behind the bench, in seniors Grady Burke and Jakc Benitez, junior Ray Berezniak and sophomores Sam Hall and Alex Bosland. Freshman Dan D’Allesandro looks to crack the lineup.

Goaltending will be handled by returning senior Brett Cleaves and sophomore transfer Jason Cai.

GLOUCESTER CATHOLIC

A lot of work off the ice will be a key factor in how the Rams fare this winter.

The forward lines features a host of returners in seniors Dylan Koski, Zack Johnson and Tyler Carter, junior Ryan Talorico and sophomores Billy Sheridan and Casey Johnson.

On the blue line, senior Jake Grace will have a key role. Sophomore Mike Hoffner returns and new junior Sonny Dinubile and freshman Cole Longacre will vie for minutes.

Returning junior Zack McErlain and freshman Billy Stuski will be expected to handle the goaltending duties for third-year coach Tom Bunting.

NATIONAL DIVISION

POPE JOHN XXIII

Development will be the name of the game this winter for the Lions, who will have just one senior and 20 others who are sophomores or freshmen on the roster.

Forward leaders for coach Ryan Brown will be holdovers Lucas Buchanan (27 pts), a junior, and Scott Vanderhoff (12 pts), a sophomore. Newcomers Nathan Meola, Robbie Myshkoff and Matt Hughes will be contributing.

A young defense will be anchored by sophomores Jack Kelmer and Brandon Young. Freshman Jake Stevens and Declan Murphy will press for time..

ST. AUGUSTINE PREP

Coach Tim Fingerhut feels a quick start to the season will help put his squad in a good position come playoff time. “There is no margin for error as we only play each opponent one time so keeping every game close will be important.” he said.

The Hermits boast a nice nucleus to work with up front with the return of seniors Alex Scimeca (30 pts), Bobby Munden (22 pts) and Nick King (18 pts), and junior Jacob Smith (14 pts).

Senior goalie Matt Lynch is back, as is defenseman Colin Ogborn, who had 14 points last season. New sophomore Ryan Vaites will be a help on the blue line.

ST. PETER’S PREP

With a young squad, a major focus for the Marauders will be to play disciplined hockey.

In the forward ranks, seniors Jake Barrera and Nick Centrone, junior Jack Fischer and sophomore Cory Robinson return for coach Ken Such. Adding to the mix are juniors Mike Benkovitz, Chris Benkovitz and Bryan Arrendondo.

The nucleus of the St. Peter’s defensive game will be led by senior Casey Truppner and returning sophomores Oliver Harag and Matthew January.

A pair of goalies return with varsity action in seniors Jimmy Gallagher and Aaron Rodriguez.

SETON HALL PREP

With the shortened season in mind, games will take on that much more significance. “We need to be clicking on all cylinders very quickly,” said coach Mike Atkinson.

The Pirates’ offensive game will revolve around seniors Ryan Rodrigues and Brendan Walvada and junior Patrick Zincone.

Three defensemen to watch are seniors Harrison Rocheville and Ben Colluci and junior Oliver Grinken.

ST. JOSEPH REGIONAL

The Green Knights are back in the Gordon Conference for the first time in over 20 years and look to be competitive out of the chute.

Veteran coach Larry Mahurter has a good core to work with up front, led by seniors Justin Hughes (32 pts) and Michael Angeletti (19 pts), both All Big North selections a year ago. Senior Thor Hansen (21 pts) and juniors Thomas Hilliard (19 pts) and T.J. Bayer are three more key returners at forward. Junior Garret Keta, a transfer from Bergen Catholic, should have a role.

Senior Domick Mas (19 pts), another All Big North selection, anchors the defense. Three juniors – Dylan Stile (10 pts), Brian Atwell and Ryan Tobin – are three additional experienced blue liners. New junior Patrick Freitas adds to the depth.

In goal, senior Thomas Spero was 12-1-0 last winter with a 0.86 gaa and four shutouts en route to an All Big North selection.

Gary Demopoulos
Gary Demopoulos has been covering prep school hockey for the HNIB News for over 30 years, and has been the editor of the HNIB News since 2005. A former sportswriter and news editor at the Woburn (MA) Daily Times Chronicle, he has been the HNIB News' key reporter for Mens Prep School hockey since 1988, as well as womens hockey, both at the prep school and high school levels. for almost 20 years. Gary also helps organize and oversee HNIB's many summer tournaments and festivals for scholastic players.
Gary Demopoulos
- 4 days ago
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