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NJ HS Hockey – Morris County Secondary School Ice Hockey League: Strong Mennen Division Expected

The league again will be broken into four divisions: Mennen, Halvorsen, Charrette and Haas. Defending State Public A state champion Morris Knolls/Hills plays in the Mennen Division. Here is a look at a host of teams in the league:

MENNEN DIVISION

MORRISTOWN

With no state tournament to look forward to, the Mennen Cup takes on added significance and the Colonials look to be in the running for that prestigous honor.

Coach Bobby Jones’ team should be solid offensively, as Stefan Brockmann (25 pts), Harry Santen (20 pts), Conor Critchley (22 pts) and Jack McKenna (24 points) all return to lead the way. Also back in the fold are Ryan Daniolowicz, Stephen Grimes, Chris Herity, Jack Langan, Nikko Inserra and Nick Romano. Freshman forwards Jackson Byrne and Liam Wilson.

Jack Keller (13 pts) and Francis Zaklukiewicz (9 pts) key a deep defensive corps that also includes Conor Herity, Kobi Day, Patrick Bozza and Chris Kay. Sophomore Desmond Minogue and freshman Brody Toye will battle for minutes.

The Colonials also welcome back Dylan Peck in goal.

Jason Kwestel
Morris Knolls/Hills

Timmy Kepler
Morris Knolls/Hills

Andrew Ryan
Morris Knolls/Hills

MORRIS KNOLLS/HILLS

With a solid core of returning seniors from the Golden Eagles back-to-back Public A state championship outfits, things are looking good.

No less than seven seniors are back for coach Tim Kepler. Guys like Jason Kwestel (49 pts), Andrew Ryan (47 pts), Gehrig Eckoff (26 pts), Jake Diloretto (15 pts), Dylan Idland (15 pts), Jake Quinn (14 pts) and Jeff Quin (6 pts) all produced in a big way a year ago. New juniors Ryan Murcer and Kyle Thornton join the fold as well.

Seniors Timmy Kepler (16 pts) and J.D. Florio are veteran defensemen, joined on the blue line by sophomore Bryan McCarter. Senior Danny Dreisbach and junior Dante Tironi add some nice depth.

In the nets, sophomore Aidan Marvin returns from last year’s varsity, and will be joined by senior Michael Maines.

CHATHAM

With the shortened schedule this winter, communication between players will be important and Chatham will look to make sure it gets its new players inteegrated into the system as quickly as possible.

Offensive fortunes for coach Brendon Herr will fall on returning skaters like seniors Ryan Sordillo, Declan Curry, Will White and Brandon Lupi, and junior Thomas Sennett.

Three sophomores – Doyle Curry, Ryan Burke and Kory Kleinle – will be vital to success on the blue lin for the Cougars.

As many as nine freshmen could see action with the program this year.

RANDOLPH

The Rams lost 15 players from last season’s club that won a Public B state championship, so regrouping will be a focus for veteran coach Rich McLaughlin, entering his 29th year behind the bench.

Two sophomores coming off big 9th grade seasons that will be offensive catalysts are Zach Gallo (31 pts) and Ben Yurchuk (42 pts). Senior Luke Spagnuolo is back up front as well. Newcomers Nick Gaynor (senior) and Jack Rueff (sophomore) hope to contribute.

Senior Matt Cislo and junior Jordan Cross should log a lot of minutes on the Randolph blue line. Senior Scott Kuridza will have a role. In goal, sennior Joe Yutsus is back from last winter’s state title club.

MORRISTOWN-BEARD

The defending Mennen Cup champions not only will have to navigate through a tough league slate, they also have an ambitious group of non-league opponents on the docket, once they can get back out on the ice.

Plenty of firepower returns up front for coach Scott Greene, namely senior captains Seth Kaplan (41 pts) and Cam Fernandez (42 pts), junior captain Andrew Low (35 pts), junior Nick Vantassell (35 pts) and sophomore Hollis Humphries (41 pts).  Freshman Henry Fernandez is a youngster to watch.

A solid defensive core features senior Tristan Long, juniors Noah Jones (21 pts), Jack Ochab (17 pts) and Charlie Guida. Add to the bunch junior transfer Kareen Alazem, already committed to D1 RPI.

New sophomore Julian Melendez will look to see time in the nets for the Crimson.

HALVORSEN DIVISION

MADISON

Former assistant Joe Cecala takes over the top job for the Dodgers and feels with his strong leadership core of returning seniors, they can make a strong push for a Haloversen Cup title.

A deep group returns in the forward ranks, led by a trio of seniors in Aidan Niceberg (35 pts), Jacoby Erickson (28 pts) and Johny Hamwee (16 pts). Also back are juniors Andrew Haralampoudis, Luke Wirth and Andrew Cimino, and sophomores Tyler Shannon (11 pts) and Chris Piacenti.

Senior Matty Gero (2o pts) anchors the defense for the Dodgers. juniors Liam O’Hearan and Ethan Veres and senior Mikey Scheier return as well. In goal, senior Keaton Tom is a returning starter, and sophomore Luke Chayut is also back.

The team also welcomes as many as eight new faces to the lineup.

MENDHAM

Keep an eye on Mendham.

The offensive production will be built around a pair of junior returners in Tristan Aitkenhead and Griffin Jozefek. Other returning players to watch are junior Sean Caddo and sophomores Mac Goggin, Eric Gloie and Michael Gionco.

In goal, look for senior Tim Tamboowalla.

KINNELON/SPARTA/JEFFERSON

Sparta and Jefferson have joined forces with Kinnelon to form what shoud be a competitive co-op program under the guidance of Jeff Myrhen. Developing chemistry will be key.

Look for a quartet of seniors – James Battaglia, Matthew Francescutto, Kyle Sutton and Will Donaldson – to carry the load on offense.

New sophomores Aiden Ferguson and Connor O’Neil will join with senior Matthew Espinoza and Mitch Fradkin to form the nucleus of the SKJ United defensive core. Senior Brett Lewis will be a veteran presence in goal.

CHARRETTE DIVISION

PARSIPPANY REGIONAL

Coach Anthony Egidio is looking for his team to improve each and every time they hit the ice.

Senior Michael Hammer and junior Nicholas Sibilia will be offensive leaders, while junior David Zilinskis (19 goals) will be a top defenseman, along with sophomore Kyle Kirk.

BERNARDS

This is another three-team co-op program as Bernards, Somerville and Middlesex form this club. Managing everything during the pandemic with three schools and two different rinks has been challenging for the team which moves from the Skyland Conference, which means getting familiar with a host of new opponents.

Senior Ed Berman and junior Chris DeRogatis should figure prominently in the team’s offensive attack. Bolstering the forward group are junior Aidan Brown and freshmen Taylor Favreau and Jimmy Hathaway.

Senior Paul Wendling and junior Aidan Gallagher are key blue liners for coach Paul Manore. Returning in goal is senior Maggie Smith.

HAAS DIVISION

WEST MORRIS CENTRAL

With a young team, the focus this winter for coach Phil Togno will be development for the future.

The two seniors on the club – Andrew Spina and Lucas Garrido – will have key roles up front for a group that also returns juniors Spencer Drodzowski, Steven Cardinal and Paul Bietka, and sophomores Matt Healy, Dylan Babb, Jake Calhoun and Quintin Valetto.

Five players return on the blue line in juniors Max Michalski and Brendan Donlon, sophomores Jimmy Thompson and Will Lindquist and freshman Jake Salamone.

Sophomore Phil Togno was the #1 guy in goal as a freshman last winter and will be a plus between the pipes for West Morris.

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
- 2 days ago
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