The Rhode Island Division 2 field will consist of 13 teams this winter…
Home Rink: Adelard Arena
Cumberland had an incredible year in Division 2, winning the state title. But the road ahead will certainly be challenging. The team graduated a lot and had its goalie change schools.
“We do have a good core of upperclassmen returning,” Cumberland coach Mark Andreozzi said.
Dominic Rousseau and Ryan Taylor are strong defensemen, and Aidan Clarely, Jordan Cullion and Keith Sisson are strong returning forwards.
“Mostly, we have a young group that needs to develop,” Andreozzi said. “We need to work hard and play disciplined and hopefully we are better at the end of the year.”
NORTH SMITHFIELD (8-9-0)
Home Rink: RISC
The Northmen will count on returnees like Ryan Andreoni, Max Bischoff, Andrew Cabral, Matthew Dinezza, Brayden Driscoll and Noah Lemoine up front for scoring.
Jackson Lynch, Logan Wieker, Seth Pickering, Max Mattos and Peyton Mace are back on the backline.
“We hope to use last year’s experience of losing to Cumberland in the first round of the playoffs as a springboard into this season,” North Smithfield coach Ben Shatraw said. “We have 11 seniors on the team this season who embody what it means to be a Northmen. We are hoping to play a complete end-to-end game and use opportunities given to us to our advantage.”
CRANSTON WEST (11-5-0)
Home Rink: Cranston Ice Rink
The Falcons, led by coach Matt Brannon, have three senior forwards that combined for 91 points last year — Cam Koretsky (20-20-40), Dylan Demers (11-18-29) and Josh Zambarano 10-12-22).
With 13 seniors the team should be one of the league’s most experienced teams.
“My seniors have played in both Division 1 and Division 2 so they have gained a lot of experience over the last three seasons,” Brannon said.
PCD/ST. RAY’S/WHEELER (18-5-1)
Home Rink: Lynch Arena
Division 2 state runners-up PSW gets back to work under coach Kevin Sullivan. Senior captains Michael Barone, right wing, and Bennett Hicks, left wing, are a nice duo up front, and classmate Don Reposa will be on the left wing. Junior right wingers Ben Force and Chris Depina.
Drew Andell, senior captain, is a strong defender, and he is back with junior Hunter Parker and sophomore Jack Lemire. Senior goalie Sean Moreau and junior goalie Jeff Pimental will be guarding the nets.
The team needs to get healthy after many injuries from fall sports, Sullivan said. “Young players need to step up and contribute,” he added. “The team came so close last year. Everyone is hungry and wants to get back to the finals.”
Home rink: Burrillville
Dave Plante is back for his second year with the Chieftains. Seniors Seth Waterman, John O‘Donnell and Ray Goff and junior Otto Baumann lead returnees on the front side. Senior Ed Marceau and sophomores Zach Poirier and Eathan Jasmin return on the back line.
Plante is optimistic for the upcoming season. With the graduation of nine players, he said he looks at this year as a rebuilding year.
“We have some work to do,” Plante said. “The key to success is getting them to play as a team, support each other and work hard. We will hold our own against all opponents. We could be the spoiler as the season progresses.”
SOUTH KINGSTOWN (3-11-1-1)
Home Rink: Boss Arena
Toby Gibbons’ Rebels have a lot of experience coming back. They are led by seniors Evan Adams, Andy Sprague, Zach Hupf, Aidan Moriarty and Ezra Gonsalves. Seniors Aidan Moriarty and Matt Boynton are back on defense along with classmate Ricky Mather in net. Junior Bennett Souza and goalie Joe Bruno, another junior, can contribute.
“We are playing fast and as a team,” Gibbons said. “We should be able to get pucks in the net. We will work on defending our zone and competing all 200 feet.”
ROGERS/MIDDLETOWN/ROCKY HILL (9-6-0)
Home Rink: St. Georges
Johnny Sheil’s team is confident with its trio of returning forwards — Caleb Leys, Nate Buccanon and Nate Bellagamba. They complement five returning defenders: Danny Sullivan, Ben Dickenson, Liam Edward, Jack Kane and Liam Marvelle.
Coach Sheil said good team defense and high-pace action on each line will be hallmarks of the team.
NORTH KINGSTOWN (2-13-1)
Home Rink: URI
Bob Nabb’s Skippers will be looking for improvement. Senior captain Hayden Shabo leads the returnees for scoring after a 3-6-9 year. Juniors Nick Chabot, Jon Sanchez and Drew Schwab also return and can add some firepower on offense.
Senior captain Carter Damm is a top returning defender, and classmates Nate Goulart and Matt Foster give support on the blue line along with junior Justin McCarthy. Junior goalie Kyle Saleh and sophomore Braeden Perry are back behind the net.
“After a strong showing this summer, several freshmen should be in the mix for playing time on the varsity team,” Nabb said. “We struggled mightily last year scoring goals with a young lineup up front which contributed to our poor record. However we did finish the season winning our last two games with both improved scoring and defensive play in front of our goalies. With our two goalies returning and up to 18 skaters that had ice time in many varsity games, we will be
looking to continue the success that we finished with last year.”
EAST GREENWICH (7-12-1)
Home Rink: West Warwick Civic Center
Coach Don Dunwoody leads his Avengers into this season with senior Conrad Swanson leading a host of returnees on offense. Juniors Jake Barron and Dan Madden and a trio of sophomores — Nick Paskalis, Corey Szabo and Matt McKenzie – are back for offensive support.
Sophomore Cole Barron comes back for the Avengers along with defenders Nick Sanzi (senior), juniors Spencer Hallagen and Sam Slaiby and sophomore Charlie Gaffney.
The team is “young and restless” and “will be ready to play,” according to Dunwoody.
TOLL GATE (2-16-0)
Home Rink: Thayer Ice Arena
New coach Peter Stringfellow has high hopes for the Titans. He likes the prospects of forward returnees Nathan McCamish, Colin Meuhier, Matt Carr and Max Savaria.
Back on the defensive line are Jake Rianna, Gerard Schifino and Jake Pickering.
Coach Stringfellow wants the team to focus on chemistry, winning little battles and out-working opponents.
Home Rink: Benny Magiera Arena
The Oakers are looking to eclipse the .500 mark this winter. Veteran coach Paul Nadeau welcomes back seniors Eli Benjamin and Chase Loughlin, junior Hayden Kearney and sophomore Michael LaRoche as potential leading scorers.
Senior AJ Saccoccio, sophomore Braden Morris and junior Nick Kanaczet are back-line returnees along with senior goalie Brandon Ciampanelli.
“I feel confident in my group, and I feel we should have a strong season,” Nadeau said. “In order for us to play to our potential we must improve team chemistry, be willing to play within systems and create more turnovers which lead to scoring chances.”
Home Rink: Rhode Island Sports Center
Michael Forrest returns for Year 2 with Lincoln. Three players are back with at least 15 goals – senior center Colby Acciardo (33-10-43), senior right winger Spencer Smith (15-15-30) and junior left winger Kyle Costa (16-17-33). Junior Andrew Alfieri had two goals and three assists.
Juniors Kevin Degnan (6-10-16) and Aidan Forrest (1-7-8) and sophomore Landon Forrest (2-8-10) are the leading returning defensemen.
“We have a younger team with a lot of freshmen and juniors with five seniors and five sophomores,” Forrest said. “Experience is spread across the four different classes and we have depth this year. We are hoping that we have multiple scoring lines unlike last year where 90+ percent of our scoring came from the line of Costa-Acciardo-Smith. We have some talented sophomores and freshmen that need to step up and give us some secondary scoring if we are going to go far this season. Chemistry is always another factor and time will tell if certain players can be successful this year in regards to playing the systems we run and putting pucks in the other team’s net and keeping them out of ours. This season needs to be about the ‘we’ and not the ‘I’.”
- Portsmouth is also in Rhode Island Division 2 hockey this season.