It is somewhat of a new era for Rhode Island Division I high school hockey with new coaches leading the three traditional powers: Matt Merten at Mt. St. Charles, Shawn Tingley at LaSalle and Mike Soscia at Bishop Hendricken.
BISHOP HENDRICKEN (17-2-1)
Home Rink: Thayer Ice Arena
Defending state champion Bishop Hendricken has a new coach in Mike Soscia. The Hawks were excellent from start to finish last year and bring back plenty of scoring with juniors Harry Guiliano, Nate Palumb and Jack Pearson, senior Ryan Mitchell and freshman Owen Leahy.
Seniors Cam Adamec and Will Healy are back on defense, along with junior transfer Jack Drohen and sophomores Rocco Biafore, Bob Corkery, Alex Guiliano and Cam Warrener.
“We are looking for a good team defense,” Soscia said.
LASALLE ACADEMY (16-10-2)
Home Rink: Smithfield Ice Arena
Another new coach, Shawn Tingley, will lead his state-finals runners-up into the season with confidence.
Austin Tasca, sophomore, scored 13 goals and added nine assists last year and was named first-team All-State. Fellow sophomore Ethan Cordeiro scored 10 goals and added as many assists. Senior Brayden Edwards went for 6-13-19, and seniors Kevin Kanaczet (3-9-12) and John Devine (6-15-21) can also contribute on offense. Seniors Kyle Chelo, Zac DiMuccio and Kyle Deluca will add depth.
First-team All-State Zenas Kennedy (5-23-28), senior Robert Tasca, junior Tommy Delfarno and junior Jack Gannon are all expected to contribute to a talented defensive core. Max Cute, a sophomore, will lead the team in the net.
“We are returning a fair number of varsity players for the 2019-2020 season,” Tingley said. “Keys to being successful is buying into the system and playing as a team. We have a strong core of talented forwards that include six out of the top eight scorers on forward from the previous year. We have a strong returning four at defense with the addition of five very talented sophomores to the group. We will need strong goaltending from both goalies. Overall as a team we need to stay focused on our goal of getting better every day and completing our ultimate goal of winning a state championship.”
MOUNT ST. CHARLES (14-6-0)
Home Rink: Adelard Arena
Matt Merten comes into the program in his first season, taking over for the legendary Belisles.
The Mounties bring back senior center John Belisle, senior right winger Trey Bourque, senior left winger Bryan Testa and junior center/winger Cee Jay Lequerre.
Seniors Everett Misto and Jacob Madelena are returning defenders alongside junior Brendan Donahue. Junior netminder Sean Trottier is back.
The team returns 13 seniors.
“We have a great group of kids that are very close and focused on having a great season,” Merten said.
THE PROUT SCHOOL (12-12-0)
Home Rink: Boss Ice Arena
Senior foursome Colin Bois, Mitch Lindley, Jared Irons and Ernesto Watszky power the Crusaders up front. The team will have to rely on newcomers like Nick Gamba on the back line.
Prout will need strong goaltending and timely scoring, according to coach John Gaffney.
Home Rink: Smithfield Municipal Ice Rink
Robert Jackson’s Sentinels will count on seniors Ben Thibeault and Ryan Pomposelli for scoring along with juniors Rafael Negron, Charlie Dhosi and Joe Pitrone and sophomore Ben Mercurio.
The defense will be led by seniors Dylan Falls, Sean Martin and Chris Watt. Junior Connor Derderian will help on defense.
Jackson is excited for some freshmen newcomers. He wants his team to get better every day and play solid defense.
Home Rink: Portsmouth Abbey
Coach Kevin Croke comes into this season with two returning, 20-point-scorers: Jake Andreozzi (senior center, 13-7-20) and Matt Bates (senior left winger, 12-8-20). Senior right winger Charlie Ames added four goals and six assists last season. Sophomore left winger Sammy Faulkner is back after a 5-3-8 season, and sophomore Brenen Gazeryan went for 2-7-9 last winter.
Senior goalie Stephen Amaral (3.07 GAA) and senior goalie Matt Biagetti (.913 save percentage) return along with senior defenseman Andy Harris and juniors Owen Crain, Mike Cox and Will Ide.
Going from having no seniors last season to having 19 returning upperclassmen should bode well for the Eagles this season. For the Eagles to compete throughout the season, they’ll need significant contributions from seniors John Lombardi and Charlie Ames, and junior Jackson Gorman, coach Croke said.
The Eagles welcome back junior left wing Callum Flaherty and junior center Andrew Azevedo, after missing most of last season with injuries.
Home Rink: Levy Rink
Dave Farrell’s Broncos come into this season’s campaign armed with some goal-scorers who will be counted on to produce. Senior forward Blake Hopkins (5-8-13), senior forward Alex Carlow (8-6-14) and senior forward Cam Menard (3-4-7) are back and hope to produce even more on offense.
Senior goalie Dylan Nault had a 3.23 GAA in net a year ago. Sophomores Mitch Farrell and Ben Anderson are on the blue line again for the Broncos.
“We need to score more goals,” Farrell said. “Our new faces need to step up. We have a good goalie returning.”
- Also competing in the Division 1 ranks is Moses Brown.