Tournament Result: Lost as (15) seed 4-1 to (2) Ridgefield in CIAC Division I First Round
Coach: Mac Budd (3rd Season)
Key Contributors: Will Dickson (F, Sr.), Hunter Hazelton (D, Sr.), Connor McCarthy (D, Sr.)
Big Losses: Brendan Bumgardner, Henry Congdon, Arden Cohen, Max Romeyn
Goalie Situation: Nick Elwell, a senior, and junior Henri Pfeifle will compete for ice time. Brendan Bumgardner has graduated, leaving the position wide open.
Outlook: With 2nd All-Stater and 2nd team All-FCIAC forward Arden Cohen gone as well as key cogs Henry Cogdon and Max Romeyn, the Wave have a little bit of rebuilding to do but not nearly as much as last year. After back-to-back titles, Darien put together an 8-11-1 season last year which could have easily shifted to an above .500 season if some of their close losses went the other way. One would have to think the Blue Wave will be back this year, led by senior forward Will Dickson and a solid top D-pair of seniors Hunter Hazelton and Connor McCarthy. As usual, the Darien camp is pretty tight lipped about guys they're expecting to surprise or come out of the woodwork. Mac Budd is a great coach and Darien is a proud hockey hot bed. They'll find a way to be relevant this year, as they always do. With a brutal start to the season facing Hamden, Prep, New Canaan, Greenwich, NDWH, Xavier and LaSalle Academy (RI) before the schedule lightens up a bit with lower tier FCIAC schools, the Wave better be strapped up and ready to go from the drop of the puck.
East Catholic (8-12)
Tournament Result: Lost as (14) seed 2-1 to (3) Xavier in the CIAC Division I First Round
Coach: Joe Trenholm (2nd Season)
Key Contributors: Sean Fellows (F, Jr.), Jake Beaulieu (F, Sr.), Justin Bailey (F, Jr.), Connor Hartnett (D, Jr.), Jack Woodcock (D, Sr.), Troy Morin (D, Sr.)
Big Losses: Joe Sitarz, Colombo DiSalvatore, Brady Batman, Brandon Lariviere, Brandon Donnelly, Zach Henkin (Hartford Jr. Wolfpack), Jack Williams (Out of eligibility)
Impact Newcomers: Ethan Utermark (G, Fr.),
Goalie Situation: Freshman Utermark comes in with high expectations. Senior Kevin Chase is in only his third year playing organized hockey. He and sophomore Brian Galle will battle for crease time.
Outlook: East Catholic lost more than most realize in Sitarz. Last year's senior netminder kept the Eagles in just about every game they played, including their down-to-the-wire 2-1 First Round CIAC loss to (3) Xavier. This year the Eagles return only four players with extended varsity minutes from 2016-17. Pair this with 12 incoming freshmen and East Catholic looks like they'll have an uphill climb in front of them, especially at the Division I level. That said, this will be a pivotal season for Coach Joe Trenholm, in only his second year, seeing if he can craft a young roster into one with staying power for years to come.
Fairfield Prep (11-9)
Tournament Result: Lost as (7) seed 4-3 OT to (2) Ridgefield in the CIAC Division I Quarterfinals
Coach: Matt Sather (19th season)
Key Contributors: Jack McGee (G, Sr.), Devin Blanchette (F, Sr.), Kevin Oricoli (F, Sr.), Ryan Eckert (F, Sr.), Skyler Celotto (F, Sr.), Carter Kral (F, Sr.), Cole Casl (D, Sr.), Matt Kernaghan (D, Sr.), Evan Uva (D, Sr.), Joey Mancini (F, Sr.), Calyb Reeves (F, Jr.)
Big Losses: Chris Ligas, Jack Cavanaugh, Brennan Henry, Chris Brown
Goalie Situation: Senior Jack McGee is the guy. McGee was outstanding for the Jesuits last year going 6-0 against Connecticut competition. He posted a 2.38 GAA and a .927 save percentage. Junior Jake Walker will likely see some action this year following Prep's annual tradition of having more than one capable backstop.
Outlook: The Horns! Prep enters the 2017-18 season as the favorite. They return a ton, 77% of their point production to be specific. The key to this is the depth of that scoring. Seven returners notched multi point campaigns last year (Blanchette 22, Oricoli 20, Kral 19, Eckert 18, Celotto 18, Mancini 17, Casl 10). Throw in a kid like impressive junior Calyb Reeves (9 pts.) and a reliable D-core and Prep is down right dangerous. This year is an anomaly for Coach Sather and company. Normally, a Florida Marlins-esque purge occurs at the end of each Jesuit season with players dispersing to various lacrosse and ice hockey prep ranks. Prep will again face the hardest schedule in the state with seven games vs. top-tier out-of-state opponents. Since winning back to back titles in 2012-13 and 2013-14, Prep finds themselves in a tiny championship drought though they have gone 19-10-2 against in state opponents over the last two years. Botton line is Prep is back. They're experienced. They're deep and they'll be in it until the end. They should be feared.
Fairfield Warde-Ludlowe (14-4-2)
Tournament Result: Lost as (11) seed 5-2 to (6) West Haven in the CIAC Division I First Round
Coach: Carl Larouche (2nd season)
Key Contributors: Will Von Brauchitsch (F, Sr.), Kyle Mazza (F, Jr.), Carson Rush (F, Sr.), Kevin Quinn (F, Jr.)
Big Losses: Charlie Capalbo, Anthony Beccaria, Gareth Gacetta, AJ Von Brauchitsch (Kent), Rutger Galliard (Trinity Pawling),
Impact Newcomers: Sawyer Coseglia (F, Sr. Transfer from Avon Old Farms)
Goalie Situation: Junior Will Capalbo and senior Dawson Gunn will battle early on for the starting job. It would appear that Capalbo has the early edge but both netminders saw six games last season.
Outlook: Last year's season certainly didn't go as planned for the co-op, mainly from a humanistic standpoint. With senior goalie Charlie Capalbo experiencing a disease that forced the whole state to put hockey into perspective, wins and losses seemed to take a back seat. On the positive side, Charlie's cancer is gone due in large part to the medication and treatment he's receiving. His tumor, by his heart and his lung, is shrinking and Charlie is working every day to return to normalcy. On the ice, Fairfield won a respectable 14 games last year. They were lead offensively in large part by Will Von Brauchitsch (25 points), Kyle Mazza (18 points) and AJ Von Brauchistch (18 points). AJ has since moved on to play at Kent. Fairfield will also struggle to make up for the loss of graduated forward Anthony Beccaria, a favorite of mine. This year look for Avon Old Farms transfer Sawyer Coseglia to contribute in a big way and after continued success year after year, there's no reason to expect anything different for Fairfield Co-op.
Tournament Result: Lost as (13) seed 4-0 to (4) New Canaan in the CIAC Division I First Round
Coach: Chris Rurak (2nd season)
Key Contributors: Alex Mozian (F, Sr.), Oliver Fulton (F, Sr.), JT Lawrence (F, Sr.), Matt Baugher (F, Sr.), Connor Santry (F, Sr.), Matt Davey (F, Jr.), Nic Pelletier-Martinelli (D, Jr.), Charlie Graves (F, Jr.), Sean Pratley (F, Jr.)
Big Losses: Kevin Wright, Akira Dunham, Trevor Disbennett
Impact Newcomers: Nikita Kovalev (F, So.), Ryan Columbo (D, So.)
Goalie Situation: There's some excitement around sophomore Ben Nash but the newcomer will have to battle it out with returners Dylan Dreher, Robert Bray and Connor Brust.
Outlook: Greenwich returns a roster that I think can be very competitive this year. Last year, just never really got going for first year coach Chris Rurak. Much of this was due in large part to the loss of then junior Alex Mozian who was dealt a season-ending injury three games into the year. Moziano is back for his season year and will be helped on offense by the likes of seniors Oliver Fulton, JT Lawrence, Matt Baugher and Connor Santry as well as talented junior Matt Davey. If Greenwich can find a decent goalie, I think they'll be able to pass their 9-win mark from a year ago. The Cardinals are only three years removed from a state championship appearance and two years removed from a 16-win season. With the amount of talent that Rurak returns, there's no reason why they can't be considered one of the favorites in the FCIAC especially with the addition of former NHL great Alexei Kovalev's son, sophomore Nikita. Early success with be paramount for the Cardinals as their schedule lightens up a bit toward the end.
Tournament Result: Lost as (8) seed 4-1 to (1) Northwest Catholic in the CIAC Division I Quarterfinals
Coach: Todd Hall (3rd season)
Key Contributors: Michael Gethings (F, Jr.), Zach Owens (F, Sr.), Jack Gethings (F, Sr.), Mason Boyhen (F, Sr.), Alex Hernandez (D, Jr.), Alex Ponzio (D, So.), Eddy Fracasso (F, Jr.), AJ Luedee (F, Jr.), Tyler Routh (F, Jr.), Ben Chicoine (D, Jr.)
Big Losses: Jack Blackwell, Todd Deskin, Jonathan Hiebert, Stephen Richetelli, James Smyth, Tyler Webb, Zach Riccitelli (Canterbury), Raif Harris (Canterbury)
Impact Newcomers: Conor Gethings (F, Fr.), Donald Moorcroft (G, Jr. Transfer from Hamden Hall)
Goalie Situation: Steven Turner opens the year as the starter after posting a 2.20 GAA and a .916 save percentage last year splitting time with Richetelli. Junior transfer Donald Moorcroft can push for playing time after coming over from Hamden Hall.
Outlook: Mass exoduses have become common place for the Dragons over the years. Kids leaving early has hampered most Hamden offseasons and caused a rebuild almost every year over the past half decade. The list is long, Carangelo, O'Connor, Pantera, Germain, Lee, Routh. Now you can add Harris and Riccitelli to that group. Throw in the graduation of All-Stater Jake Blackwell, split start goalie Stephen Richetelli, forwards James Smyth and Tyler Webb and top pair D grouping Jon Hiebert and Todd Deskin, and that rebuild is imminent. Hamden is going to need guys who, in the past, haven't really produced, to put on their big boy pants and find the back of the net. Senior Zach Owens is Hamden's returning leading scorer, posting 15 points last year. Junior Michael Gethings showed a nose for the net scoring five goals in only six games. Aside from those two, Hamden only returns five goals from last year. Look for senior captain Jack Gethings, senior forward Mason Boyhen, juniors Eddy Fracasso, AJ Luedee and Tyler Routh, and freshmen newcomer Conor Gethings to pick up some of the offensive slack. On D, Hamden is strong at the top with offensively-inclined junior Alex Hernandez, junior Ben Chicoine, and sophomore Alex Ponzio. Time will tell with Hamden. Hall is a great coach and has gotten a lot out of depleted rosters in the past. This one, however, may be the most depleted after losing their top four scorers and 61% of their scoring.
New Canaan (16-3-1)
Tournament Result: Lost as (4) seed 6-3 to (1) Northwest Catholic in the CIAC Division I Semifinals
Coach: Clark Jones (1st season)
Key Contributors: Quinn McMahon (F, Sr.), Gunnar Granito (F, Jr.), Chase Glover (F, Sr.), Ryan Levene (F, Jr.), Eric Cimino (F, Sr.), Seamus Ohora (F, Sr.), Griffin Arnone (F, Sr.), Walker Ker (D, Jr.), Shane Pickering (D, Jr.)
Big Losses: Tyler Hill, George McMahon, Drew Morris, Peter Windas, Anton Adding, Harry Gelnaw, Teddy Hood
Impact Newcomers: Justin Wiedtfelt (D, So. Junior Rangers)
Goalie Situation: With Windas and steady backup Liam Mooney graduated, Jones will look to senior Oliver Jardim and junior Jack Spain between the pipes. These two will likely battle it out in preseason to see who rises to the top.
Outlook: The Rams put together a great year last year before ultimately getting toppled by eventual runner-up Northwest Catholic. New Canaan lost a lot, we'll get to that in a second, but just like every season at about this time, they'll be one of the first teams I'll say when asked who's in the running for DI. The problem is, New Canaan's regular season success hasn't really translated to postseason success. In fact, since 2012, New Canaan has been bounced from the first round four times and only reached the semifinals once, last year. That right there has to be a point of emphasis for first year guy Clark Jones. Now, back to the losses, there's a lot. They include 2016-17 Skater of the Year Tyler Hill, 2016-17 Defenseman of the Year Drew Morris, and 2016-17 Goalie of the Year nominee Peter Windas. Throw in McMahon, Adding, and a few more, and it doesn't look promising. New Canaan is returning junior Gunnar Granito (12 G, 10 A), an electric forward who has first team all-state written all over him, seniors Quinn McMahon (9 pts) and Chase Glover 20 pts) and a cast of characters listed above. Look for sophomore D transfer Justin Wiedtfelt (Jr. Rangers) to contribute right away. At the end of the day, a lot was lost but what was brought in could out weigh the bad. Jones is a coach who has plenty of hockey experience, captaining Union and playing in the minors. New defensive assistant Nick Patrecki has seen hockey as high as the San Jose Sharks organization. For these reasons alone, I wouldn't worry about New Canaan.
New Fairfield-Immaculate (15-3-2 *Division II)
Tournament Result: Lost as (3) seed 3-0 to (2) Watertown-Pomperaug in the CIAC Division II Semifinals
Coach: Larry Vieria (6th season)
Key Contributors: Alex Hallahan (F, Sr.), Jameson Brown (F, Sr.), Matt Callucci (D, Sr.), Sam Mitchell (F, Jr.), Tim Manning (F, Jr.), Danny Manning (D, Jr.)
Big Losses: Shane Conciatore, Jimmy Hayden
Impact Newcomers: Ryan Moody (F, So. Mahopac HS (NY)), Timmy Hayden (D, Fr.), Finn Sawitsky (D, Fr.)
Goalie Situation: It's junior Scott Dobos' turn to take over the crease for NFI. He relieves all-everything netminder Shane Conciatore who’s now playing for the Springfield Pics. Dobos is the younger brother of one of the better goalies to ever come out of NFI, Ryan Dobos. The elder Dobos stopped over 1,500 shots over his four years at NFI. For Head Coach Larry Vieria's sake, Scott better continue that trend.
Outlook: A pretty incredible jump is ahead of the New Fairfield-Immaculate co-op heading into this year. After spending only one year at the DII level, Larry Vieria's boys make the jump to DI hockey. What makes this even more wild is the fact that NFI hasn't even had a championship appearance at the DII or DIII level and their star goalie Shane Conciatore has graduated and moved onto the Springfield Pics. What makes the move sort of reasonable is the fact that 94% of NFI's offense is back from a team that made a decent DII run last year. This group is headed by senior forwards Jameson Brown (26 pts) and Alex Hallahan (23 pts), and junior forwards Sam Mitchell (39 points) and Tim Manning (9 pts). Joining the offensive onslaught is sophomore transfer from Mahopac High School (NY) Ryan Moody. On D, NFI is deep with senior Matt Callucci, junior Danny Manning and two freshmen, Timmy Hayden & Finn Sawitsky who look to make an instant impact. Vieria is a great systems coach who often maximizes the most out of any roster he coaches. With a manageable first-year DI schedule which includes making DI mainstays West Haven, Prep, NDWH & Xavier make the trek to Danbury, I think NFI has a better year than most would expect. A lot falls on Dobos in net, though.
Northwest Catholic (16-3-1)
Tournament Result: Lost as (1) seed 6-2 to (2) Ridgefield in the CIAC Division I Championship
Coach: Dan Melanson (1st season)
Key Contributors: Paul Arel (F, Sr.), Brennan Henry (F, So.), Sean Macary (D, Jr.), Drew Hungerford (D, Sr.), Tyler Esposito (D, Jr.), Mike Kaliff (G, Jr.)
Big Losses: Anthony Ceolin, Ryan Sherba, Tucker Alissi, Cal Skwara (Loomis Chaffee), Kevin Eustis
Impact Newcomers: Connor Melanson (F, Fr.)
Goalie Situation: Mike Kaliff takes over full-time duties. Kaliff appeared in 7 of the Lions 26 games last year mostly in back-up duty of Skwara. He posted a 2.60 GAA in his limited action.
Outlook: The more things change, the more they stay the same. Northwest Catholic will be led by a familiar face this year while another familiar face will now be just a few spaces down behind the bench. Dan Melanson, brother of former coach Don Melanson is now the head guy for the Lions. Don will stay on as an assistant. As for on the ice, the Lions lost more than most teams this off season. Gone are all-staters Ryan Sherba (64 pts) and Anthony Ceolin (67 pts). Linemate Tucker Alissi (35 pts) is also gone as is goalie Cal Skwara who's since moved on to Loomis Chaffee. Whenever a line can account for over 150 points and now they're gone, one could say that's an issue. To give you a comparison, NFI as a team totaled only 138 points last year. These numbers are impressive. But, on the positive, the Lions return a solid nucleus of talent led by senior forward Paul Arel (31 pts) and sophomore forward Brennan Horn (22 pts). I think Northwest Catholic will go as far as their defense will take them this year, though. On the back end, senior Drew Hungerford is joined by juniors Sean Macary and Tyler Esposito. Look for freshman forward Connor Melanson to jump right into the forward rotation. Connor is the nephew of both Dan and Don. It'll be hard to replicate the season Northwest Catholic had last year. This year's road will certainly have more bumps but at ultimately you have a program who has bought into success and sometimes that carries you far.
Notre Dame-Fairfield (4-15-1)
Tournament Result: Did not qualify
Coach: Johnny Longo (1st season)
Key Contributors: Chris Becker (F, Sr.), Jason Ziegler (D, Sr.), Austin Allen (F, Sr.), Kris Shkreli (F, Sr.), Justin Lasella (D, Jr.),
Big Losses: David Suporn, Brian Gallagher, Billy Scovill, Stephen Willey (Trinity Pawling), Spencer Ryall (Hebron Academy)
Impact Newcomers: Brian Essing (F, Fr.)
Goalie Situation: Billy Scovill's tenure as the Lancers' main guy has come to an end. Senior Andrew Jones and junior Kacy Adams will both get a chance to give it a go between the pipes. In limited work Adams saw marginally more success than Jones last year.
Outlook: While, I will miss Coach Hetherman, who was always very good to @CTHSHockey, many, myself included are very excited to see what Johnny Longo can do at ND-Fairfield. This year could be rough from a transitional standpoint but this guy has certainly seen his fair share of top-tier New England hockey going from Fairfield Prep to Taft to UVM. The fun to watch Brian Gallagher is gone, so is David Suporn and dependable netminder Billy Scovill. Stephen Wiley and Spencer Ryall both transferred out to prep schools, Trinity Pawling and Hebron Academy, respectively. Longo will turn to a senior group led by Chris Becker, Austin Allen, and Kris Shkreli on offense and Jason Ziegler and junior Justin Lasella on D. Ziegler is a D guy to watch this year. The senior is fresh off a season with the Wonderland Wizards' Midget U18 team which saw him play with some of the best talent the area has to offer. The Lancers are excited about contributions freshman Brian Essing could potentially make. I'm not sure the Lancers will be ready to make a run just yet, but they are moving in the right direction.
Notre Dame-West Haven (12-7-1)
Tournament Result: Lost as (5) seed 2-1 to (12) Glastonbury in the CIAC Division I First Round
Coach: Tim Belcher (5th season)
Key Contributors: Michael Bencivengo (F, So.), Mike Ansaldo (F, Sr.), Ian Hayden (F, Jr.), Zack Dumas (D, Sr.), Clay Coassin (D, Sr.), Brendan Crowley (G, Sr.)
Big Losses: Vin Paolillo, Matt Ciaburro, Greg Caturano, Liam Connell, Hunter Krasnow (Vermont Academy)
Impact Newcomers: Tommy Ashmore (Jr.), TJ Hunt (Jr.), Mike Card (Jr.)
Goalie Situation: The senior Crowley returns after seeing limited action last year for the Green Knights. He will be pushed for playing time by fellow senior Brian Murphy and sophomore Nick Piselli.
Outlook: Even without watching a game or seeing a practice, roster-wise, it would appear NDWH is going to take the hit of losing guys like Paolillo, Ciaburro, and Caturano and be just fine. While this would cripple other teams, Belcher's boys now look to reload and erase the bad taste of last year's first-round upset loss to Glastonbury. Sophomore Michael Bencivengo is one of the best pure talents in the state. Counter this with the power forward style of senior captain Mike Ansaldo and the grittiness of junior forward Ian Hayden and you have a recipe for a team that has the horses to make a run at favorite Prep. On D, senior captain Zack Dumas will be your stay at home guy, and be very dependable in that role while senior Clay Coassin will add a little more offense from the back end. NDWH has a trio of juniors expected to make a major impact in Tommy Ashmore, TJ Hunt, and Mike Card. NDWH hasn't made a final since 2013 and while they've had more than respectable runs over the past few years featuring two semifinal appearances, this is a year, with goaltending, the Knights could revisit the state final.
Tournament Result: As (2) seed won the CIAC Division I State Championship defeating (1) Northwest Catholic 6-2
Coach: Shaun Gallagher (11th season)
Key Contributors: Nick Cullinan (F, Jr.), Will Forrest (F, Jr.), Ty Fujitani (F, Sr.), Matt Walker (F, Jr.), Tom Lombardozzi (D, Sr.), Liam Galloway (D, Sr.), Del Irving (F, Sr.), Simon Van Wees (D, Jr.)
Big Losses: Sean Keegans, Matteo Van Wees, Andrew Tregurtha, Jack Stafford, Jeff Pracella, Harrison Chuma
Impact Newcomers: Kees Van Wees (F, So.)
Goalie Situation: Junior Sean Gordon will be the first to attempt to recreate what Keegans so masterfully did last season. Sophomore Jack Rahlfs is also in the conversation for some playing time. Gallagher, in the past, has seemed to rely on one guy so it'll be interesting who comes out of camp as the starter.
Outlook: Ridgefield finally got over the hump culminating in a state championship last year. With a win like that there comes a cost. For Ridgefield, that means last year's DI Goalie of the Year, Sean Keegans, and a diverse group of scorers and D-men that will be hard to replace. But the cupbords aren't bare for 11th year coach Shaun Gallagher. Returning up front is senior forward Ty Fujitani and a talented junior group lead by Nick Cullinan, Will Forrest and Matt Walker. On D, the Tigers will look to seniors Tom Lombardozzi and Liam Gallaway. The supremely talented Matteo van Wees graduated but two other van Weeses look for their time to shine with junior Simon on D and sophomore Kees at forward. Ridgefield has been downright dominant at home over the past three years, posting a state best .827 win percentage (24-5). With a wide open FCIAC field, one would have to think the Tigers will be in the mix again.
Suffield-Granby-Windsor Locks (14-6)
Tournament Result: Lost as (10) seed 6-1 to (7) Fairfield Prep in the CIAC Division I First Round
Coach: Nick Boorman (8th season)
Key Contributors: Connor Matthews (F, Jr.), Brian Liss (F, Sr.), Ricky Schoelles (F, Sr.), Cole Battiston (F, Sr.), Ryan Anchoviak (D, Jr.), Dan DeGagne (G, Sr.), Patrick Greene (G, Sr.)
Big Losses: Jake Bourdeau, Brendan Looney, Austin Rupp, Craig Montemerlo, Zach Martineau, Vincent Breda, Matt McWhirter
Goalie Situation: Boorman certainly brings back some experience in his two-headed monster that is DeGagne and Greene. While many other teams are reloading at the goalie position, this consistency lightens the blow that was dealt with the amount of offensive talent leaving the Wildcats.
Outlook: SGWL enters this year with a different type of preview than most teams. The Wildcats will be playing for something a tad bit different than most teams this year. Nick Boorman's co-op will look to focus on the building of a hockey culture and a growing-the-game mentality. After long being discussed, the CIAC gave SGWL an ultimatum. Either split up your current co-op because of large numbers at one member school or play this season without the possibility of making the CIAC State Tournament but remain intact. After realizing how many student athletes would be displaced, the answer came easily to Coach Boorman. The co-op would not break apart and a place to play and a place to grow the game would remain for all members of the co-op. Now, the team has turned attention to focusing on hockey and in the process winning some games. Because of this, the DI regular season will now be more of a seeding season for the remaining 16 DI schools. The Wildcats lost 84% of their scoring to graduation with talents like Jake Bourdeau, Brendan Looney, Austin Rupp, Craig Monemerlo, Zach Martineau, and Vincent Breda moving on. Boorman will look to seniors Brian Liss, last year's returning leading scorer with 10 points, Ricky Schoelles, Cole Battiston and junior Connor Mathews up front. On D, the talented junior Ryan Anchoviak is also back. With all of the defense lost, it's reassuring that the Wildcats will have both senior goalies back for one more go with Dan DeGagne and Patrick Greene returning. It'll be an interesting year to say the least for SGWL, but in the end, the right decision was made, in my opinion.
Tournament Result: Lost as (9) seed 6-2 to (8) Hamden in the CIAC Division I First Round
Coach: Chris Day (2nd season)
Key Contributors: Skylar Hewes (F, Sr.), Dominic Francis (F, Sr.), Dave Zalozhin (F, Sr.), Michael Gauthier (F, Sr.), Nick Pugmire (F, Jr.) Kevin McDonough (F/D, Jr.), Tim Kratzer (D, Sr.), Franklin Berry (D, Jr.)
Big Losses: Riley Chapman, Charlie Driscoll, George Matteo, Drew Marquis
Goalie Situation: Senior Matt Palmer and sophomore Jackson Bulger will attempt to reclaim the two-headed monster status that Marquis and Matteo had. Neither has seen much varsity time but Palmer did post 6 shutouts at the JV level. Either way, this is certainly an area to circle, experience-wise for the Trojans.
Outlook: This year's group will need to overcome the loss of 13 seniors. The biggest hurt will come in the form of losing the Trojans' two-headed goalie combination of Matteo and Marquis. Offensively, the likes of Skylar Hewes and Nick Pugmire and Dominic Francis and company, will have to make up for the loss of 100+ graduated points. But with that 100+ points, it was also a group who accrued a very high number of penalty minutes. All things considered ,with Tom Cross leaving Simsbury after being there forever, first year guy Chris Day did a pretty good job first time out of the gate. Look for senior goalie Matt Palmer to be given every chance to win the starting job outright. The one thing that Coach Day is preaching the most at least at the onset is program stability and when you have kids who grew up around the program, know what's expected and want to be part of that history, you've won half the battle.
St. Joseph (7-12-1)
Tournament Result: Lost as (16) seed 6-2 to (1) Northwest Catholic in the CIAC Division I First Round
Coach: Ed LeMaire (2nd season)
Key Contributors: Jack Pisano (D/F, Sr.), Tom Flynn (F, Sr.), Darieos Linns (F, Sr.), Sean Attanasio (F, Sr.)
Big Losses: Andrew Van Etten, Will Foldesi, Ryan Wilson (Proctor)
Impact Newcomers: Sam Bracchi (F, So.), Liam Gelston (D, Fr.), Chris Higgins (G, Jr. Transfer from CT Jr. Rangers & South Kent)
Goalie Situation: Chris Higgins walks right into the spotlight after spending time with both the CT Jr. Rangers and South Kent over the past couple years. Losing Ryan Wilson early to the prep ranks hurts, but Higgins brings a competent, steady option in net.
Outlook: Times have been tough of late for the Cadets. St. Joe's has only made it out of the first round twice over the last six years and hasn't seen a finals appearance since losing to Fairfield Prep in the 2010-11 season. Last year, for all intents and purposes, it was the Ryan Wilson show. Wilson dazzled and really gave St. Joe's their only fighting chance. He's gone, left and went to Proctor early but the Cadets are excited about a new netminder, junior Chris Higgins. St. Joseph lost guys like Andrew Van Etten and Will Foldesi and will need seniors Jack Pisano, Tom Flynn, Darieos Linns, and Sean Attanasio to really pick it up this year if they are to compete in the FCIAC and ultimately the state tournament. At this point, until proven otherwise, I wouldn't be circling a matchup vs. St. Joe's with any fear.
West Haven (14-6)
Tournament Result: Lost as (6) seed 5-1 to (2) Ridgefield in the CIAC Division I Semifinals
Coach: Joe Morrell (20th season)
Key Contributors: Collin Braziel (F, Sr.), EJ Pacapelli (F, Sr.), Logan Cole (G, Sr.), Niko Kyle (F, Jr.), Kevin Moriarty (F, So.), Robbie Forelo (D, So.), Richie Green (D, So.), Kaden Morgillo (F, So.)
Big Losses: Brendan Serenson, Pete Richetelli, Max Lynch, Alex Lynch, Kyle Froehlich
Impact Newcomers: Mikey Kelly (Fr.), Ryan Smith (Fr.), Nick Boanno (Fr.), Connor Fowler (Fr.), Charlie Miller (G, Fr.)
Goalie Situation: Serenson got better and better as his career progressed. Now he's gone and the keys to the crease have been left in senior Logan Cole's hands. Cole proved to be a quality backup when needed in the past. Should he falter, junior Noah Iverson and freshman Charlie Miller will be next in line.
Outlook: One of the best stories last year was that of the Blue Devils. With a smaller roster with little glitz and glamour, Head Coach Joe Morrell may have had his finest season, leading the Blue Devils to a D1 semifinal birth. The brand of hockey was tough nosed, gritty, and fun to watch. West Haven simply outworked a lot of teams when many, myself included, didn't give them a chance. It'll be even harder to do that again this year with the graduations of Pete Richetelli, Max Lynch, Alex Lynch, and the ever-steady Brendan Serenson in net. The Westies are never one to count out, though as they proved last year. Look for seniors Collin Braziel (20 pts) and EJ Pacapelli (17 pts), junior Niko Kyle (17 pts), and sophomore Kevin Moriarty (29 points), who is coming off a great freshman season. Westies have a deeper-than-usual freshman class and solid contributors back on D. Someone will step up for them. The best tangible piece of evidence we have for this is Pete Richetelli. Pete's numbers didn't jump off the page through three years of high school and then last year he just goes off and finishes as a 100-point scorer. The Westie way...
Tournament Result: Lost as (3) seed 4-1 to (6) West Haven in the CIAC Division I Quarterfinals
Coach: Dan DeConti (5th season)
Key Contributors: Aden Hotchkiss (F, So.), Tony DiPreta (F, Sr.), Alex Stasiuk (F, Sr.), Joel Hotchkiss (F, Sr.), Chase Maxwell (F, Jr.), Trevor Early (F, Jr.)
Big Losses: Austin Reid, Brett Reid, Jared Guidobono, Ryan Child, Mike Agrusso
Goalie Situation: Junior Jake Woznyk backed up Guidobono last year and due to Guidobono's evident success, Woznyk never really had a chance to get a shot. He has that now. How he responds waits to be seen.
Outlook: I pick Xavier to make a run every year. It's like I'm drawn to them. So excuse me while I try to convince myself why they'll stink. Let's start with what they lost. Gone are the Reids, stud forward, dynamic D-man. Also gone is Guidobono in net. Felt like the kid was there forever and he was damn good forever. Add a couple more bodies here and there and having a good year is insurmountable, right? First year goalie Woznyk is in net. But I guess Guido was once a first year goalie. Aden Hotchkiss, our 2016-17 DI Rookie of the Year is back and is fresh off his commitment to play hockey at the DI collegiate level at Sacred Heart. He's joined by seniors Joel Hotchkiss, Tony DiPreta, and Alex Stasiuk, and juniors Chase Maxwell and Trevor Early at forward. Okay now the confidence is flowing, I'm starting to like what I hear... Wait what? Xavier just added former Conard Head Coach Greg Raymer to the coaching staff? Okay, I'm sold. 2017-18 D1 State Champs, Xavier Falcons... Alright, maybe not that sold but we all know at some point I'll pick them to win a big game. Don't let me down X.