2019-20 Season Preview: Cheshire
2018-19 Record: 15-4-1
Tournament Result: As 3-seed lost in the Division II Quarterfinals to 6-seed Glastonbury 5-2
Head Coach: Anthony Giusto (5th season)
Key Returning Players: Charlie Pettit (F, Sr.), Niklas Vasiljevs (F, Jr.), Thor Novicelli (F, Jr.), Joey Delucia (F, Jr.), Aidan Gaudet (F, Jr.), Nick Maringola (G, Sr.)
Impact Newcomers: Zach Olson (F, So.)
Goalie Situation: About this time last year we got word that Nicky Maringola reversed course and was not going the junior hockey route and he would, in fact, be manning the crease for the Rams. He proceeded to post a 1.30 GAA, four shutouts and lead Cheshire to a 15 win season. He’s back for his senior year and is easily one of the best goaltenders in the state regardless of division.
Key Losses: Ben O’Connor, Kyle Sheehan, James Ilnicki, Evan Veivia (all to graduation)
Outlook: If the Rams can find some replacements on the defensive end, they can and will compete for a DII title this year. Losing O’Connor, Sheehan and Ilnicki will be hard, especially out of the gate, to overcome. But, I think they’ll be okay because of their other pieces. Senior goalie Nick Maringola is as good as they get and should be a rock for Giusto all year. Up front, Cheshire returns four of their top six scorers from a year ago in juniors Nik Vasiljevs (14 goals, 9 assists), Thor Novicelli (7 goals, 8 assists), Joey Delucia (5 goals, 7 assists) and Aidan Gaudet (4 goals, 8 assists). Add in reliable senior Charlie Pettit (3 goals, 4 assists) and the Rams’ offensive core is very strong. The Cheshire camp is very high on sophomore forward Zach Olson as well. On D, the group looking to make up for the graduation of those aforementioned defensemen include junior Joey Deko and seniors Hunter Olson, Scott Heseltine and Lucca Soderland. Cheshire’s 15 wins last year was the most since 2009-10. I think they’ll be around that mark this year and should be considered a favorite heading into season.