Fairfield Prep Jesuits
2018-19 Record: 11-8-1
Tournament Result: As 5-seed defeated 6-seed Notre Dame-West Haven 5-2 to win Division I State Championship
Head Coach: Matt Sather (21th season)
Key Returning Players: Matt Wenger (F, Sr.), Jack Esse (F, Sr.), Tommy Quinn (F, Sr.), Roberts Viguls (F, Sr.), Matt Ambrosio (F, Sr.), Mason Whitney (F, Jr.), Aksel Sather (F, So.) Cooper Eckert (D, Sr.), Seamus Carolan (D, Sr.), Luke Noonan (D, So.), Andrew Steitzel (G, Sr.)
Goalie Situation: Another supremely talented Fairfield Prep goalie has graduated. Jake Walker put together a great senior year and is now replaced by senior Andrew Steitzel. Steitzel went 3-1 last year with a 2.50 GAA and .911 save percentage. Given Prep’s past success in replacing goalies, I’d imagine they’re fine.
Key Losses: Colin Bella, Anthony Clericuzio, Calyb Reeves, Chandler DuMont, Connor Boyle, Jack Carroll, Jake Walker, Lucas Baksay, Evan Farruggio, Peter DiDomenico (all to graduation)
Outlook: We said last year that Prep was a safe pick to return to the Whale. Prep sat at 3-6 nearly halfway through the season and people were second guessing the Jesuits, doubting a near sure thing. The Jesuits put any of those doubts to rest and went on to finish the regular season 11-8-1 and win their 11th state championship under Head Coach Matt Sather. This year, like many of Prep yesteryear, the Jesuits will reload, never rebuild. They’ve graduated a ton of talent. Colin Bella and Calyb Reeves will undoubtedly be missed on the offensive end. Jake Walker is gone after a great senior season in net and the list goes on. But, there were no early exits. Gifted underclassmen like junior Mason Whitney (12 goals, 8 assists) and sophomore Aksel Sather (6 goals, 3 assists) are back and look to make strides in their offensive game. The often underrated senior Matt Wenger (6 goals, 4 assists) gets his turn in the spotlight and Prep boasts one of the best all around hockey players in the state in senior two-way defenseman Cooper Eckert (1 goal, 5 assists, +10). Prep will be lead by their role players as they have been in the past and according to Sather they’ll go as far as these seniors take them. “The senior class has depth and experience, but now the pressure is on them to lead and help us improve every day to get ready for March hockey,” Sather said. Assuming senior goalie Andrew Steitzel continues the trend of backup to star, I see no reason why Prep won’t be among the last few standing come March.