2019-20 Season Preview: North Branford
North Branford T-Birds
2018-19 Record: 9-10-1
Tournament Result: As 12-seed lost in the Division II First Round to 5-seed South Windsor 9-0
Head Coach: Ralph Shaw (11th season)
Key Returning Players: Joe Carbone (F, Sr.), Nick Poulin (F, Jr.), Tyler DiNapoli (G, Jr.)
Impact Newcomers: Dakota Cooper (So.), Joe Marra (So.), Ryan Michonski (So.)
Goalie Situation: Junior Tyler DiNapoli overtook senior Jake Montanaro last year and collected eight wins with a 3.05 GAA. It’s his crease to lose this year. Look for DiNapoli to put in a strong senior season backstopping a T-Birds group that will need some help on the back end given all that they lost offensively.
Key Losses: Sean McKee, Brendan Stoner, Nick Barrett, Nick Mancini (all to graduation), Nick Vecchio (Trinity Pawling)
Outlook: North Branford enters this season after a disappointing end to their 2018-19 season, falling 9-0 in the first round of the DII state tournament to South Windsor. Their 9-10-1 mark was the first time since the 2010-11 season that the T-Birds failed to reach the .500 mark which is super impressive. In order to get back on track, the T-Birds will need some new faces to emerge this year. They graduated Sean McKee who put together a brilliant career. Nick Barrett, Nick Mancini and Brendan Stoner also all graduated and Nick Vecchio took his talents to Trinity Pawling. This leaves forwards, senior Joe Carbone (7 goals, 6 assists) and junior Nick Poulin (8 goals, 7 assists) to carry the bulk of the load. Aiding in this “rebuild” junior Tyler DiNapoli is back in net after a valuable sophomore season. North Branford is not the type of team to back down from a fight and will bring their hard hitting brand into this season. Time will tell how much those losses hurt, but their recent success suggests the T-Birds will be able to get past that and have a decent year.