2019-20 Season Preview: Notre Dame-West Haven
Notre Dame-West Haven Green Knights
2018-19 Record: 10-9-1
Tournament Result: As 6-seed lost in Division I Championship to 5-seed Fairfield Prep 5-2
Head Coach: Larry Vieira (2nd year)
Key Returning Players: John D’Errico (F, Jr.), John Michael Childs (F, Jr.), Zach Schroeder (D, Jr.), Joe D’Agostino (F, Sr.), Chris Hughes (F, Sr.), Connor Smith (G, Jr.)
Impact Newcomers: Bobby Allan (F, Jr. Hall-Southington), Ashton Delmonico (F, So. Immaculate), Sean Doherty (F, So. Fairfield), Grant Curtis (D, So. Hamden Hall), Luke Everhart (D, So. Wilton)
Goalie Situation: After not even really being referred to prior to last season, junior Connor Smith burst onto the CTHSHockey scene and helped his team to the Division I State Championship Game. Smith entered the season in a goalie battle with senior David Anania and junior Nick Piselli. He responded by posting a .917 save percentage and a 2.47 GAA. He logged over 70% of NDWH’s time in the crease and simply won the job. Smith is clearly the guy at NDWH and one of the best goalies in the state.
Key Losses: Ian Hayden, Mike Card, Jack Luzzi, Kevin Millea, Connor Morgran (all to graduation), Charlie Andriole (Loomis Chaffee), Rory Andriole (Loomis Chaffee)
Outlook: Notre Dame-West Haven’s improbable run as a 6-seed to Division I runner up was a fun one to follow and really proved Vieira’s chops as a head coach. The Green Knights entered last season losing essentially everyone, had major goaltending questions and very few were expecting them to amount to anything in Vieira’s first year after leaving NFI. At 5-5 through the mid-way point of the season it looked like the Green Knights were going to have an average season, nothing to write home about. Even towards the end of the year, the Knights lost a 7-3 final to Darien, dropped games to Xavier, Hamden and Prep further pushing the notion that while they are a good team, they’re not a championship caliber team. They turned it on at that point and that’s why this is a team to be very aware of this year. Juniors John D’Errico (9 goals, 12 assists) and John-Michael Childs (13 goals, 7 assists), Notre Dame’s second and third leading scorers from a year ago, are back. However, they are the only two returning scorers out of NDWH’s top eight from a year ago with the Andrioles heading to Loomis and the rest graduating, including the fun-to-watch Ian Hayden. NDWH brings in plenty of talent to make up for those losses headlined by Robert Allan, formerly of Hall-Southington, who heads to Bennett after a 30+ point sophomore campaign. More names will emerge as well as the season progresses. Having the aforementioned Connor Smith back is also one of the most crucial components for NDWH this year. Smith is arguably the most experienced returning goalie at the DI level this year and should be a rock for Vieira’s squad. I like Notre Dame to make a deep, deep run this year and I am viewing them as a title candidate.