2019-20 Season Preview: Watertown-Pomperaug
2018-19 Record: 15-3-2
Tournament Result: As 1-seed lost in the Division II Quarterfinals to 9-seed WMRP 4-1
Head Coach: Vic Vicenzi (16th season)
Key Returning Players: Ryan Magee (F, Sr.), Brandon Mercede (F, Sr.), Mike DeRienzo (F, Sr.), Jake Oldham (F, Sr.), Sean Dunfee (F, Sr.), Tom Leonard (D, Jr.)
Impact Newcomers: Joey Meglio (So.), Matt Christina (So.), Spencer Ances (So.)
Goalie Situation: WP probably has the toughest task of replacing a goalie of any team in the state. Ryan Fleming was a horse and put together a great career. Now, junior Owen Gallagher and sophomores Carly Bokina and Nick Bristol will battle it out with some impressive pads to fill.
Key Losses: Troy Harwell, Ryan Fleming, Patsy Harris, Zach Smith, Harrison McCormack, Trevor Davis, Tim Leonard (all to graduation)
Outlook: When it comes to liking a program, the people around it, the players, the coaches, I think I speak for the staff when I say, WP has been great. That’s why these past three years of great, truly great, hockey teams coming up on the short end of the DII stick kind of hurts. WP has gone an impressive 46-10-4 over the last three years. They’ve been a 1-seed and a 2-seed twice. They’ve gone from losing in the championship in 2016-17, to the semifinals in 2017-18 and last year upset at the hands of 9-seed WMRP in the quarterfinals. With that loss, we also saw the end to the Ryan Fleming era in net. The graduation of Troy Harwell and a goodbye to a core that made WP a tough team to play against for years. WP returns only 23% of their point production last year and graduates its top four scorers. This year, Vic Vicenzi’s group is a much thinner and inexperienced squad. Senior forward Sean Dunfee (7 goals, 7 assists), the team’s fifth leading scorer returns to lead an offense that features senior Ryan Magee (5 goals, 6 assists), Brandon Mercede (3 goals, 2 assists) and Jake Oldham (3 goals, 2 assists). On D, the Indians will look to junior Tom Leonard to lead a rather youthful group. But the biggest change will be in net. Junior Owen Gallagher saw 37 minutes of game time last year so the learning curve will be steep and he will be pushed by some other underclassmen. It’ll be hard coming even close to the success WP teams of the past few years have achieved. Finding a way into the tourney will be a great stepping stone for this group of Indians.