2020-21 Season Preview: Branford Hornets
2019-20 Record: 17-2-1
Head Coach: Jim DiNapoli (5th season)
Key Returning Players: Billy Linder (D, Sr.), Dan Farricielli (F, Sr.), Sawyer Moriarty (F, Sr.), Matt Morgan (F, So.), Jared Yakimoff (G, Sr.)
Impact Newcomers: TBD
Goalie Situation: Four-year starter, senior Jared Yakimoff returns as the backbone of DiNapoli’s group this year. Yakimoff looks to cap off a brilliant career between the pipes for the Branford Hornets. His success will likely dictate how far this new look Branford group will go.
Key Losses: Chris Donadio, Jack Manware, Max Manware, Spencer Engstrom, Zach Jones, Blake Kustra (all to graduation)
Outlook: It’s almost not fair to read the names listed as “key losses” above. After a 17-win regular season and a conference championship, Jim DiNapoli’s group was poised to chase a state title before the shutdown. Now, constantly impressive senior netminder Jared Yakimoff and a cast of a few returnees, look to rebuild all while competing in what is, for many of them, their season year. Hulking senior forward Danny Farricielii (24 G, 16 A, 40 Pts) will lead this offense alongside sophomore and 2019-20 CTHSHockey Division II Freshman of the Year Matt Morgan (13 G, 8 A, 21 Pts) and senior Sawyer Moriarty. On the backend, one of the more offensively-inclined defensemen in Division II will have to balance his deft offensive potential with solidifying a depleted back end. Look for a big year out of senior Billy Linder (3 G, 13 A, 16 Pts). Coach DiNapoli reports Branford bringing in a large number of sophomores who he’s “excited to see develop.” At the end of the day, Branford is due for a down year in comparison to last year. That’s not to say they can’t put together a quality year but replacing what they need to replace is a near impossibility. That said, very few other teams in the SCC/SWC or the state, for that matter, have Jared Yakimoff in net, so let’s wait this one out.