2020-21 Season Preview: Guilford Grizzlies
2019-20 Record: 7-12-1
Head Coach: Ralph Russo (19th season)
Key Returning Players: Steven Tortora (D, Sr.), Thomas Ring (F, Sr.), Zach Sperry (F, Sr.), Kent Mackowiak (F, Sr.), Gavyn Litvyn (G, Jr.), Michael Torre (F, Jr.), Shane Considine (D, So.)
Impact Newcomers: Leo Hergan (F, So.), Logan Bertrand (F, Fr.)
Goalie Situation: Junior Gavyn Litvyn enters his junior season after a full season as Guilford’s backstop. Look for that year of experience to lead to continued growth in Litvyn’s play.
Key Losses: Jack Dacey, EJ Vickerman, Tyler Considine (all to graduation)
Outlook: Last season was a tough one for Guilford. But let’s go easy on the Grizzlies and Head Coach Ralph Russo, now in his 19th season. That was their first bad one in quite a while. In fact over the previous four seasons, Guilford went 59-19-2, went to three semifinals, and won a title. Unfortunately, while I think there’s room for some improvement in certain areas, I think this year could be reminiscent of last. This is mainly because of the loss of Jack Dacey. Normally, we wouldn’t overvalue the loss of one player but when you consider Dacey scored 29 times and the rest of the Guilford squad combined for 27, that’s a significant loss. One that appears, at least on paper, insurmountable. So, how will the Grizzlies shut me up and prove me wrong? Well, it’s going to need to come from some senior leaders who will have to pick up the slack. Seniors Thomas Ring, Zach Sperry, and Kent Mackowiak will lead the forward charge. Veteran senior defenseman Steven Tortora and exciting sophomore Shane Considine will lead the patrol of the blueline. Junior Gavyn Litvyn is back in net for the Grizzlies after a full season manning the crease. Something positive can happen when a bona fide star is removed from a lineup, a survival of the fittest if you will. In order for Guilford to “survive” this year, they will have to subscribe to the “next man up” philosophy and hope some offensive potency comes from some newer faces.