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2020-21 Season Preview: Notre Dame-Fairfield Lancers

Conference: SCC/SWC

2019-20 Record: 10-8-2

Head Coach: Richie Minnix (2nd season)

Key Returning Players: Brian Essing (F, Sr.), Mike Ceneri (F, Sr.), Tyler Bassett (F, So.), Patrick Benvenuto (F, Sr.), Matt Newton (F, Sr.), Reagin Gallagher (G, Sr.)

Impact Newcomers: Patrick Dabrowski (D, Fr.), Drew Kolakowski (D, Fr.), George Guaracino (D, Fr.), Timmy Finkenzeller (F, So. transfer from St. Joseph), Colby LaSalle (G, So. transfer from Trumbull), Jack Cretaci Sr. transfer from BBD)

Goalie Situation: After sharing the spoils with Nick Piselli last season, senior Reagin Gallagher (5-4-1 2.5 GAA .910 SV%) takes over in net. Gallagher has shown moments of brilliance in the past; look for a big year out of him. Trumbull transfer, sophomore Colby LaSalle will back up Gallagher.

Key Losses: Aaron Martino, Nick Piselli (both to graduation)

Outlook: Championship-winning Head Coach Richie Minnix has had a lot of success over the years, but he often doesn’t show his excitement overwhelmingly on the outside. I think there’s reason for him to be pumped up for this upcoming abbreviated season. In his second year at ND-Fairfield, he returns a lot of talent and has added quite a few bodies to his core group as well. 46-point scorer, senior Brian Essing (20 G, 26 A) is back for his final year and immediately jumps off the page as one of the state’s best players. Fellow senior and 20 goal scorer Mike Ceneri and super sophomore Tyler Bassett (8 G, 14 A, 22 Pts) will also be among an elite group of forwards that Minnix boasts. On the back end, it’s another story. The Lancers return only one defenseman from last year’s 10-win club. For NDF to be successful, immediate contributions are going to be needed from a large crop of freshman defensemen. In net, Minnix has some sense of normalcy when senior Reagin Gallagher puts on the pads. Gallagher, after splitting time with Nick Piselli last year, is more than capable of performing well on a nightly basis. In a year that anything can happen, and the bottom-end of the SCC/SWC DI pool is a bit down, look for the Lancers to compete with the Fairfield Preps and NDWHs of the SCC/SWC universe. Time, not that there’s a lot of it, will tell with this group. At the onset, they can rely on the fact that unlike many other teams this year, there’s a lot of familiar faces returning who can put the puck in the net.

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