2020-21 Season Preview: West Haven Blue Devils
2019-20 Record: 11-8-1
Head Coach: Steve Harris (2nd season)
Key Returning Players: Nick Boanno (F, Sr.), Mike Kelly (F, Sr.), Connor Fowler (F, Sr.), DJ Carfora (F, Jr.), Nico Bruneau (F, Jr.), Ben Carfora (F, So.), Ryan Smith (D, Sr.), Anthony Peschell (D, Jr.), Joe D’Aurio (D, Jr.)
Impact Newcomers: Jayden Spreyer (D, Fr.), Marcus Burrows (F, Fr.), Mike Madera (F, Fr.), Haygen Axelrod (D, Fr.), Jason Ailing (D, Fr.), Yousaf Ullah (D, Fr.), Javed Ullah (G, Fr.)
Goalie Situation: Charlie Miller has been handed the keys to a Bennett Rink crease manned admirably by Jared Pliszka for the last couple seasons. Miller will be West Haven’s clear #1 on the goalie depth chart. Freshman Javed Ullah will be backing him up. Head Coach Steve Harris wouldn’t be surprised if Miller “turned some heads” this year. High praise.
Key Losses: Robbie Forleo, Jared Pliszka, Kevin Moriarty, Sean Dupre, Kaden Morgillo, Richie Greene, Colin Hines (all to graduation)
Outlook: Reading the list of the Westies that have graduated reads more like a changing of the guard. The likes of Forleo, Moriarty, Morgillo, and Greene, and then, of course Pliszka in net, are going to be so hard to replace. It feels like those guys were patrolling Bennett forever. It’s another team who you ache for losing last season, Head Coach Steve Harris’ first as bench boss of the Blue Devils. Now, the Westies approach this year with a youthful exuberance; a why not us mentality, West Haven vs. Everyone, you could say. Harris thinks his team speed could be something that elevates his club over the competition. 2019-20 CTHSHockey Division I Freshman of the Year, sophomore Ben Carfora (10 G, 11 A, 21 Pts) is back as the Blue Devils’ returning leading scorer. He’s complemented nicely by brother, junior DJ Carfora, senior Nick Boanno, and junior Nick Bruneau. Look for that interchangeable group to be elite for West Haven this year. Additionally, as mentioned above, Harris is really excited to see what senior Charlie Miller can do in net now that he’s out of Jared Pliszka’s shadow. West Haven is a bit inexperienced on the blue line and will need some members of a large freshmen group to step up. I think playing with their pants on fire, never taking a shift off, and outworking their opponents has kind of been West Haven’s calling card for years. I don’t see why that will change this year, especially in a season where youth could be their strength. Finally, the Westies will be playing with a bit of a heavy heart this season after the untimely deaths of Westie lifer Bob Serenson and the voice of Bennett Rink, Brian Dinneen this offseason. Two examples of the great people you meet in this sport.