Welcome back to another season of high school hockey here in Connecticut! Below you will find information pertinent to this season's action, teams and players… Enjoy! Division II and III to be released this weekend!
DIVISION I (2013-14 record; tournament result)
Darien (17-2-1; lost in the Division I State Championship to Fairfield Prep)
Key Losses: Tommy Waters, Owen Koorbusch, Jack Massie, Mike Colon
Key Returners: Sr. Will Massie, G; Sr. Jack Pardue, F; Sr. Craig Miller F; Sr. Nic Tuzinkiewicz, D; Jr. Sam Knowlton, D; Sr. Aidan Loh, D; Sr. Brendan Cassidy, D
New Blood: Jr. Jake Kirby (top line talent in from CT Oilers)
Outlook: Darien was on the verge of their first title since 1969, facing off against vaunted Fairfield Prep in overtime. A bounce here or a bounce there could've put them over that hump, but it didn't go that way. The Jesuits toppled the upset minded Wave winning their second straight title. Darien was left with feelings of what could've been. This year they return a strong group of experienced seniors ready to reclaim some of last season's glory and reclaim that moment in the sun. They'll do this with a new goalie in net. Senior Will Massie will take over for graduated net minder Mike Colon. The Wave will rely on a top line of seniors Jack Pardue, Craig Miller and possibly junior newcomer Jake Kirby, a player who formerly played for the CT Oilers and is expected to contribute right away. Darien is deep on D and should be right in the thick of things come the end of the season.
East Catholic (14-5-1; lost in the Division II semifinals to Daniel Hand)
Key Losses: Brian O’Connell, Griffin Casey, Patrick Bishop, Tommy Usseglio
Key Returners: Sr. Lee Munson F; Sr. Jake McCarthy, F; Sr. Alex Manner, F; Jr. Liam Donahue, F; Sr. Steven Murray, D; Sr. John Peters, D; Jr. Cam Lauzon, D
New Blood: So. Joe Sitarz, G (Wethersfield transfer netminder)
Outlook: East Catholic is coming off an underachieving final Division II season where they earned the number one overall seed come tournament time only to fall to eventual DII champ Daniel Hand in the semis in less than impressive fashion. The adjustment to Division I is easier now than it’s been in the past in terms of competing on a nightly basis. Climbing over the giants that stand atop the division come tournament time is another story. Losing senior goalie Thomas Usseglio will hurt the Eagles and a lot of pressure early on will be on incoming goalie Joe Sitarz. East Catholic plays 6 of their 7 first in state games against Division I competition. They return strong offensive leadership in seniors Lee Munson, Jake McCarthy and Alex Manner as well as a solid D core headed by Steven Murray and John Peters. Their success could come from the goal mouth out and with a difficult schedule from top to bottom, a bad start would prove disastrous for the Eagles.
Fairfield Prep (12-4-3; won the Division I State Championship)
Key Losses: Mat Wikman, Dean Lockery, Kenny Kochiss, Matt McKinney, Steven Bayles, Mike Ventricelli (Westminster), Brendon Killoy (Avon), Billy Overby (Choate), Jack Hoey (Choate), Matt Beck, Chris Gutierrez
Key Returners: Sr. Ryan Deering, F; Jr. Justin Blanchette, F; Sr. Vinny D’Amore, D; Sr. Jack Taubl, G; Jr. Will Schlichtig, F; Jr. Jack Quinn, F; Jr. Geoff Hadden, D
New Blood: Fr. Skyler Celotto, F; So. Chris Brown, F; So. Brennan Henry, F; Fr. Devin Blanchette, F; Fr. Cole Casl, D
Outlook: Prep won back to back state titles last season and their third in four years. With that, they lost a ton of players, a ton of talent and would appear to be in a rebuilding mode. I mean they lost 163 of 196 points scored including their top five scorers. Not so fast, this happens nearly every year for the Jesuits and they seem to rebound just fine. They seem to have a way of turning previous season’s role players into legit studs. Look for Justin Blanchette to elevate his game this year, his junior year. Senior Ryan Deering and the big bodied junior Will Schlichtig should also put together strong years. Freshman Skyler Celotto of Westport has the chance to be a difference maker right off the bat for the Jesuits as well. With the graduations of Matt Beck and Chris Gutierrez, senior Jack Taubl will be tasked with taking over the goaltending reins. But knowing Sather, a pair of underclassmen could also see some net time. I will never question Prep’s preparedness, talent or will to win. The swagger that they carry onto the ice each time out has them as a natural favorite yet again. It may take a little while for this unit to gel with so many losses, but I believe Coach Sather and co. will have this group ready to go for a three-peat come tournament time.
Glastonbury (15-5-0; lost in the Division I quarterfinals to Fairfield Prep)
Key Losses: Jack Pizzo, Isaac Ward, Patrick Conley
Key Returners: Sr. Kyle Thibodeaux, G; Sr. Tyler Maclean, F; Jr. Adam Yeager, F; Sr. Logan Underwood, D; Sr. Shane Mack, F; Sr. Carter Henderson, D;
New Blood: So. Cam Repoza, F; So. Joe Deluca, D
Outlook: Glastonbury quietly put together a 15 win season last year and nearly upset Fairfield Prep at Bennett in the quarters. The outlook looks positive for the Tomahawks this season and why shouldn’t it with returning senior goalie Kyle Thibodeaux in net? Thibodeaux proved he is one of the strongest netminders in the state and Glastonbury’s success will rest squarely on his shoulders. He will be helped by a strong group of forwards lead by senior Tyler Maclean, a 26 point scorer a year ago and junior Adam Yeager (18 points last year). Seniors Logan Underwood and Shane Mack will be leaned upon as players who will need to elevate their games going from their junior to season seasons. Glastonbury still seems to be a few bodies short to ultimately compete but with Thibodeaux in net, crazier things could happen.
Greenwich (9-10-1; lost in the Division I First Round to Darien)
Key Losses: Luke Finneran, Mark Schmeiler
Key Returners: Sr. Matt Lodato, F; Sr. Ian Fulton, F; Sr. Tommy Rogan, D; Sr. Kevin Piotrzkowski, D; Sr. Brian Archino, G; Jr. Nick Bozzuto, G
New Blood: Fr. Oliver Fulton, Fr. Matt Bougher, Sr. Phillip Glasser
Outlook: The Cardinals took a step toward returning to relevance last season going a competitive 9-10-1 before battling Darien in a tough 3-1 loss in the DI first round. The Cardinals return a large number of contributing bodies from last year’s squad. This includes a ton of senior leadership in the form of forwards Matt Lodato, Ian Fulton and Tommy Rogan. On defense, senior Kevin Piotrzkowski is one of those Fairfield County hidden gems. A great puck mover and penetrator, he will be key for the Cardinals. Greenwich will be in for a good old fashioned goalie battle between Nick Bozzuto and Brian Archino. It appears Archino will be given the first nod. If the Cardinals can weather an early difficult stretch of games (West Haven, New Canaan, St. Joseph, Xavier) they are greeted with quite a few against DII-III FCIAC clubs. This is a team who still seems a few pieces away from being a contender but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least bit if they finish over .500 this year in a very even DI field.
Hamden (6-13-1; lost in the Division I First Round to Fairfield Prep)
Key Losses: John Battick, Stephen Pantera, Dan Chicoine, Anthony Rascati
Key Returners: Sr. Sam Carignan, F/D; So. Jeremy Routh, F; Sr. Matt Barnett; F; Sr. Mike DeMatteis, F; Sr. Jimmy Magson, F; Sr. Aidan Smyth, D; Sr. Tim Gontarski, D; So. Jake Blackwell, F; Jr. Christian Ugolik, F; Jr. Anthony Hernandez, F; Sr. Eric Perez, D
New Blood: Jr. Colin Burke, G (transfer from NDWH)
Outlook: For the first time in a few years Hamden’s line chart won’t be drastically different. They will lose steady contributions from forwards John Battick and Anthony Rascati and rock solid D from the graduated Dan Chicoine and the early exit of Stephen Pantera but for the most part the Dragons have a lot of pieces that make you feel good about them coming into this campaign. They return sophomore Jeremy Routh who had a great freshman season, seniors Matt Barnett and Mike DeMatteis as well as key role players like senior Jimmy Magson, junior Christian Ugolik and sophomore Jake Blackwell who’s freshman season was cut short due to injury. On the back end Hamden is a bit thinner with seniors Eric Perez, Aidan Smyth and Tim Gontarski manning the point. Senior Sam Carignan, one of Hamden’s leading point scorers from a year ago, will give it a go on defense this season. Look for junior Anthony Hernandez to step and contribute on offense this year. The goalie situation is an odd one for Hamden. Chris Feldman graduated which left Hamden with Logan Cathey as the incumbent. Cathey dealt with some off ice health issues this summer which cut his hockey career short leaving sophomore Stephen Richitelli and NDWH transfer junior Colin Burke as the lead candidates to man the pipes. At this point it appears that Burke will have to sit out ten games due to the transfer rule. Hamden’s success could rely on their stalwartness in net.
New Canaan (15-4-1; lost in the Division I Quarterfinals to NDWH)
Key Losses: Harry Stanton, Jack O’Rourke, Mac Wright, Peter Reinhardt, Stephen Mettler
Key Returners: Sr. Patrick Hompe, F; Sr. Ted O’Rourke D; Sr. Peter Katz, F; Sr. JP McMahon, D
New Blood: So. Peter Wyndas, G; Liam Mooney, G
Outlook: New Canaan seems to reload with the best of them but losing a player like Harry Stanton and the supporting cast of guys like Stephen Mettler, Jack O’Rourke, Peter Reinhardt and goalie Mac Wright could be a tall task. New coach Pat Gore has his work cut out for him but definitely has some strong pieces to build with including senior Patrick Hompe. New Canaan has some defensive depth as well in the forms of Ted O’Rourke and JP McMahon. With Wright’s graduation another goalie battle will take place with sophomores Peter Wyndas and Liam Mooney going at it. Gore has been adamant at least early on in saying that he would ride the hot hand and stick with the platoon.
Northwest Catholic (10-8-2; lost in the Division I First Round to New Canaan)
Key Losses: Jesse McLain, Demitri Yao, John Arel, Zeke Angelini
Key Returners: Jr. Mike Camasso, G; So. Tucker Alissi, F; Sr. Tyler Noll, F; So. Anthony Ceolin, F; Jr. Henry McKenna, F; Sr. Josh Stumpf, D; Jr. JJ Foster, D; Jr. Anthony Gianonne, D
Outlook: Northwest Catholic lost certain firepower with the exits of McLain and Yao. This will be hard to replicate which may cause the Indians to stylistically change their approach. They are solid gold on D with two extremely solid D lines headed by Josh Stumpf, JJ Foster and Anthony Gianonne. Junior goalie Mike Camasso played every game for the Indians last season and he is back for more. If this unit is solid, Northwest Catholic’s chances of success increase. However, on the offensive side of the puck, the team is young and inexperienced. Their top four leading scorers are all gone. Defenseman Stumpf is actually their returning leading scorer with 10 points last year. Look for youngsters Anthony Ceolin and Tucker Alissi to take that needed next step as well as some senior leadership and offensive potency from Tyler Noll. Regardless of how this year goes for NWC, be sure to circle these dates: January 10th and February 7th. These will be the first regular season meetings between rivals East Catholic and Northwest Catholic at the Division I level…must sees.
Notre Dame- Fairfield (15-4-1; lost in the Division I Semifinals to Darien)
Key Losses: Zac Bouve, Justin Krochko, Jesse Burns Christian La Croix, Dan Walsh, Greg Ferris, Garrett Gintoli, Craig Hessenius
Key Returners: Sr. Jon Suporn, F; Sr. Justin Dupuis, F; Sr. Seamus O’Rourke, D; Sr. Nick Carloto, F; Sr. Ryan Gawricki, D; Sr. Brendan Barger, D; Sr. Adam Dawe, F; Sr. Zach Stepkoski, F; Jr. Tyler Henchcliffe, F; Jr. Mark Russo, F
New Blood: Sr. Landon Gabriele, Owen Kane, Connor McCutcheon, Max Lagasse, Mike Antoniou, Tyler English So. Billy Skoville, So. Charlie Capalbo
Outlook: The Lancers return a nucleus of forwards and enough D that they should legitimately contend this season. They return senior Jonny Suporn, one of the state’s best forwards. Also, look for seniors Justin Dupuis and Nick Carloto to take on a bigger role this season with the loss of La Croix, Walsh and Gintoli on the front end. In goal, the Lancers will see some new faces. Sophomores Billy Skoville and Charlie Capalbo will battle to see who can take the reins. Overall, the Lancers will be a very tough out and if Seamus O’Rourke and co. can be defensively sound, the offense should be enough.
Notre Dame-West Haven (13-5-1; lost in the Division I Semifinals to Fairfield Prep)
Key Losses: Matt Dumas, Kyle Lynch, Ryan Lynch, Jimmy Davins, Pat Francis, Casey Hoban, Anthony Iovene, Eric Austin
Key Returners: Sr. Wade Conlan, G; Jr. Colin O’Connor, D; So. Alec Andreucci, F; Jr. Joe Ansaldo, F; Jr. Paddy Connors, D; Sr. Nick Abate, D
New Blood: Jr. Doug Caliendo, So. Vinny Paiollilo
Outlook: Things will certainly look different for Tim Belcher’s second year at the helm. The loss of Dumas/Lynch 2X will definitely hurt and will be nearly irreplaceable. If NDWH is going to be successful this year they’ll have to do things a little differently. They are fairly strong on defense, headed by Colin O’Connor, a player with prep school talent, who’s hanging around for another year. Conlan is as strong as they get in terms of returning goaltending talent. Look for a breakout year from Alec Andreucci who had a strong freshman campaign last season. At the end of the day NDWH is still a power. They may take their licks early, but should be considered a contender until they prove otherwise.
Ridgefield (16-4-0; lost in the Division I First Round to South Windsor)
Key Losses: Sam Sarath, Callan McCormick, John Tregurtha
Key Returners: Sr. Liam Smith, F; Sr. Shane Luery, F; Sr. Paul Garlick, F; Sr. Brad Alexander, F; Sr. Alex Fugazy, F; Sr. Brandon Winne, F; Sr. Patrick Sheehan-Delany, G; Sr. Alec Schneider, G; Sr. Matt Keegans, D; Sr. Ryan Hallahan, F
Outlook: Ridgefield was bounced unceremoniously early in last year’s playoffs, falling to underdog South Windsor. Retribution will surely be on the mind of this talented FCIAC club. Along with Darien and New Canaan, the Tigers will again be in the mix for the conference title. They return an abundance of capable forwards with senior Liam Smith headlining a group that is likely to have a different hero each night. In net two seniors, Pat Sheehan-Delany and Alec Schneider will battle for crease position. I have no doubt this team will post some quality wins this year, stock up on wins against weaker FCIAC clubs and have a good seed in the Division I tourney. What they do after that is anybody’s guess.
Simsbury (7-12-1; lost in the Division I First Round to NDWH)
Key Losses: Curt Eustis, Nolan Thompson, Pete Sconzo, James Foster
Key Returners: Sr. Hunter Thompson, F; So. Riley Chapman, F; Jr. Zach Levin, F; Jr. Ben Levin, F; Jr. Jake Arnold, F; So. Willem Rooney, D; Jr. Nate McIntyre, D; So. Drew Marquis, G
Outlook: Simsbury should be improved this season. They are a year older with 10 underclassmen coming back with a year of experience under their belt. Eustis was one of the stronger D-men a the Division I level last year so replacing him won’t be an easy task but they have a strong group ready to battle. The Trojans never wow anybody in terms of being a flashy group but they are as hardworking as any. Hunter Chapman and Riley Chapman head this unit of blue collar type of kids. Look for Marquis to have a strong year in net and for the Trojans to certainly improve on their 7-12-1 mark of a year ago.
South Windsor (8-10-2; lost in the Division I Quarterfinals to Darien)
Key Losses: Bryan Bakas, Nick Jones, Connor Minguy
Key Returners: Jr. Scott Skenyon, G; Sr. Patrick Lawson, F; Sr. Tyler Dowdy, F; Sr. Sean King, F; Jr. Scott Swan
Outlook: South Windsor shocked the high school hockey world last year when they upset Ridgefield in the first round of the state tournament. For a team that battled all year long, the victory was well deserved. Scott Skenyon was excellent in that game and throughout the year for the Bobcats and the junior will have to be as strong in goal this year for them to have a fighting chance. The Bobcats have lost 8 starters from last year’s 8-win club. Big questions abound as to where the production lost in the graduation of Bakas, Jones and Minguy will come from. Only time will tell for this group but at the end of the day it’s refreshing to see them sticking it out at the DI level.
St. Joseph (7-12-1; lost in the Division I First Round to ND-Fairfield)
Key Losses: Ryan Corcoran, Colin Powell, Sean Hurley, Dom Derosa
Key Returners: Sr. Filippo Petrini, F; So. Adam Usinger, F; Jr. Nick Disabella, F; Sr. Justice Cook, D; Sr. Dylan Batterson, G
New Blood: Ryan Wilson, G
Outlook: The Cadets had less than a stellar year last season showing how irreplaceable players like Keator and Gore were. This year they will have to deal with the loss of some top scorers in Ryan Corcoran, Colin Powell and Dom Derosa. Powell and Derosa both opted out of their senior seasons. They will be lead on offense by sophomore Adam Usinger and senior captain Filippo Petrini. Also look for Nick Disabella to contribute. They will need to find scoring with a very young D-core protecting the back end. Senior Justice Cook will be one of the lone senior leaders in this unit. The crease is currently senior Dylan Batterson’s to man but look for freshman Ryan Wilson to push for playing time. Times appear to be tough in Cadet land. A home game in the playoffs looks iffy unless some unsung heroes emerge.
West Haven (11-8-1; lost in the Division I First Round to East Haven)
Key Losses: Alex Scranton, Jaeson Puleo, Joe Ayala, Pete Lynn, Matt Kelly
Key Returners: Sr. Mike Savino, G; Sr. Devin Hines, D; Sr. Don Froehlich, D; Sr. Wyatt Condon, F; Sr. Kevin Coyle, F; Sr. Jake Lynch, F
Outlook: As blue collar and hard working as they come; That’s been West Haven’s mantra each of the past few seasons. Things will be no different this year. Joe Morrell’s crew will need to win the war of attrition in order to defeat some teams that, on paper, are more talented. The Westies will do this from the net mouth out where senior leader and stud netminder Mike Savino resides. His success will be the Westies’ success this year. On offense leading goal scorer senior Wyatt Condon returns. The Blue Devils are strong on the back end with senior leadership in the forms of Devin Hines and Donny Froehlich. This is a team that you like to see win only because of how hard they work for it. I think the Westies have a similar year to last year finishing at or above .500 but with Savino in net, could certainly shock some big boys on any given night.
Xavier (7-10-2; lost in the Division I First Round to Glastonbury)
Key Losses: Paul Hotchkiss, Sean Johnson, John Burkinshaw, Andrew Meoli, Bryan Stanton
Key Returners: Sr. Adam Aresco, F; Sr. Hunter Wilcox, F; Sr. David Piekut, F; Jr. Cam Pollack, F; Sr. Ben Guidobono, G; So. Jared Guidobono, G; Sr. John Ford, D
Outlook: Xavier’s task will be lofty this season. The Falcons lost 10 seniors from last year’s 7 win club and play one of the state’s most difficult schedules with only one game outside of DI and matchups with LaSalle Academy (RI) and St. John’s-Shrewsbury (MA). They will look for Ben Guidobono to man the pipes with his brother, sophomore Jared, right behind him. On offense look for David Piekut to have a breakout senior campaign playing up front with seniors Hunter Wilcox and Adam Aresco. I am also expecting big things out of junior Cam Pollack. Xavier has some pieces to be successful but at least at the on set has a lot going against them.