December 18, 2012

2012-13 Prep School Preview: ISL, Founders League

By Mike Zhe & Shawn Hutcheon

NEHJ tells you what to watch for and what to expect from each and every prep team in the Independent School League and the Founders League this season.


Nathan Ferriero ( 26 points last season) returns for Governor’s Academy. (Photo by Dave Arnold/New England Hockey Journal)


Belmont Hill

Coach: Jeremiah McCarthy

League: ISL

2011-12 result: 22-6-3, lost to Lawrence Academy in quarterfinals of Stuart/Corkery tournament

Players to watch: Carl Hesler, F; Mike Najjar, F; Will Golonka, F; E.J. Rauseo, F; Dan Doherty, F; Tyler Granata, D; Ryan McConnell, G

Outlook: Belmont Hill is experienced, especially up front, where eight forwards return, including Hesler, who had 12-18-30 scoring totals last season and is headed to Dartmouth. McConnell takes over for All-New England selection David Cunningham in goal and had a .912 save percentage in limited action.

“We’ll rely on our forwards and special teams to make a difference early in the season,” said McCarthy.

Governor’s Academy

Coach: Leon Hayward

League: ISL

2011-12 result: 13-12-4

Players to watch: Ryan Scarfo, F; Geoff Sullivan, D; Nathan Ferriero, F; James Murphy, F; Lucas Bombardier, F; Cam Laughlin, F; Brendan McMenimen, G

Outlook: This is the second season for Governor’s under Hayward, the former Northeastern standout, and the team looks poised to make a jump. There were good signs last year — wins over Stuart/Corkery teams Belmont Hill and Nobles — but overall consistency was lacking.

Now, with 15 returning players — nine of them seniors — there’s heavy reason for optimism. Scarfo (15-14-29), Sullivan (8-18-26) and Ferriero (7-19-26) lead a lineup of proven producers.

Lawrence Academy

Coach: Kevin Potter

League: ISL

2011-12 result: 25-3-3, won Stuart/Corkery tournament

Players to watch: George Hunkele, F; Tom Newton, F; Richard Cardillo, D; Drew Michals, G

Outlook: Spartans said goodbye to 11 seniors off last year’s New England championship team, including several key performers from their playoff run. The most experience returns on defense, which may have to carry the load in the early part of the season, but there’s some good new talent, too.Newcomers include Michals, who went 11-1-1 with a 2.82 GAA and .902 save percentage for the EJHL’s Boston Junior Bruins last year.

Milton Academy

Coach: Paul Cannata

League: ISL

2011-12 result: 10-14-2

Players to watch: Jonah Dwyer, F; Anthony Sabitsky, F; Elliott Vorel, F; Conner Wynne, D; Chad Malinowski, D; Alex Mann, D; Drew Hotte, G

Outlook: Good experience returning up front for the Mustangs, and the back end should be solidified with newcomers like Wynne, Malinowski and Mann. Dwyer is serving as captain, and Sabitsky and Vorel are the top returning scorers. Milton expects to contend in the Keller Division and for a spot in the New England tournament.

Noble and Greenough

Coach: Brian Day

League: ISL

2011-12 result: 23-5-1, lost to Lawrence Academy in Stuart/Corkery tournament championship

Players to watch: Conor Maher, G; Tyler Wood, D; J.C. Brassard, D; Colin White, F; Cal Burke, F; Cody Todesco, F; P.J. Falvey, F; Will Sleeper, F

Outlook: Key losses, but also key returns for Nobles, which saw juniors and key players in last year’s tournament run Chris Calnan (EJHL) and Adam Gilmour (USHL) opt for junior hockey.

White is one of the league’s shining young stars, and the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Wood is the anchor on the blueline. Maher, a battle-tested senior, is a nice last line of defense.

“I like what I think our team will be coming in,” said Day. “The league is always unbelievably competitive, but I think we have a good core.”

St. Paul’s

Coach: Mark Bozek

League: ISL

2011-12 result: 15-12, lost to Albany Academy in quarterfinals of Martin/Earl tournament

Players to watch: Mike Pinios, G; Greg Zaffino, D; Nate Wark, F

Outlook: Last season ended suddenly for St. Paul’s with a 3-2 overtime loss to Albany in the Martin/Earl quarters. The core of that team is largely back and eager to go ever farther. In Zaffino, Samuel Hudziak and Flurin Domenig, the Pelicans have three four-year varsity players on the blueline in front of a superb goalie in Pinios.

“I think our depth up front is going to be key,” said Bozek. “We have four lines that can really compete. … I think (Pinios) is one of the best goalies in New England.”

St. Sebastian’s

Coach: Sean McCann

League: ISL

2011-12 result: 17-8-2, lost to Berkshire in Martin/Earl tournament championship

Players to watch: Tommy Kelley, F; Corey Ronan, F; Dalton MacAfee, D; Noah Hanifin, D; Jake McCarthy, D; Tedy Loughborough, G

Outlook: A lot of the pieces seem to be in place for St. Seb’s, even without graduated standout Danny O’Regan (Boston University) and young gun Cam Askew, who moved on to Cushing. Kelley and Ronan were both among the top three in scoring last year, and BU commit MacAfee and BC commit Hanifin are standouts on the blueline.

“It’ll be interesting for us,” said McCann. “We’ve got some very good talent, kids with proven ability. We’ve got five forwards I expect to contribute pretty heavily; then it’s up to the rest to see what they can contribute.”

Thayer Academy

Coach: Tony Amonte

League: ISL

2011-12 result: 5-15

Players to watch: Lincoln Griffin, F; Jon Barry, D

Outlook: Record could have been a little better for Thayer last winter, considering it went just 1-4 in overtime games.

In the program’s second year under former NHL star Amonte (Hingham, Mass.), it improved its win total by three. Griffin was an All-ISL selection.


Brooks School

Coach: Dave Ries

League: ISL

2011-12 result: 16-11-1, lost to Holderness in Piatelli/Simmons tournament semifinals

Players to watch: Colin Langham, G; Max Prawdziak, G; Mitch Nylen, D; Greg Conrad, F; Nick Vasilopoulos, F; Andrew Bruno, F

Outlook: Strength for Brooks starts in goal and flows forward. Langham and Prawdziak split time in goal last year and will resume their roles. Production should come from Conrad, who scored 16 goals last year, and Vasilopoulos, who finished with 30 points.

“Everything with us is going to start from the net out,” said Ries.

Buckingham, Browne & Nichols

Coach: Terrence Butt

League: ISL

2011-12 result: 10-16-2

Players to watch: Connor Hegarty, D; Brian Rowland, D; R.J. Caruso, D; Joey Czarnota, F; Jordy Abrams, F; Brendon Kerrigan, F; Bobby Mullins, F; Cam O’Neill, F; Brian Diffley, D

Outlook: Despite losing our last year’s top two scorers — Matt Pugh and Luke Griffin— and defensive stalwart Aidan Hartigan, hopes are high that good balance and good experience on defense, plus the addition of Diffley, should have BB&N improved. All three goalies are back — senior Matt DeLuccia, junior Steven Grinsztein and highly touted freshman Sihak Lee. 

“We played six freshmen regularly last season due to injuries,” said Butt, “and this experience should go a long way to provide depth, which we have lacked in past years.”

Groton School

Coach: Bill Riley

League: ISL

2011-12 result: 9-12-2

Players to watch: Matt Pompa, G; Chance McDonald, D; Dane Glavine, D; Patrick Harvey, LW; Ace Cowans, RW; Andrew Popp, F

Outlook: The Zebras stepped back after graduating a bunch of players off the Eberhart-winning team of 2010-11, but are looking for a bounce-back this winter. McDonald, an All-ISL selection, leads a potentially superb defense in front of third-year goalie Pompa. The offense will try to replace the production of the graduated Michael Doherty, the team’s leading scorer in each of the past three years.

“We were a little young last year and a little inexperienced, but kind of surged toward the end,” said Riley. “I like our team. We have a good defense.”

Middlesex School

Coach: Joe Mallen

League: ISL

2011-12 result: 12-9-1

Players to watch: A.J. Lucchese, F; Will Kreitler, F; Chris Jellison, F; Eric Shaw, F; Justin Ferreira, F; Ben Franks, F; Billy Olson, D; Mike Menter, D; Harrison Markell, D; Jeremy Bergeron, D; Dereck Williams, G; Derek Goguen, G

Outlook: Middlesex returns top five scorers from last year — Kreitler (32 points), Lucchese (27), Jellison (23), Shaw (20) and Olson (16).

Three returning defensemen, an established senior goalie (Williams) and a promising freshman goalie (Goguen) complete the picture of a team that will contend in its division and chase a Piatelli/Simmons tournament berth.

Rivers School

Coach: Shawn McEachern

League: ISL

2011-12 result: 15-11-2

Players to watch: Pat Young, RW; Austin Rook, D; Ryan Coleman, G

Outlook: Young is coming off a season that saw him score 16 goals and add 12 assists to lead the team in scoring. He and Coleman were All-ISL selections and two of the proven commodities on a team that’s still young in McEachern’s third year as coach after wrapping up a 13-year NHL career. He likes Brooks, Middlesex and St. Mark’s to contend in the ISL’s Eberhart Division.

“We have a lot coming back but we still have a pretty young team,” said McEachern.

Roxbury Latin

Coach: Mo Randall

League: ISL

2011-12 result: 1-21-1

Players to watch: Matt Deveney, D; Mickey Henry, F; Jon Marchetti, G

Outlook: Nowhere to go but up for Latin, which graduated an All-League goalie in Dylan Cleary but thinks it’s in good shape with Marchetti, a junior. The numbers were good at tryouts, which should translate to a team that’s at least a little deeper. 

“We were down the last couple years but we think this year is the year where we’re going to start getting back,” said Randall.

St. George’s

Coach: Justin Cerenzia

League: ISL

2011-12 result: 10-11-1

Players to watch: Buddy Reed, F;
Tim Doherty, F; Hunter Johnson, F;
Will Silverstein, G; Ian Keller, D; Tim Baumann, D

Outlook: There’s some decent experience up front, a group that includes Doherty, the team’s third-leading scorer a year ago. Silverstein, who’s in his third year in the program, will get first crack at handling the bulk of the work in net. Top Division 1 commit is Reed, who’s heading to the University of Florida on a baseball scholarship.

“We’re certainly a young team,” said Cerenzia, the team’s first-year coach. “We didn’t lose much from last year and we won’t lose much this year.”

St. Mark’s

Coach: Scott Young

League: ISL

2011-12 result: 16-10-3, lost to Kimball Union in Piatelli/Simmons tournament quarterfinals

Players to watch: Nick Buly, F; J.T. Lynch, F; Alex Hreib, D;

Outlook: It was a breakthrough season for the Lions last winter, in their second season under former NHL standout Young. They recorded the most wins by a St. Mark’s team since 1992 and reached a postseason tournament for the first time since 2007, falling to eventual champ Kimball Union, 6-3, in the Simmons/Piatelli quarterfinals.

Buly (45 points) was an All-ISL selection and Lynch and Hreib were honorable mention. Team MVP Mike Pontarelli bypassed his senior season to join the Cornwall Colts of the CCHL.


Goalie Justin Nichols helped Salisbury advance to the Stuart/Corkery tournament semifinals last season. (Photo by Dave Arnold/New England Hockey Journal)

Avon Old Farms

Coach: John Gardner

League: Founders League

2011-12 result: 19-7-1, lost to Noble and Greenough in Stuart/Corkery tournament quarterfinals

Players to watch: Vin Russo, F; Grif Martin, D; Armand Uomoleale, F; Brennan Kee, F; Mason Krueger, F; Sam Levin, F; Sam Loizeaux, D; Sean Deverin, F; Lane Valimont, D; Jackson Tucker, F; Austin Jadovich, D; T.J. Dockery, D; Cody Doyle, G

Outlook: Avon lost a pair of standouts in Colin Sullivan and goalie Mike Santaguida but welcomes a crop of talented newcomers, including South Kent transfer Cody Champagne, fellow defenseman Aidan Salerno and forwards Danny LaFontaine — former NHL standout Pat’s son — and Nick Hutchison. 

Russo posted 17-21-38 totals last year. Martin, Uomoleale, Kee, Krueger and Levin also were in double figures for points.


Coach: Pat Dennehy

League: Founders League

2011-12 result: 16-8-3, lost to Kent in Martin/Earl tournament quarterfinals

Players to watch: Sam Tucker, G; Max Daigle, D; Mickey Foley, F; Luke May, F

Outlook: Choate’s hopes for a return to a postseason tournament start in net, with the Yale-committed Tucker back for his sophomore year. Foley and May are charged with captaining a young team that’s got to fill some holes in production caused by graduation.

“We lost three great scorers last year with graduation, but I am hopeful that we will see a bit more depth up front,” said Dennehy. “We should have some depth on the blue line and goal as well with some new additions there.”

Deerfield Academy

Coach: Brendan Creagh

League: Founders League

2011-12 result: 11-14-1

Players to watch: Alex Gonye, F; Jordan Jancze, F; Trevor Yates, F; Sam Lafferty, F; Adam Ellison, G; Jake Thoubboron, G

Outlook: Big Green return their top four scorers, a group led by the talented, Union College-bound Gonye, who posted 18-15-33 totals, and Jancze, who had 9-19-28. Ellison (.909 save percentage) and Jake Thoubboron (.897) are proven commodities in goal.

“We have a strong core of returning players both offensively and defensively,” said Creagh. “We have a few new players who have the potential to step in and make an impact immediately. We need to get off to a faster start this year.”

Hotchkiss School

Coach: Mike Traggio

League: Founders League

2011-12 result: 9-13-3

Players to watch: Wiley Sherman, D

Outlook: Former Brown standout Traggio, an assistant coach the past nine years, takes over behind the bench after Damon White retired.

His biggest asset — literally — is the 6-foot-5 Sherman, a Harvard commit who’s one of the league’s top blueliners. He posted 2-5-7 totals a year ago.

Kent School

Coach: Matt Herr

League: Founders League

2011-12 result: 15-8-4, lost to St. Sebastian’s in Martin/Earl tournament semifinals

Players to watch: Danny Casey, F; Mitchell Allen, F; Stephen Morrissey, G

Outlook: The last three seasons for Kent have included a pair of Founders League titles and three appearances in New England tournaments. The question this year is whether that success continues minus standout Cristoval “Boo” Nieves.

Morrissey is a reason for optimism after spending a second consecutive summer at a USA Hockey national development camp. So is Allen, who cracked Central Scouting’s prelim rankings.


Coach: Ben Adams

League: Founders League

2011-12 result: 6-16

Players to watch: Anthony Giordano, G

Outlook: Reasons for optimism begin with better depth. Twelve newcomers join a group that is anchored by Giordano, a fourth-year player from Ellington, Conn., who Adams believes is one of the top puckstoppers in the region.

“Last year, a concern was depth,” said Adams, the team’s second-year coach. “This year I think we’ve addressed that. We’re a much deeper team.”


Coach: John Zavisza

League: Founders League

2011-12 result: 2-23

Players to watch: Danny Tirone, G; E.J. Culhane, D; Mat Bytalan, D; Steve Picard, F; Max Harrington, D; Matt O’Donnell, D; Cory Swift, F; Alex Esposito, F; Zach Giuttari, D; Stephen Marsico, F

Outlook: Several promising newcomers to watch including Esposito, a sophomore and one of three additions from a Connecticut Wolfpack U-16 team. Tirone finished with a .924 save percentage last season and will captain the team with Culhane and Picard.

“We need to get off to a good start and build some confidence early,” said Zavisza.

Salisbury School

Coach: Andrew Will

League: Founders League

2011-12 result: 24-4, lost to Lawrence Academy in Stuart/Corkery tournament semifinals

Players to watch: Jason Kalinowski, F; Jake Hand, F; Bryan Platt; Matt Muzyka, F; Ryan Segalla, D; Mark Hamilton, D; Willie Brooks, D; Will Toffey, D

Outlook: Salisbury lost a whopping 14 players from last year’s team that entered the postseason ranked No. 1 in New England.

Defense returns stalwarts in UConn-bound Segall, Hamilton, Brooks and Toffey, but production up front and goaltending still need some sorting out.

Taft School

Coach: Dan Murphy

League: Founders League

2011-12 result: 10-12-1

Players to watch: Mark Schiller, G; Joe Lissak, G; Chas South, D; Al Nejmeh, F

Outlook: Rhinos took wins over Gunnery, Belmont Hill and Choate last season but didn’t keep that consistency throughout the season. Of six players lost to graduation, five were forwards, so production could be an early issue. Goaltending should be in great hands.


Coach: Rob Hutchison

League: Founders League

2011-12 result: 9-12-3

Players to watch: Gyuri Dragomir, F; R.J. Bishop, D; Andrew Zona, F; Charlie Zuccarini, F; Tanner Zacharewicz, F; Paul Amarone, F; Cody Lefler, D; Kyle Zacharewicz, F

Outlook: Trinity-Pawling returns seven players who managed at least 10 points, including Zuccarini, a junior, who finished with 5-13-18 totals. That depth is a big reason for optimism, as is overall team experience.


Coach: Tim Joncas

League: Founders League

2011-12 result: 14-10-3

Players to watch: David Hallisey, F; Sean Orlando, F; Ryan Mowery, F; Tristan Rai, F; Vincent Gisonti, F; Anthony Di Placido, F; Danny Snyder, D; Erik Rost, D; Xavier Morin, D, Zac Hamilton, G

Outlook: Lots of experience back from a good Westy team that reached the Martin/Earl quarterfinals, losing to eventual champion Berkshire. Newcomers to watch include forward Ethan Holdaway and defensemen Aidan Keohane and Frankie Sullivan.

The Martlets have played in New England tournaments in each of the past three years.

“Outlook’s positive,” said Joncas. “We have a good group of returning guys who have been in the league at least two years and know what to expect.”

This article originally appeared in the December 2012 issue of New England Hockey Journal.