December 18, 2012

2012-13 Prep School Preview: NEPSHC, Independent

By Mike Zhe & Shawn Hutcheon

NEHJ tells you what to watch for and what to expect from each and every independent, NEPSHC East and NEPSHC West prep team this season.


Brendan McGovern (left) lifted Berkshire in OT of the large-school title game last season. (Photo by Dave Arnold/New England Hockey Journal)

Cushing Academy

Coach: Rob Gagnon

League: NEPSHC East

2011-12 result: 18-10-3, lost to Salisbury in Stuart/Corkery tournament quarterfinals

Players to watch: Thomas Aldworth, F; Matt Hoover, F; Cam Askew, F 

Outlook: A nice stable of returning talent up front including Aldworth, who’s headed to Providence College, got even nicer with the addition of super-talented freshman Cam Askew (Northeastern), who played for St. Sebastian’s last year. Very possibly an Elite 8 team.

Holderness School

Coach: Allie Skelley

League: NEPSHC East

2011-12 result: 22-9-2, lost to Kimball Union in Piatelli/Simmons tournament championship

Players to watch: Terrance Amorosa, D; Phil Johansson, D

Outlook: The big loss for Holderness was defenseman Gavin Bayreuther to Cedar Rapids of the USHL, but the team also graduated a good crop of forwards. Could be a rebuilding season in Grafton County.

Kimball Union

Coach: Mike Levine

League: NEPSHC East

2011-12 result: 27-4-4, won Piatelli/Simmons tournament

Players to watch: Doyle Somerby, D; Casey Miller, F; Niko Rufo, F; Nick Roberto, F; Alex Carle, D; Connor Evangelista, D; Ryan Lund, G; Eric Bogart, G 

Outlook: KUA graduated seven quality players off last year’s standout squad, but between who’s back and some impact newcomers, there shouldn’t be a dropoff.

Four players are committed to Hockey East schools — Rufo (Providence), Roberto (Maine), Miller (UMass) and Somerby (BU). Mix in BC commit J.D. Dudek and Penn State commit A.J. Greer and this is a formidable looking team.

Northfield-Mount Hermon

Coach: Tom Pratt

League: NEPSHC East

2011-12 result: 12-13-4

Players to watch: Ben Csiernik, G; Corey Moriarty, D; Carlos Fornaris, F; Conor O’Brien, G; Ben Freeman, F

Outlook: Good players at all positions for NHM, even with an abundance of youth. O’Brien and Freeman are both sophomores. One question: “Do we have enough depth to run through the season?” asked Pratt.

Phillips Exeter

Coach: Dana Barbin

League: NEPSHC East

2011-12 result: 23-3-5, lost to Nobles in Stuart/Corkery tournament semifinals

Players to watch: Mac Flaherty, D; Chris Keating, D; John Cross, F; Cody Rorick, F; Colby Cretella, C; Jake Lessick, F, Pat Lackey, C; Pat Quinn, F

Outlook: Hard to picture the Big Red not taking a step back this year after graduating 13 players, four of whom — Brian Hart, Matt Beattie, Will Goss and Michael St. Denis — are now playing Division 1 college hockey.

Flaherty and Keating give them a top defensive pairing, and newcomer Cretella — the Connecticut Player of the Year last year at Notre Dame High School — will add punch to an offense that should also see good things from Cross.

Tabor Academy

Coach: Gerry Dineen

League: NEPSHC East

2011-12 result: 11-12-2

Players to watch: Zach Sabatini, F; Shamus Maloney, F/D; Joe Noonan, G; Nick Holt, D; Trey Palczynski, D; Ryan Barnes, D; Brian Smith, F; Griffin Fadden, F

Outlook: Two players to keep an eye on are proven commodities Sabatini, who’s headed to Sacred Heart, and Maloney, who can play forward or defense. Overall, the team is very young, with lots of new faces.

“We will be the youngest we have been since I have been at Tabor,” said Dineen. “I am excited about our team this year.”

Tilton School

Coach: Pat Norton

League: NEPSHC East

2011-12 result: 13-15-3

Players to watch: Matthew Faye, G; Harry Brockman, F; Andrew Sullivan, F

Outlook: Tilton saw its two-year ownership of the Lakes Region title get taken away by Kimball Union, but it should be solid in net and competitive once again.


Albany Academy

Coach: Eric Cavosie

League: NEPSHC West

2011-12 result: 23-12, lost to Berkshire in Martin/Earl tournament semifinals

Players to watch: Nick Devito, F

Outlook: Big losses to absorb for Albany, including offensive threat Tyler Hines to Union College, several key seniors to graduation and Derek Barach to Salisbury.

After 52 wins the past two seasons combined, Cadets might take a step back this winter.

Berkshire School

Coach: Dan Driscoll

League: NEPSHC West

2011-12 result: 19-8-4, won Martin/Earl tournament championship

Players to watch: Quin Pompi, D; Matt Renzi, F; Charlie Corcoran, F; George Blinick, G; Bryan Gerstenfeld, D; Craig Puffer, F; Cooper Fersen, F; Cam Kaiser, D

Outlook: Bears graduated 11 seniors off a title team and might struggle to repeat last year’s success, which culminated with an overtime game-winner by Brendan McGovern in the large-school championship.

Canterbury School

Coach: Padraic McCarthy

League: NEPSHC West

2011-12 result: 10-17-1

Players to watch: Daniel Fritz, D; Austin Essery, G; Jeff Celniker, F

Outlook: Could be a long year for the Saints, who graduated nine seniors off a team that was competitive against powers Salisbury and Gunnery. Essery might be kept busy this winter.

The Gunnery

Coach: Chris Baudo

League: NEPSHC West

2011-12 result: 21-8-2, lost to Phillips Exeter in Stuart/Corkery tournament quarterfinals

Players to watch: Marc Cibelli, F; Rob Darrar, F; Anthony Bird, F; Brendan Shane, F

Outlook: Good stable of older offensive talent, but defense will need to round into shape if Gunnery is to repeat last year’s achievement.

One of those offensive threats, Shane, has committed to UConn.

Pomfret School

Coach: Bruce Wolanin

League: NEPSHC West

2011-12 result: 3-20-3

Players to watch: Colin Cahill, D; Dominic Franco, F; Patrick Houghton, F/D

Outlook: Say this for Pomfret — it doesn’t shy away from the tough schedule. It seemed to do a better job down the stretch last year of keeping the puck out of its own net, and will try to build on that.

Millbrook School

Coach: Vincent Sorriento

League: NEPSHC West

2011-12 result: 13-14-5

Players to watch: Bradley Buvinow, F; Sean Fleisher, D; Anthony Kuhnreich, G; Joseph Menniti, D; Ryan Harper; Anthony Wallace, D; Evan Williams, D

Outlook: Lots back on the blueline for Millbrook, which also has a veteran goalie in Kuhnreich. Biggest losses were felt up front.


Coach: Derek Cunha

League: NEPSHC West

2011-12 result: 10-14-2

Players to watch: Thomas Walsh, D; Seth Cupak, D; Griffin Foley

Outlook: New looks for Williston, which graduated most of its top scorers and lost junior Ross Olsson to the USHL.

Better signs in terms of experience on defense, but goaltending will need to improve.

Winchendon School

Coach: Jarrett Sampson

League: NEPSHC West

2011-12 result: 15-12-1, lost to Dexer in Piatelli/Simmons quarterfinals

Players to watch: Colin Clapton, F; Nick Foland, D; Nicolas Potvin, F

Outlook: Winchendon should be competitive, but probably not deep enough to stun any of the powers on its schedule.

Clapton had a pair of goals in a season-opening scrimmage against the Springfield Pics.


Veteran goalie Ross Bendetson offers hope for Phillips Andover. (Photo by Dave Arnold/New England Hockey Journal)

Berwick Academy

Coach: Andy Lathrop

2011-12 result: 11-9-1

Players to watch: Lucas Michaud, F; Liam Darcy, D; James Winkler, F

Outlook: The Bulldogs were nudged out of the last Piatelli/Simmons tournament berth after an overtime loss to
Cushing Academy on final day of the season. The UNH-bound Darcy is one player who should help get them in this time.

“We’re actually returning pretty much everything,” said Lathrop. “(We graduated) three senior forwards, but we were kind of deep last year anyway. We had some good younger kids that weren’t getting in the lineup.”

Brewster Academy

Coach: T.J. Palmer

2011-12 result: 13-11-3

Players to watch: Jeremy Carignan, F; Matt Gilray, D

Outlook: Lot of new, experienced faces joining Gilray on defense. Goaltending will be in the hands of Ryan Garnsey and Bailey MacBurnie.

Dexter School

Coach: Dan Donato

2011-12 result: 18-9-3, lost to Kimball Union in Piatelli/Simmons tourney semis

Players to watch: Trevor Fidler, F; Tim Harrison, F; Charlie Donners, D; Liam Feeney, D; Ryan Donato, F

Outlook: Good recent history for Dexter, which should continue behind a strong defensive corps and the abilities of players like Donato and Harrison up front.

Hebron Academy

Coach: James LeBlanc

2011-12 result: 10-16-3

Players to watch: Mike Kelly, F; Alex Bitsakis, G

Outlook: Kelly (26 points) and Bitsakis are the known quantities, but there are still holes to fill throughout the lineup.

Hoosac School

Coach: Kurt Colling

2011-12 result: 8-13-1

Players to watch: Travis Bobb, F; Tyler Proctor, F; Stephan Mata, D

Outlook: Colling, a former assistant at Castleton State and four-year player at RPI, takes over behind the bench and inherits a young Hoosac team with plenty of room to grow.

Kents Hill

Coach: Larry Cockrell

2011-12 result: 18-11-2, lost to Holderness in Piatelli/Simmons tournament quarterfinals

Players to watch: Mark Dufour, F; Logan Day, D; Jared Cockrell, F; Rikard Keussen, F

Outlook: Dufour (37 points), Day (36 points) and Keussen (33 points) are the top returning guns from a good, explosive team.

New Hampton

Coach: Matt Wright

2011-12 result: 8-23-1

Players to watch: Malcolm Hayes, D; Joe Smith, F; Ben Barton, F

Outlook: Improvement for the team must start with defense, which is the unit that has the most experience returning.

Phillips Andover

Coach: Dean Boylan

2011-12 result: 11-11-4

Players to watch: Eddie Ellis, F; Seamus O’Neill, F; Connor Light, D; Ross Bendetson, G; Conal Lynch, F; Jake Secatore, D

Outlook: Optimism is rampant with a slew of returning players, and it starts with Ellis, a ‘B’-rated player on NHL Central Scouting’s preliminary draft rankings.

Like his team, Bendetson played better from the middle of the season on and he should have a good defense in front of him that includes the 6-foot-5, 205-pound Lynch. Impact new additions are Lynch, out of Boston Latin, and Secatore, who’s doing a PG year after starring at Woburn High School.

Proctor Academy

Coach: Mike Walsh

2011-12 result: 7-20

Players to watch: Connor Simon, F/D; Sam Jaxtimer, D; Merrick Madsen, G

Outlook: Madsen, who’s verbally committed to Harvard, is a big asset in net, after being invited to USA Hockey’s Select 17 National Festival over the summer, as well as its National Goaltending Camp.

Pingree School

Coach: Gino Khachadourian

2011-12 result: 11-18-2

Players to watch: Tripp Franzese, F; Brady Barron, F

Outlook: Khachadourian takes over for Buddy Taft and inherits a team that struggled to produce consistently. Room to grow.

Portsmouth Abbey

Coach: Paul Ranalli

2011-12 result: 2-18

Players to watch: Chris Reynolds, F; Austin Krienz, F; Jack Murphy, D; Josh Vertentes, D

Outlook: Just about everyone’s back for Abbey, which is positioned to make strides behind several returning players. Murphy is a freshman to watch.

Vermont Academy

Coach: Joe Gaudet

2011-12 result: N/A

Players to watch: Cameron Wright, F; Kyle Facca, F

Outlook: Some postgraduate additions could help a youthful Vermont team, which got 25 points from Wright as a freshman.

Worcester Academy

Coach: Kevin Magnani

2011-12 result: 11-15-1

Players to watch: Connor Carew, G; Joe Caico, F; Matthew Zornic, D

Outlook: Worcester trots out a young edition with some promise, with Caico, Zornic and Carew all expected to handle big roles this winter.

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