December 6, 2011

From NEHJ: Division 2 prep school capsule previews

By Justin Churchill

Berwick Academy
Coach: Andy Lathrop
2010-11 record: 9-11-2
Strengths: The Bulldogs lost only seven seniors from last season’s team and return Luke Bennett (Rochester, N.H).
Weaknesses: The team often struggled to score last season, and it also lost the services of goaltender Alex Devine.
Player to watch: Bennett (10-15-25, jr., F)

Brewster Academy
Coach: T.J. Palmer
2010-11 record: 6-18-0
Strengths: Brewster has a good group of older players on the team. Senior forward Ryan Eardley should help the team earn a few more wins this season.
Weaknesses: The team needs a few players to step up and score some goals this season. Last season, the team got shut out on a few occasions.
Player to watch: Eardley (sr., F)

Brooks School
Coach: Dave Ries
2010-11 record: 11-9-3
Strengths: The team returns its two top point scorers in Nick Potter (Stoneham, Mass.) and Brendon McDonough (Burlington, Mass.), who each had 36 points last season. Top defensemen Mitch Nylan also returns.
Weaknesses: Losing top goaltender Tyler Stillings will hurt defensively.
Players to watch: Potter (16-20-36, sr., F); McDonough (16-20-36, sr., F); Nylan (2-11-13, jr., D)

Brunswick School
Coach: Ron Van Belle
2010-11 record: 18-7-1
Strengths: Luke Esposito (Greenwich, Conn.) returns to a strong Brunswick squad, Esposito had a strong season last year (12-22-34), and the senior should end up playing Division 1 next season. Junior goaltender Gryphon Richardson (Stamford, Conn.) is one of the league’s top goaltenders.
Weaknesses: Tommy Dwyer graduated and is now playing at Holy Cross. Dwyer was a mainstay on the Brunswick team, which over the past four years has transitioned to being a strong program.
Players to watch: Esposito (sr., F); Richardson (.904 save pct., jr., G)

Dexter School
Coach: Dan Donato (Dedham, Mass.)
2010-11 record: 22-4-3
Strengths: Trevor and Mark Fidler have to be the team’s biggest assets. The team will need to rely on the pair.
Weaknesses: Donato will be hurt by the loss of Nick Bligh (Milton, Mass.). The senior forward had quite an amazing season, amassing 60 points and leading his team to a small school championship. Dexter lost a lot of seniors to graduation.
Players to watch: Trevor Fidler (jr., F, Watertown, Mass.); Mark Fidler (sr., F, Watertown, Mass.)

Groton School
Coach: Bill Riley (Chelmsford, Mass.)
2010-11 record: 17-6-1
Strengths: The offense will be led by returning leading scorer Mike Doherty (Reading, Mass.). Doherty is a Yale commit and had an impressive season (28-26-43) last year. The team will look to improve on a solid 2010-11 season, when it lost to The Gunnery in the small school tournament.
Weaknesses: The team lost seven seniors from last season’s squad and seems to be young with only four seniors on the team this season.
Players to watch: Doherty (sr., F); Luke Turchetta (7-13-20, sr., D, Harvard, Mass.); Jordan Piccolino (.909 save pct., jr., G)

Hebron Academy
Coach: James LeBlanc
2010-11 record: 20-12-2
Strengths: Shane Hearn (Auburn, Maine) was third in scoring last season with 41 points. Hearn will be captain for Hebron this season and will be honing his skills before he plays at Army next season.
Weaknesses: The team lost three of its four top scorers from last season. The team will have to work hard to earn another small school tournament berth.
Players to watch: Hearn (15-26-41, sr., F); Andrew Graham (17-22-39, sr., F)

Hoosac School
Coach: Gary Rabinowitz
2010-11 record: 10-13-0
Strengths: The team’s top returning scorer is William Flynn, who likely will feature on the top line this season and should improve his numbers.
Weaknesses: Hoosac lost a lot of players to graduation, so it hurts to lose some experience, especially on their offense.
Player to watch: Flynn (6-5-11, sr., F)

Kents Hill School
Coach: Larry Cockrell
2010-11 record: 9-12-3
Strengths: Defensemen Logan Day was the team’s leading scorer last season with 19 points. The Huskies have a strong defensive core and a trio of decent goaltenders to rotate through this season.
Weaknesses: Kent’s Hill really did not have an offensive identity last season, which contributed to the losing record.
Players to watch: Day (9-10-19, jr., D)

Kingswood-Oxford
Coach: Ben Adams
2010-11 record: 7-15-1
Strengths: The team has a new coach this season in Adams. He will be lucky to have the services of last season’s leading scorer Taylor Waybright (West Hartford, Conn.) and senior defenseman Jake Pavlik (Granby, Conn.).
Weaknesses: The team likely will have to rely on newcomers Adams has brought in, but it is going to be hard for the new coach to get results in his first year with the team.
Players to watch: Waybright (8-9-17, sr., F); Pavlik (3-2-5, sr., D)

Middlesex School
Coach: Joe Mallen
2010-11 record: 12-12-1
Strengths: This is a young team with potential to improve this season. The team’s top three scorers return as juniors this season and much of the defense is intact.
Weaknesses: The team did lose goaltender Zach Arnold to graduation, and that will hurt as he posted a .921 save percentage last season.
Players to watch: Chris Jellison (11-18-29, jr, F, Fitchburg, Mass.); Carl Heslter (12-16-28, jr., F, Boxboro, Mass.)

New Hampton School
Coach: Matt Wright (Belmont, Mass.)
2010-11 record: 24-11-2
Strengths: The Huskies are coming off a good season in which they made the final of the small school tournament, losing to Dexter, 8-1. Griffin Vololato (Smithfield, R.I.) should lead the New Hampton offense, while defenseman Malcom Hayes returns from a promising freshman season.
Weaknesses: There is not a lot of experience in net for the Huskies this season, as the team lost two senior goaltenders. Sophomore Cole Franklin will take the helm in goal, but the young player does not have a lot of game experience at this level.
Players to watch: Vololato (14-33-47, sr., F); Hayes (1-3-4, soph., D)

North Yarmouth Academy
Coach: Brett Barrett
2010-11 record: 6-15-3
Strengths: Barrett is now the new coach at North Yarmouth. He takes over a team full of young players so there is a lot of room for growth in the future. Forward Jake Landry (Lewiston, Maine) led the team in scoring last season with 11 points.
Weaknesses: It is pretty clear that North Yarmouth needs to figure out how to score this season — that should be priority No. 1 for Barrett.
Player to watch: Landry (7-4-11, sr., F)

Pingree School
Coach: Buddy Taft
2010-11 record: 8-18-2
Strengths: Nate Soter (Danvers, Mass.) returns to led the offense, while the top defensive player is Johnathan Ahern (Melrose, Mass.).
Weaknesses: Defense and goaltending on the team were fairly weak last season. If Taft wants to have a winning season, that will need to change.
Players to watch: Soter (9-9-18, sr., F); Ahern (4-9-13, sr., D)

Portsmouth Abbey
Coach: Kevin Morrissey (Cumberland, R.I.)
2010-11 record: 8-12-3
Strengths: Morrissey has three experienced goaltenders spearheaded by Peter Tolles, who should improve on his .890 save percentage last season.
Weaknesses: Very small amount of returning forwards and defensemen. Morrissey should have a lot of newcomers this season.
Player to watch: Tolles (sr., G)

Proctor Academy
Coach: Mike Walsh
2010-11 record: 8-16-2
Strengths: Ryan Kangas (Williamstown, Mass.) enters his final season under Walsh. The forward led his team in scoring with 37 points last season.
Weaknesses: The team has a young defensive core, so it will need to earn game experience early this season.
Player to watch: Kangas (17-20-37, sr., F)

Rivers School
Coach: Shawn McEachern (Waltham, Mass.)
2010-11 record: 12-15-1
Strengths: Sophomore goalie Ryan Colena (Natick, Mass.) is a real bright spot on this team. Look for him to get most of the starts in net this season.
Weaknesses: Rivers will miss Connor Dempsey, who was a step above the rest of his team last season.
Players to watch: Ryan Colena (.906 save pct., soph., G)

Roxbury Latin School
Coach: Mo Randall
2010-11 record: 2-19-0
Strengths: Michael Shepard is the best returning player on Roxbury. This team does have a lot of returners so chemistry will help, but only so much.
Weaknesses: There are a lot of weaknesses on this team, but the biggest would have to be scoring.
Player to watch: Shepard (5-7-12)

St. George’s School
Coach: Ryan Mulhern
2010-11 record: 3-17-1
Strengths: Jimmy Ferretii returns as St. George’s leading scorer. Last season, he recorded 17 points, including 14 goals. Nick Pezza (Greenville, R.I.) also will add some points for the Dragons.
Weaknesses: St. George’s had a hard time staying in games early last season. It is key for a team with a little less talent to keep it close against tough opposition.
Players to watch: Ferretii (14-3-17, sr., F); Pezza (6-9-15, jr., F)

St. Mark’s School
Coach: Scott Young (Clinton, Mass.)
2010-11 record: 14-13-0
Strengths: Mike Pontarelli had an amazing sophomore season last season, scoring 38 goals and recording 51 points. He will be key for St. Mark’s success, which will depend on its offense.
Weaknesses: The team lost two senior goaltenders and has a small returning defensive core.
Players to watch: Hassani Johnson (38-13-51, sr., F); Pontarelli (9-17-26, jr., F)

South Kent School
Coach: Eric Soltys
2010-11 record: 21-9-1
Strengths: South Kent returns junior defenseman Anthony Florentino (West Roxbury, Mass.), who stepped up and played well last season as a sophomore for the Cardinals.
Weaknesses: South Kent played very well at the beginning and end of last season, but there was a lapse in the middle that hurt the team in the long run.
Player to watch: Florentino (5-10-15, jr., D)

Vermont Academy
Coach: Joe Gaudet (Hanover, N.H.)
2010-11 record: 6-20-2
Strengths: Brendon Leeming (Hanover, N.H.) earned a lot of experience in net last season for the Wildcats.
Weaknesses: Vermont Academy lost a large piece of its team from last season; given its record last season, that could make things even worse.
Player to watch: Leeming (.894 save pct., sr., G)

Worcester Academy
Coach: Kevin Magnani
Record: 5-18-2
Strengths: Defenseman Jimmy Atchue (Grafton, Mass.) is one of Worcester’s top returning players.
Weaknesses: The team had some pretty dismal goaltending last season and returns just one goalie this season.
Player to watch: Atchue (1-5-6, sr., D)

Capsules originally appeared in the December 2011 issue of New England Hockey Journal. Justin Churchill can be reached at feedback@hockeyjournal.com.