BOYS HOCKEY PREVIEW CAPSULES
COACH: Brian Kunzmann (7th season)
2003-04 RECORD: 10-12 (FCIAC semifinals)
KEY PLAYER LOSSES: D Chris Flood, F Patrick Prior, F Scott Bendix, F Jason Meehan, F Nick Roy, F Charlie Barr, F John McCarthy (transferred to Northwood), G Josh Rosenholtz (transferred to Proctor).
KEY RETURNEES/NEWCOMERS: G Tyler Scott (transfer from Maryland), G Rhys Bambrick (transfer from Canada), D Ryan Flanagan, F Billy Sabia, F Gary Garofalo (transfer from New Jersey), F Scott Baird, D Jordan Weil, F David Walters, F Robert Keller, F Dan Larson, D Alex Durling, D Paul Cerone, F Bryan Craig, F Steve Craig.
KEYS TO THE SEASON: The Tigers have lost a considerable amount of talent through both graduation and prep school transfers, yet will still field an experienced and solid team. The seniors Weil, Durling and Steve Craig head the group, while a large junior class, led by the all-area pick Sabia, will be counted on by Kunzmann for added leadership and contributions. Garofalo should help make up for much of the offense that has been lost. Though both goalies are new, both come from strong hockey backgrounds and are sure to be key elements as Ridgefield embarks on a rugged FCIAC and non-conference schedule. "Working hard and playing smart will be hugely important to this Ridgefield team," said Kunzmann, whose 2003-04 club overcame a season-long bout with injuries to reach the FCIAC semifinals and nearly upset Stamford in the semis.
COACH: Mike Bonelli (3rd season)
2003-04 RECORD: 10-10
KEY PLAYER LOSSES: F Mike Leone, D Chris Dunderdale, Brendan Stroh, G Mitch Whelan.
KEY RETURNEES/NEWCOMERS: G Clark Neugold, F Sean Haggerty, F Danny Allen, F/D Steve Murtha, F Tom Burdick, F Colin Neugold, D Mark Quigley, D Ryan Gustavson, Patrick Stroh, Eddie Gaddis, Greg Haliskoe, D Dan Murtha, D Harry Kass (transfer from Newtown), Rich Hess, Jake Knetch, Josh Hecht, Steve Amico, Jared Baker, Joe Keenan, Peter Leone, Matt McNamara, Rob Sutherland, William Nichol.
KEYS TO THE SEASON: Despite having only a handful of seniors a year ago and deploying several freshmen in significant roles, the Mustangs held their own in Division I during 2003-04, with three one-goal losses to Notre Dame-Fairfield ranking chiefly among them. Now Bonelli has nearly his entire team back - a year older and a year stronger - and has added several new faces, including the scholastic-tested Kass. Immaculate has three all-stars to build around in Clark Neugold, Steve Murtha and Haggerty, while Allen, Burdick, Colin Neugold, Quigley, Gustavson and Dan Murtha were all important regulars in 2003-04. In addition to two games vs Notre Dame-Fairfield, the Mustangs are scheduled to face Fairfield Prep (defending Division I champs), New Canaan (DI semifinalists last season), Stamford (FCIAC finalist), Ridgefield, Greenwich and Simsbury.
COACH: Rusty Granacker (3rd season)
2003-04 RECORD: 15-8 (SWC Division II regular-season champs, SWC playoff finals)
KEY PLAYER LOSSES: F Jayce Correia, D Kevin Spaulding, G Mike Glaberman, D Matt Massimo, G Tony Edelmann, D John O'Donovan, F Todd Stites, F Doug Freitag, F Dan Sherman (transfer to Gunnery)
KEY RETURNEES/NEWCOMERS: F Mark Chechoksy, F C.J. Hessenius, F Dan Campbell, D Will Smith, D Bob Gabriel, F Chris Morrison, F David Holmes, D Bill Cahill, D Joseph McCarthy, F Greg Beck, D Chris Foster, D Sam Young, G Mike Sullinger, F Justin Holmes, F Mike Walsh.
KEYS TO THE SEASON: The Cats will have three huge holes to fill this winter with the loss of all-area picks Correia (42 goals last season, 110 career points), Glaberman and Spaulding. But Granacker's team started well during the pre-season, winning the Danbury Ice Arena jamboree vs. Barlow, Newtown and New Fairfield, and hopes to keep that momentum going when it plays for real on Wednesday vs. Housatonic Valley. Campbell, who has overcome broken collarbones in successive season, Chechosky, Hessenius and Morrison will attempt to carry the workload on offense. Smith and Gabriel figure to be the workhorses on defense. The freshman goaltender Sullinger will step in to replace the standout tandem of Glaberman and Edelmann.
COACH: Jeff Blanch (3rd season)
2003-04 RECORD: 1-18-1
KEY PLAYERS LOSSES: D Elliott Palermo, F Jason Roberts, F Tyler Petrucci, F Marc Mayer.
KEY RETURNEES/NEWCOMERS: Senior F and captain Frank Garigliano, Senior D and captain Scott Heller, Junior F and assistant captain Sean Delaney, Jr D T.J. Dugan, Jr G Anthony Tenore, Fr F Brian Kriedberg, Soph D Tim Hirst, Soph G Drew Smithers.
KEYS TO THE SEASON: The combination of injuries - Barlow lost its entire second line to injuries over the last eight games of last season - and inexperience left the Falcons in an uphill battle for much of 2003-04. But Blanch has two solid and veteran forwards in Garigliano and Delaney to spearhead the offense, and can build his defense around the talent and leadership of the senior captain Heller. Overall, Barlow will be looking for its defensive effort to improve and for its returning players to continue to build upon the aspects of the game Blanch has been teaching. The younger players have been working to learn the system and to help provide depth beyond the Falcons' first and second lines.
COACH: Bob Stearns (3rd season)
2003-04 RECORD: 11-11 (SWC semifinals, first-ever state tournament berth)
KEY PLAYER LOSSES: F Irat Feiskhanov, D A.J. Galante, C Rob DeSimone, D Brian Kahn, G Monica Martirano.
KEY RETURNEES/NEWCOMERS: G Sean Doyle, G Paul Gouveia, C Jeff Hopkins, F Rockie Welp, F Tom Fabiani, D Ryan Wekerle, F David Kahn, F Chris Turchiano, F Tim Monaco, F Vin Schoepfer, D Jack Ransom, D Joe Galasso, F Travis Nichols, F Mike Hopkins, F Ryan Doyle, D Mike Schall, F Sean Macey.
KEYS TO THE SEASON: The Rebels enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2003-04, reaching the SWC semifinals and nearly upsetting state finalist Hand in the first round of the Division II tournament. Now Stearns and assistant coach Jason Salvato would like to build upon that success, despite the loss of the standout winger Feiskhanov and several others. Sean Doyle and Gouveia will provide a strong, experienced tandem in goal, while Hopkins, Wekerle, Ransom and David Kahn are among those who logged regular ice time a year ago. Macey, Mike Hopkins, Ryan Doyle and Schall are the top newcomers to the program. "Goaltending is always the biggest key to a winning season," said Stearns, "and we have two good ones returning. A strong defense and small but quick forwards should give us a good outlook."
COACH: Bob Greco (9th season)
2003-04 RECORD: 4-15-1
KEY PLAYERS LOSSES: D Ed Sturm (playing club at MIT) D Ryan Marcoux, F Albert DiGiacomo, F Brian Parke, F Joe Longobardi, F Cara Cloutier, G Griffin Harris, F Craig Scoville, F Zack Lamb.
KEY RETURNEES/NEWCOMERS: Soph. G Nick Longobardi, Sr. D Tyler Gravely, Soph. D Marshall Gravely, Sr. D and captain Anthony Spallone, Soph. D Sean Lynch, Sr. D Matt Hinz, Jr. F and assistant captain J.M. Brodski, Jr. F and assistant captain Chris Rasor, Sr. F Eric Tougas, Jr. F Ryan Kaiser, Jr. F Kevin Crossen, Sr. F Scott Mix, Jr. F Sean Parke, Fr. G Jonathan Henion, Fr. D David Johnson, Soph. D Hunter McBreairty, Soph. D Colton Rhodes, Soph. F Stephen Kirkwood, Soph. F Shawn Meehan, Soph. F Dan Kehmna.
KEYS TO THE SEASON: New Milford was one of the deeper and more talented Division II teams in the SWC last season, but lost a number of low-scoring, one-goal games and was ultimately edged out of playoff consideration by one point by Newtown. Though the Green Wave have lost nine players from that team, there is plenty of skill returning, and plenty of talent on the way up via the New Milford youth hockey association. Tyler Gravely was a second-team all-state pick a year ago. With the makeup of the upper echelon teams changing this season in the SWC, the Green Wave could make a run for a top spot. "We need to have consistent team play," said Greco, "and need to outshoot opponents. We have a good work ethic but we need to skate three lines and at least three sets of defensemen regularly."
COACH: Dustin Zima (1st season)
2003-04 RECORD: 5-15-1
KEY PLAYER LOSSES: D Harry Kass (transferred to Immaculate)
KEY RETURNEES/NEWCOMERS: Jr. G Pete Oggeri, Jr. G Michael Jurasek, Sr. F Sean LaPorta, Sr. F Blaise LaPorta, Sr. C Corey Regensburger, Soph. F Travis Speer, Sr. F Nick Magoulas, D P.J. Horoszko, Jr F Joe Brewer, Soph F Chris Kraft, Jr Forward Mike Conroy, Jr D Steve Borchetta, Soph D Zach D'Agostino, Sr F Dave Haladjian, Soph D Pat Daly, Steve Pachecko, Blake Bell, Kevin Jurasek, Francis Oggeri, Braden Comlan.
KEYS TO THE SEASON: The return of the LaPorta brothers, Sean and Blaise, will help significantly with Newtown's attempt to build up the talent level in its program. Regensburger is a much-needed piece of the puzzle as well, as are both the goalies Oggeri and Jurasek. Horoszko is new to Newtown this year and will be a strong addition on defense. There are also several other players returning to the Newtown lineup, which should make the coaching transition easier for everyone, though the Nighthawks will miss Kass' leadership, attitude and worth ethic. ``With two skilled goaltenders and two strong lines, we'll be a threat at both ends of the ice," Zima said. "The key to a winning season is always defense first, followed by offense."
Northern Hockey Conference
COACH: Paul Letourneau (7th season)
2003-04 RECORD: 13-8
KEY PLAYER LOSSES: G Steve Greene, F and leading scorer Trevor Doyon, assistant captains Pat Odell and Jamesson Secco, top penalty killer Kris Koczowski, F Mike Leard, D Matt Hrica (transfer to the junior hockey), Jr Kevin Richardson (injured, out for season)
KEY RETURNEES/NEWCOMERS: Jr C Colby Doyon, Sr F John Galinski, Jr F Steve Sannicandro, Jr F Matt Conway, Jr F Parker Goepel, Jr D Colby Chapin, Sr D Kevin Uniacke, Jr D Jeff Moore, Fr D Steve Hrica, Fr G Sam Hylwa.
KEYS TO THE SEASON: Though the Spartans have lost 11 players to graduation, to one junior hockey and one to a season-ending injury, Letourneau remains optimistic. Galinski was one of the team's top point-getters last season, while Conway moves from defense to forward to provide Shepaug with grit in the attacking corners. Goepel returns after missing last season due to an injury and the club is high on the freshman goaltender Hylwa. "This year's team will be fewer in the number of players," said Letourneau, "but big in commitment. We are energized from the team's leadership and are working to position ourselves for another successful season. Our plans are to retain the Berkshire Cup (the annual competition with Housatonic Valley High) and qualify for state playoffs for the seventh year."
COACH: Vin Vicenzi (1st season)
2003-04 RECORD: 9-10-2 (1st round of state tournament)
KEY LOSSES: Richie Piepho (Purdue), Mike Padula (Kent School), Dan Byrnes ( Keene St.)
KEY RETURNEES/NEWCOMERS: Sr G Eric Tietz, Sr G Tom Blauvelt, Sr F Pat Whelan, Sr D and captain Chris Giroux, Jr D Andrew Sirois, Jr F Matt Riedl, Sr F Seth Burger, Jr F Jameson Irvine, Jr F Todd Piepho, Soph F Jimmy O'Brien, Jr F Devin Logan, Jr D Bryan Marcinek, Jr. D Rob Rubino, Soph F Chad Boullier, Soph D Drew Kuchta, Soph F C.J. Saraceno, Soph F Charlie Benson.
KEYS TO SEASON: ``We look to very competitive and be in every game due to the defensive corps and goaltending tandem that we have returning,'' said Vicenzi. The former Watertown/Pomperaug players Whelan and Burger return this season after a year away from the team (injury and midgets, respectively) and will add speed and size to the forward lines. Vicenzi, who takes over this season from six-year veteran Peter Montesano, feels that solid defensive-zone play, strong goaltending and timely scoring against the more formidable opponents will put the Indians back into the state tournament.