The Staples-Weston boys co-op hockey team hopes to start the season right where it left off. Last year, the Wreckers finished with a 14-10 record and advanced to the Division III finals, which ended in a 3-2 overtime loss to St. Joseph.

Staples will be led by head coach Ralph Unker, assistant coach Dale Wehmhoff, captains Clay Englehart, Tali Laifer and Danny Carbone, and alternate captains Mike Zaken and Kyle Wehmhoff.

One obstacle the Wreckers need to overcome is the loss of 10 seniors from last year. Among them, captains Jason Shapiro, Adam Liu, Ike Chepolis and alternate, Greg Keiser.

"This does affect the team. There's a shorter bench and less defensemen, but it shouldn't stop us from performing the best we can," said Laifer.

Zaken added, "Very little from last year applies to this year and this is, thus, an opportunity to redefine Staples Wreckers Hockey. A sort of out with the old, in with the new."

Of last year's seniors, Will Baker and Chepolis are playing for a club team at University of Vermont. Liu is playing JV at Middlebury College.

This year's team consists of 12 returning players and five freshmen, all who are looking forward to the season.

"Our goal is to win at least eight games and qualify for the State Tournament," said Unker.

The team also hopes to win against its rivals, Darien and St. Joseph. "Darien and St. Joe's are going to have solid teams this year just like in years past. Despite our young team, we must have some of the best goalies in FCIAC, so provided they keep the puck out of the net, and we score a few goals, we should be fine," said Zaken.

Englehart, junior Luke Andriuk, and sophomore Alex Skinner will rotate playing goalie for the Wreckers. This year the three goalies will also play defense when they are not in goal.

Unker predicts key players will include Carbone, who will head the defense along with senior Ben Brancucci, and freshman Liam O'Leary. The team is also depending on Zaken, junior Jack Rosenberg, sophomores Aaron Liu and Kyle Wehmhoff, and freshman Sam Brancucci, as the forwards.

The five freshman players have been working hard. "Liam O'Leary and Sam Brancucci are going to be key players, and will see a lot of varsity action," said Unker. He also added that Zach Speed is, "working hard, and getting closer everyday." Dylan Klein is also making improvements, and Wyatt Fern is nursing a back injury at the moment.

"We're really going to count on everyone this year to make us more successful," said Unker.

Zaken said, "So far, the team is working harder now than in any prior year."