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Upper Valley 2017-18 High School Hockey Preview

  • Hanover’s Cate Wagner looks for an opportunity to pass the puck as Lebanon’s Erin White (10, left) and Sage Ballard trail behind her during Lebanon at Hanover girls hockey on Tuesday, February 14, 2017 at Campion Ice Skating Rink in Lebanon, N.H. Hanover won, 11-0. (Valley News - Jovelle Tamayo) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • After scoring his second of three goals, Woodstock High School's Steven Townley, center, (10) celebrates with his team during a game between Woodstock and Hartford on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017, at the Wendell A. Barwood Arena in White River Junction, Vt. Woodstock won, 4-0. (Valley News - Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hartford's Tyler Hamilton. (Valley News - Tris Wykes)

  • Lebanon-Stevens' Nate Chickering. (Valley News - Tris Wykes)

  • Hanover's Bri Laycock. (Valley News - Tris Wykes)

  • Woodstock's Hannah Coates. (Valley News - Tris Wykes(



Valley News Staff Writer
Thursday, December 14, 2017

By Josh Weinreb

Graduations and departures have hit the Upper Valley’s hockey programs particularly hard this winter, with offensive talents such as Lebanon-Stevens’ Nate Gariepy, Hartford’s Ben Rouillard and Woodstock’s Sadie Kuhn all no longer donning high school uniforms. The result has left teams with plenty of holes to fill entering the 2017-18 season.

Woodstock’s boys, however, are the exception. Steven Townley, the team’s top scorer as a sophomore, returned to a young Woodstock squad after playing his junior season at Williston Northampton School in Massachusetts. The Wasps feature 11 freshmen, but Townley’s presence signals something of a rejuvenation for the Woodstock offense. Veteran Cullen McCarthy, freshman Andrew Gubbins and new sophomore goaltender Henry Greene could put the Wasps back into the playoff conversation.

Still, more teams than not are left searching for solutions.

The Lebanon-Stevens boys, under first-year coach Jim Damren, began their season with four goalies on the roster; the Raider girls try to replace three top scorers in another year of low turnout. Hanover’s girls, winners of eight straight NHIAA Division I titles, look to adjust to life without veteran goaltender Cici Barton and a unusually large class of newcomers.

Hartford’s boys are in search of goals after Jordy Allard and Rouillard graduated, and its girls team begins a rebuild under new coach Bill Goldsworthy. Woodstock’s girls will try to find offense in the wake of Kuhn’s departure to the North American Hockey Academy in Stowe, Vt.

It may all depend on how quickly younger, inexperienced players can fill in the gaps.

A look at the teams:

Boys

Hanover

Coach: Dick Dodds (36).

Last Year: 16-7-0 (13-6-0 league), lost to Bishop Guertin in first round.

League: NHIAA Division I.

Returnees: Seniors — David Lehmann (F), Braxton McNulty (D), Harris LaRock (G). Juniors — Charlie Plottner (F), Joseph Goff (F), Duncan Bailey (D), Sam Seelig (D), Elias Zinman (F), Hans Williams (F). Sophomores — Owen Stadheim (F).

Newcomers: Seniors — Peter Warhold (F). Sophomores — Henry Bernard (G), Sylas Oberting (D), Rowan Wilson (F), Tono Correa (F), Cameron Woods (F). Freshmen — Matty Gardner (F).

Analysis: Now-graduated Will Smith, Jon Goff, Pat Logan and Jake Acker combined for 39 of Hanover’s 76 goals last year, leaving the Marauders with plenty of holes on offense. Experienced goaltenders Gabe Loud and Luke Ratliff have also graduated, leaving he door is wide open for senior goalie Harris LaRock to earn starting minutes. David Lehmann (eight goals, 10 assists) and Owen Stadheim (three goals, 12 assists) return. “We are a young team who has already shown tremendous growth in the first two weeks of practice,” veteran coach Dick Dodds said. “The team is engaged, excited and putting terrific effort into our practice sessions.”

Hartford

Coach: Todd Bebeau (20).

Last Year: 16-5-1, lost to North Country in semifinals.

League: VPA Division II.

Returnees: Seniors — Tyler Hamilton (F), Korrigan Allen (F), Adam Parker (F), Andrew Daley (D), Clayton Groenewold (D), Patrick McGlone (D). Juniors — Nick Cameron (F), Jacob Derosier (F), Jonas Spaulding (F), Sam Johnson (D), Billy Mann (G). Sophomores — Kyle Atkinson (F), Kyle Hamilton (F), Kaj Boeri (F), Cody Chapman (D), Charlie Scribner (D).

Newcomers: Sophomores — Matt Roberts (F), Ross McFate (G), Nehemiah Arnold (D). Freshmen — A.J. DeBois (F), Jacob Dwinell (F), Colston Allen (F).

Analysis: Hartford’s early season will feature plenty of growing pains. Gone are top-line scorers Ben Rouillard and Jordy Allard, with a combined 52 goals and 47 assists between them last year, and longtime starting goaltender Richie Morrill. Tyler Hamilton, the Canes’ captain, has returned after recovering from a high ankle sprain suffered during football season. Sophomore goaltender Ross McFate has won the Hurricanes’ starting job out of camp.

Lebanon-Stevens

Coach: Jim Damren (1).

Last Year: 10-11-0 (9-10-0 league), lost to Spaulding in quarterfinals.

League: NHIAA Division II.

Returnees: Seniors — Hunter Boutin (F), Ethan Daly (D), Ian Garland (F), Andrew Friend (G). Juniors — Jared Audette (G), Will Forman (D), Mason Adams (F), Trent Porter (F), Jack Sandmann (F), Joey Dupree (D), Nate Chickering (F), Aaron Damren (D). Sophomores — Jon Cloud (F), Brian Daly (F), Jackson Kapuscinski (G).

Newcomers: Freshmen — Aiden Yates (F), Andrew Duany (F), Jake Kriplin (D), Hunter Tibbits (F), Trey Chickering (D), Hunter Robb (G).

Analysis: Lebanon High grad Jim Damren takes over a co-op program that went 64-98-7 the past eight seasons under former head coach Gary Smith. The Raiders have four goalies on the squad — one in every grade — and will need to get creative if they want to give them all playing time. Forwards Nate Chickering (18 goals, 19 assists) and Ian Garland (21 goals, six assists) and defenseman Aaron Damren (2 goals, 12 assists) are all expected to log big minutes this season.

Woodstock

Coach: Jon Chamberlain (3).

Last Year: 4-16-1 playing in VPA Division I; lost to Middlebury in first round.

League: VPA Division II.

Returnees: Seniors — Steven Townley (F), Josh Kennedy (F), Cullen McCarthy (F). Juniors — Ely Chynoweth (D). Sophomores — Henry Greene (G), Michael Cimis (F), Max Dobson (F), Nathaniel Kennedy (F), Lucas Piconi (F), Trevor White (F), Silas Bohen (F).

Newcomers: Freshmen — Field Willis (F), Tristan Black (D), Andrew Gubbins (F), Dylan DesChamp (F), Chase Christianson (F), Charles Greene (D), Tom Bissaillon (F), Gavin Huppe (F), Riley Shephard (F), Owen Coates (F), Mason Harkins (D), Danny Drebber (G), Ethan Mello (G).

Analysis: The last time Steven Townley wore Woodstock green, the Wasps finished their regular season as the top seed in VPA Division II at 17-1-1 and Townley, the lanky center, led the way with 24 goals. He played his junior season as Williston Northampton, and the Wasps took a few steps back as a one-year D-I member. But Townley’s return to the Wasps — not to mention the program’s return to D-II — puts Woodstock back on the map, with senior Cullen McCarthy and freshman Andrew Gubbins on his wings. Woodstock features 13 freshmen and a sophomore starting goaltender (Henry Greene), but Townley’s presence should give the Wasps plenty of chances to win.

Girls

Hanover

Coach: John Dodds (13).

Last Year: 19-2-1, won eighth straight championship, ninth in 10 years of NHIAA sanctioning.

League: NHIAA Division I.

Returnees: Seniors — Hannah Curtis (F), Cate Wagner (F), Briland Laycock (F). Juniors — Cara Boland (D), Margaret Lee (F), Emma Tysinger (D), Bryn Kable (D), Claire Yegian (G). Sophomores — Meredith Morhun (F).

Newcomers: Juniors — Aiden Stone (G), Rose Donaldson (D). Sophomore — Pepper Joseph (F), Kelly Citera (F), Macy Curtis (F), Christina Chow (F), Molly French (D). Freshmen — Sage McGinley-Smith (F), Rebekah Rudd (G), Natalie Morhun (F), Sophia Brackett (F).

Analysis: Hanover, New Hampshire’s girls hockey dynasty, is entering a period of uncharted territory. Cici Barton, Hanover’s goaltender for the past two season, has left for prep school, leaving the Marauders with three inexperienced goalies that head coach John Dodds said will all be part of a goaltending-by-committee rotation. It will also, he said, change Hanover’s offensive mindset to a more defensively focused structure. Briland Laycock (37 goals, 22 assists), Cate Wagner (13 goals, 32 assists) and Hannah Curtis (12 goals, 18 assists) should pick up most of the offensive workload. The Marauders also feature 11 newcomers and 20 players on the roster, the biggest in Dodds’ tenure.

Hartford

Coach: Bill Goldsworthy (1).

Last Year: 5-13-4, lost to Rice in the quarterfinals.

League: VPA Division II.

Returnees: Seniors — Morgan Pero (F), Morgan Fisk (D), Emily Ballou (F), Lauren Miller (D), Hannah Cooney (F), Hannah Ballou (F). Juniors — Caitlin Gaudet (F), Jasmine Wilson (D). Sophomores — Jacqueline Gour (G), Greer McCarty (F), Cayden Shaw (F/D), Kendyl Boisvert (F), Ceci Spaulding (D), Georgia Flynn (F/D).

Newcomers: Sophomores — Anna Coutermarsh (F). Freshmen — Cassidy Beisler (F), Ryelee Potwin (F), Nevaeh Murphy (F), Brooke Shambo (D), Alexandra Gray (F), Zoey Pfeiffer (G).

Analysis: First-year coach Bill Goldsworthy, admittedly a defensive-minded coach, is excited about the defensive corps of Morgan Fisk, Lauren Miller, Jasmine Wilson and Ceci Spaulding in front of inexperienced goaltenders Jacqueline Gour and Zoey Pfeiffer. Hartford scored only 31 goals in 22 games last winter but gets Kendyl Boisvert (seven goals, three assists) and Emily Ballou (five goals, five assists) back for another season. But most of all, Goldsworthy is excited about how quickly his group has implemented his new systems and taken to his coaching style, the first step in any rebuild.

Lebanon-Stevens

Coach: Brad Shaw (9).

Last Year: 8-11-0, lost to Exeter in quarterfinals.

League: NHIAA Division I.

Returnees: Seniors — Halle Drew (G), Elizabeth Jones (F), Julia Tibbits (F), Erin White (F). Juniors — Adrieanna Maccioli (G). Sophomores — Celia Barnett (D), Ella Lindsay (F), Mackayla O’Meara (D), Kayleigh Trietsch (F).

Newcomers: Sophomores — Kaitlyn Veracka (F). Freshmen — Lily Barber (F), Makayla Maccioli (F), Lena Nowell (F).

Analysis: Low numbers are still the main story on a Lebanon-Stevens co-op girls hockey team that features 11 skaters and two goaltenders. But this season, head coach Brad Shaw also will be looking to replace much of last year’s offensive punch after losing Grace Lindsay (31 goals, 16 assists), Isabella Harriman (14 goals, 17 assists) and Sage Ballard (10 goals, nine assists) to graduation. Senior Julie Barber, now in a wheelchair after being diagnosed with cancer last winter, remains on the Lebanon roster; her father, Tom, joins as an assistant coach, having coached at the youth level for years.

Woodstock

Coach: Ian Coates (5).

Last Year: 15-6-1, lost to Missisquoi in quarterfinals.

League: VPA Division II.

Returnees: Seniors — Lauren Forgione (F). Juniors — Anna Hepler (F), Addie Gray (F), Liz Currier (D), Hannah Coates (F), Khara Brettell (D), Sidney Pilot (F), Bridgit Black (G). Sophomores — Sophia Kantola (D), Mackenzie Yates (D), Sami Yates (F), Bitty Alexander (F), Rory Livingston (D), Audrey Eggum (F), Lizzy Peck (F).

Newcomers: Freshmen — Ava Dodson (F), Eliza Dodson (D), Faye Stevens (F), Emily Dean (F), Paige Surrell (F), Eleanore Stedina (G).

Analysis: Sadie Kuhn, Woodstock’s top goal scorer for the past two seasons, is now in Stowe playing at the North American Hockey Academy, leaving fifth-year head coach Ian Coates with the early-season challenge of trying to replace Kuhn’s 21 goals from a year ago. The Wasps have certainly put themselves back on the map, finishing well above .500 last year with a dynamic offense. Hannah Coates, a junior this season, scored nine goals last year; Lizzy Peck, a sophomore, scored six.

Keep An Eye on ...

​​​​​​Steven Townley, Woodstock

The guy is a pure scorer against varsity talent, and now he’s even more dangerous with a year of prep school competition under his belt. Woodstock’s squad is largely is young and inexperienced. But Townley gives them a chance to win.

Tyler Hamilton, Hartford

A lot will depend on how quickly Hamilton can get back into game shape following a high right ankle sprain he suffered during football season. But the athletic center is a true leader and Hartford’s best returning player following the departure of snipers Ben Roulliard and Jordy Allard.

Nate Chickering, Lebanon-Stevens

Chickering put together 18 goals and 19 assists last season on a Raider team that featured three different Nates, Damren and Gariepy being the others. Chickering is the lone Nate remaining and will see plenty of offensive ice time under first-year coach Jim Damren.

Briland Laycock, Hanover

Laycock had a hand in 59 of Hanover’s 160 goals last season, scoring in all but two the team’s 19 regular season games. She also had six goals and two assists in three playoff games to lead the Marauders to yet another state title.

Hannah Coates, Woodstock

The junior forward is a likely candidate to replace some of the goal-scoring production lost in Sadie Kuhn’s departure. Coates was second on the team with nine goals as a sophomore. She could take the next step on a talented team that should be more offensively balanced.