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Can Marauders Continue Dynastic Ways?

Harwood’s Taylor Yandow (3) gets her legs tangled with Hartford freshman Amanda Nelson during the second period of Wednesday’s 1-1 girls hockey tie at Wendell Barwood Arena. Nelson drew a minor penalty for tripping on the play. (Valley News - Greg Fennell)

Harwood’s Taylor Yandow (3) gets her legs tangled with Hartford freshman Amanda Nelson during the second period of Wednesday’s 1-1 girls hockey tie at Wendell Barwood Arena. Nelson drew a minor penalty for tripping on the play. (Valley News - Greg Fennell)

There is nothing so constant in the world as change … except when it applies to the Hanover High girls hockey program.

The Marauders have won four of the five state championships offered by the NHIAA, a run of success that followed three unofficial state crowns before sanctioning arrived. Hanover wins year in and year out, and with ample support from the youth ranks, appears reloaded for bear again.

Or are they?

NHIAA Division I has added two new teams, one of which — the Catholic school combination of Bishop Brady and Trinity — which may be ready to compete right out of the gate. Lebanon came within a game of unseating its rivals last winter and have the ability to challenge again. The Marauders can also count on tests from several other foes as they try to protect their perch.

Other questions to be answered: Are the Hartford boys capable of rejoining the Vermont D-II playoff fold? Can the Hurricane girls develop some offense? Those and other issues will get their answers now that schools are a week or two into their schedules.

Here’s a look at what the new season offers:

Girls

Hanover

Coach: John Dodds (8).

League: NHIAA Division I.

Last Year: 19-3-0, won third consecutive state championship and fourth in the five years that NHIAA has sponsored the sport.

Returnees: Seniors — Kelly Gaudet (G), Katrina Menard (D). Juniors — Caroline Howell (D), Grace Tecca (F), Emily Acker (F), Sarah Muller (F). Sophomores — Margeaux Baker (D), Emma Malenka (D), Katie Fenton (G), Sarah Wagner (F).

Newcomers: Sophomore — Sarah Polidor (F), Delia Nahabedian (D). Freshmen — Eliza Laycock (F/D), Kelly Brigham (F), Matti Hartman (F), Julie Montgomery (F).

Departed: A whopping 138 points left town with the graduations of linemates Maddie Dewhirst (Colby), Madison Hill and Tessa Hill, all of whom creased the career 100-point mark last winter. The Marauders also graduated Hannah Lyons and Lauren Hoh, while Kate Pattison transferred to Proctor Academy.

Our Man Up: Hoh is the one loss to an otherwise veteran defense that includes two good goaltenders in Gaudet and Fenton and several experienced blueliners.

Our Man Down: “Obviously, we’ve lost a lot of scoring,” Dodds conceded. “We need to retool and figure out the best line combinations.”

Three Stars: 1-2. Senior leaders Gaudet (almost fully recovered from hip surgery) and Menard. 3. Howell. Dodds: “We’re going to need her to be helping on the offense. We have a lot of good defensemen; they’re good a jumping into plays and opening things up.”

Toughest Foes: Lebanon, Bishop Guertin, Berlin-Gorham.

Etc.: NHIAA girls hockey brings in two new members, Con-Val and a combined team from Bishop Brady and Trinity, to bring the league up to 11 teams. It’s the first expansion in the five years since the NHIAA began sponsoring the sport.

Coach’s Final Thoughts: Hanover isn’t skating out as the league’s sole preseason favorite for the first time in a long time, and that’s an exciting prospect for Dodds. “We’ve got a great group of returning players with a lot of experience,” he said. “I think it’s a new crew we have coming in, with some people that can put the puck in the net. It’s just a matter of getting things together and getting systems in place. I think we’ll be competitors through the end.”

Hartford

Coach: Nelson Fogg (19).

League: VPA Division I.

Last Year: 6-15-0, lost to South Burlington in state quarterfinals.

Returnees: Seniors — Elizabeth Bergeron (D), Ossia Dwyer (D), Alexandra Fogg (F), Haley Grigel (D), Allyson Mullen (F), Elizabeth Potter (G). Juniors — Erin Hudson (G), Caroline Miller (F), Jenna Yee (D/F). Sophomores — Elyse Lindahl (F), Courtney Murray (F).

Newcomers: Junior — Paige Larmie (F). Sophomore — Morgan Morrill (D). Freshmen — Julia Anderson (D), Meghan Boardman (F), Heather Dexter (G), Christine Miller (F), Amanda Nelson (D).

Departed: Hartford graduated five — Taylor Steadman, Jennifer Latvis, Jennifer Lyford, Jennifer Mariotti and Bethany Bouthillier. Steadman, lost all of last season to a knee injury after leading the Upper Valley in scoring as a junior, is playing college hockey at Elmira (N.Y.).

Our Man Up: Energy, enthusiasm, desire to skate. “Thus far, the team has committed to skating and getting better every day,” coach Fogg noted.

Our Man Down: The Hurricanes have a core of young players who will need to improve quickly to match the opposition in a tough Division I league. “Many of our players do not have experience at the high school level, combined with simply being young,” Fogg said. “We will need to focus on growth toward the postseason.”

Six Stars: 1-2. Returning goaltenders Potter and Hudson, who give Hartford depth in a league with several standout netminders. 3-4. Grigel and Bergeron are the most experienced of a relatively young group on the blue line. 5-6. Forwards Fogg and Mullen will be expected to play a similar role up front, leading by example.

Toughest Foes: BFA-St. Albans, Essex, Burr & Burton, Missisquoi, Spaulding. BBA moved up to D-I this year after claiming the D-II championship last year.

Etc.: Hartford’s a co-operative team without the co-operative name. Skaters from Thetford Academy (Grigel, Lindahl), Sharon Academy (Potter, Morrill), Rivendell (Dexter) and Oxbow (Boardman) are populating the Hurricanes’ roster this winter.

Coach’s Final Thoughts: Acknowledging that every team wants to get better every day, Fogg believes the wide range from which Hartford has secured skaters is a “great challenge and opportunity with our season,” he said. “I am confident that as we get to know each other better, we will grow on the ice.”

Lebanon

Coach: Brad Shaw (4).

League: NHIAA Division I.

Last Year: 17-2-0, lost to Hanover in state championship game.

Returnees: Seniors — Chrissy Drake (F), Amelia Gage (F). Juniors — Micaela Schones (D), Aubrie Mazurek (D). Sophomores — Emma Forman (F), Natalie Cartier (F), Loren McEwen (F), Samantha Roberts (D), Karli Swenson (F), Sierra Rogers (D), Kyra Taylor (F), Sabrina Huett (F), Erika Moffitt (G).

Newcomers: Sophomores — Emily Courtemanche (G), Mackenzie Knights (F). Freshmen — Lauren Goodell (D), Elle Brine (D).

Departed: The graduating class of four included Lebanon all-time leading scorer Kyra Herbert, fellow forwards Brittany Schones and Molly Whitaker and goaltender Alexandra Astwood.

Our Man Up: Although young, the Raiders possess plenty of experience after challenging Hanover for top-dog status for much of last winter.

Our Man Down: Lebanon took a hit in losing the scoring of Herbert (career: 88-49-137; last year: 26-22-48) as well as the solid two-way play Schones and Whitaker provided.

Three (or More) Stars: 1-2. Drake (21-21-42) and Gage (9-23-32), the Raiders second- and third-leading scorers from last year and two of the Upper Valley’s better forwards. 3-4-5. Schones and Mazurek on defense, along with returning goalie Moffitt.

Toughest Foes: Hanover, Bishop Guertin, Berlin-Gorham, Bishop Brady-Trinity, Oyster River.

Etc.: Drake began the season 13 points shy of joining Herbert, Emilee Martin, Katie Bradford and Haley Dutille in Lebanon’s 100-point club and reached the group in just three games. Gage was 40 points shy of the plateau at the start of the schedule.

Coach’s Final Thoughts: “It’s a much different team, that’s for sure,” Shaw said. “We lost some pretty good leaders, three good forwards from last year. We still do have some punch in our offensive lines. … We’re definitely rebuilding this season, but with that being said, we hope we’re going to be in the mix of things.”

Woodstock

Coach: Jeff Sailer (2).

League: VPA Division II.

Last Year: 1-18-0, missed state tournament.

Returnees: Seniors — Delaney Little (D), Emma Astbury (D), Kelsey Harrington (F), Mikayla Perkins (F), Erin Tortolano (G). Juniors — Taylor Smith (F), Hannah Tobey (F), Kristen Miller (D). Sophomores — Rachel Surrell (F), Sierra Rowe (F), Ashley Sigl (F), Sam van de Ven (F), Logan Smith (D).

Newcomers: None.

Departed: Woodstock graduated seven, including No. 2 scorer Laura Boyd (12 points).

Our Man Up: “The strength of this team (is) a group of girls with a commitment to work together as one, to do their very best to be as competitive as possible as the season goes on,” Sailer said.

Our Man Down: The Wasps’ small numbers and relative inexperience provide a season-long challenge.

Three Stars: 1. Tortolano, who played the majority of Woodstock’s minutes in goals last year. 2. Little, last year’s leading scorer (14 points). 3. Taylor Smith (10 points), a young and improving forward.

Toughest Foes: Stowe, Harwood, Union-32.

Etc.: Defender Logan Smith is a converted figure skater playing her second year of hockey. … The Wasps do catch one break with Burr & Burton, last year’s VPA Division II state champ, moving up to D-I this year.

Coach’s Final Thoughts: “I have high expectations for these 13 girls and their improvement throughout this season,” Sailer said. “It will not be easy for them as a team to play against more-experienced teams with full rosters. … This team has a lot of heart and will give 100 percent in every game.”

Boys

Hanover

Coach: Dick Dodds (31).

League: NHIAA Division I.

Last Year: 10-9-3, lost to Trinity in overtime in state quarterfinals.

Returnees: Seniors — Mike Yukica (D), Joe Cravero (F), Gus White (F), Nick Mullen (D), Nick Bowen (D), James Montgomery (G), Nate Choukas (D). Juniors — Kyle Healey (G), Ben Carson-Turner (F), Sam Carey (F), Shawn Cavallaro (F), Tom Peters (F), Ben Hartman (F). Sophomore — Gavin Ratliff (F).

Newcomers: Juniors — Worthy Gardner (D/F), Jordan Levin (D/F), Andrew Huizenga (F). Sophomores — Jin Kim (D/F), Ben Acker (F), Gus Lyons (F), Kordell Lindsay (F/D), Mike Stinson (G).

Departed: The Marauders lost two key cogs to prep school, Peter Bensen (Phillips Andover) and Ryan Wolter (Deerfield). Bensen was the Upper Valley’s top scorer last year with 42 points. Hanover also graduated its next top three scorers in Christian Wolter, Connor Gordon and Ryan Brigham out of a total class of five.

Our Man Up: Size, strength.

Our Man Down: Hanover will struggle if it doesn’t play with energy and passion.

Three Stars (and more): “(We have) 20 stars,” Dodds said. “We need all 20 every practice and every game to be successful.”

Toughest Foes: Manchester Memorial, Manchester Central, Trinity, St. Thomas.

Etc.: Dodds was inducted into the New Hampshire Legends of Hockey hall of fame in October, having amassed a career record of 430-229-19 with five state championships. His win total is second only to Exeter’s Jim Tufts, who was also in Dodds’ induction class.

Coach’s Final Thoughts: With an experienced roster that came one goal away from a trip to the state semifinals, Dodds is keeping his goals for the season focused on three words: “Improvement every day.”

Hartford

Coach: Todd Bebeau (15).

League: VPA Division II.

Last Year: 6-14-0, missed state tournament.

Returnees: Senior — Josh Harrington (D). Juniors — Mak Lyford (G), Andrew Atkinson (F), Jeffrey Lyford (F), John Borchert (F), Jeremy McGlone (F), John Lewis (F), Riley Horan (F), Nick Terino (F), Brandon Gardner (F), Jed Sass (G).

Newcomers: Freshmen — Gavin Shropshire (F), Brandon Gaudet (D), Brandon Chiasson (D), Zach Caron (F), Will Mayfield (F), Nate Lemieux (D), Ethan Scribner (F), Teaghan Meeker (G).

Departed: Hartford graduated just two players, D Bobby Murray (playing football at Norwich University) and F Patrick Keeley.

Our Man Up: “I think hockey is a priority for this group,” coach Todd Bebeau said. “They dedicated themselves (to) getting stronger and more athletic during the offseason. The core of the team is made up of a large group of juniors who are quite athletic. Most of them have two full seasons of experience with an abundance of playing time.”

Our Man Down: Hartford hasn’t had a winning season in two years, nor have the Hurricanes qualified for the state tournament (a program rule requires the team to win 40 percent of its games). “The No. 1 goal for this group is to obtain both,” Bebeau said.

Three Stars: “I’m hopeful we don’t have to rely on two or three players to lead us every night,” Bebeau said. “We have a balanced group of players who can help us be successful on a regular basis.”

Toughest Foes: Northfield, Union-32, Burr & Burton.

Coach’s Final Thoughts: “We’ve been an irrelevant factor in the overall landscape of Division II hockey the past two seasons,” Bebeau pointed out. “I feel confident that this group has the character, work ethic and ability to turn this program around.”

Kearsarge

Coach: Mark Cashin (3).

League: NHIAA Division III.

Last Year: 1-17-0, missed state tournament.

Returnees: Seniors — Lauren Adie (D), Sam Tucker (D), Sarah Beattie (G). Juniors — Steven Ricker (W), Will AuFranc (F). Sophomores — Ryan Beattie (D), Kelsie Dalton (D), Matt Pickman (C), Taylor Cochran (W), Tristan Rowe (W), Ben Newbern (F), Nate Thompson (G).

Newcomers: Seniors — Allie Folcik (F; transfer from Proctor Academy), Erik Hauck (F). Junior — Colleen Mitchell (G; transfer from Hebron Academy). Sophomore — Delaney Stone (F). Freshman — Elliott Tucker (F).

Departed: All-state goaltender Zach Kershaw fronted a three-player graduating class.

Our Man Up: This year’s sophomores gained significant skating experience as freshmen last year.

Our Man Down: Scoring remains an issue, and the Cougars also seek a strong leader from their senior and junior classes.

Three Stars: 1. Pickman. “He can become a speedy scorer if he can harness his talent,” Cashin said. 2. Ricker, who returns from a team-leading 12-goal season. 3. AuFranc “can score and plays solid two-way hockey,” Cashin said.

Toughest Foes: Kennett, Berlin, Souhegan, Hollis-Brookline.

Etc.: As was the case last year, Kearsarge will gain roster depth with an influx of six girls. “We expect (them) to log significant ice time, and as they adapt to the game, we look to get a significant contribution in all parts of the game,” Cashin said.

Coach’s Final Thoughts: “I think if they get some confidence in each other, we could get into the traveling part of the playoff picture in Division III,” Cashin added. “We need to develop some consistent scoring, and we’re small on defense, so we need our defensemen to move the puck quickly.”

Lebanon

Coach: Gary Smith (4).

League: NHIAA Division II.

Last Year: 9-12-1, lost to Dover in state quarterfinals.

Returnees: Seniors — Michael Servant (W), Ryan White (C), Donncha Coyle (C). Juniors — Joe Grout (G), Dylan Gaudette (D). Sophomores — Tanner Simms (D), Cameron Broughton (C), Riley Sleeper (W), Jackson Whitaker (D), Ryan Dube (G), Ryan Damren (W).

Newcomers: Freshmen — Tate Singleton (C/W), Nick Haidari (W), Noah Gaudette (D), Brendan Kelley (W), Cal Garland (W), Greg Surgenor (D), Nathan Kriplin (D), T.J. Barber (W), Cam Perron (D), Chad Fazio (G).

Departed: The Raiders graduated six players from last year’s team. Three are playing club hockey in college (Josh Huett, Rensselaer; Nick Dube, Vermont; Adam Haidari, Massachusetts). Zach Pollard is on the varsity golf team at Bentley, and Cody Pelletier is expected to play baseball at Colby-Sawyer. Leading scorer Jake Davis (35 points) also departed.

Our Man Up: “Our work ethic is extremely strong,” Smith said, “and the veteran players have adjusted well to their leadership roles.”

Our Man Down: Lebanon, with a roster half-filled with freshmen, will be one of the youngest squads in its league. With that in mind, the Raiders are focusing first on defensive-zone play and breakouts.

Three (or More) Stars: 1. White, a senior forward and captain who will be expected to pick up some of the scoring load lost to graduation. 2. Grout, who inherits goaltending duties from first-team all-stater Dube. Smith: “Joe has tremendous potential and will be responsible for being the strength behind a very young team.” 3-4: Gaudette and Simms, the anchors for Lebanon’s youthful back line.

Toughest Foes: Bedford, Dover, Spaulding.

Coach’s Final Thoughts: “This season will be a rebuilding season for us as we graduated six very talented seniors from a very small roster,” Smith said. “We will be an extremely young team at all three positions. … With such a young roster, our goals are for everyone to learn our systems, get acclimated to the high school level of play and for everyone to develop, grow and improve over the course of the season.”

Woodstock

Coach: Charlie Hancock (5).

League: VPA Division II.

Last Year: 2-18-1, lost to Missisquoi in state tournament first round.

Returnees: Senior — Hunter Schmell (F). Juniors — Ben Orr (D), Nick Donaldson (D), Alastair Bones (D), Conor Joyce (F), Brady Stewart (G). Sophomores — Will Gault (F), Haven Lantz (F), Conner McCarthy (F).

Newcomers: Sophomore — Levi Vigh (D). Freshmen — Braden McCarthy (F), Brian Townley (F).

Departed: Woodstock lost two regulars to graduation, G Conner Blair and F Ian Debevoise.

Our Man Up: Speed, skating.

Our Man Down: With a short roster, the Wasps will need their conditioning and scoring ability to hold up against deeper teams.

Three Stars: “The whole team will need to be bringing their ‘A’ game every time for us to succeed,” Hancock said.

Toughest Foes: Northfield, Burr & Burton.

Coach’s Final Thoughts: “Our goals are to improve on last year with our returning players and the newcomers,” coach Charlie Hancock noted. “We will have to outwork and outskate our opponents every game to have any success with our short bench.”

Greg Fennell can be reached at gfennell@vnews.com or 603-727-3226.