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2018-19 High School Hockey Preview

  • Hanover's Sylas Oberting. (Paul Stinston photograph)

  • Salem High School's Anthony Survilas (20) and Hanover High School's Rowan Wilson (6) stare down the puck before a faceoff on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017, during a boys hockey game between Hanover and Salem at the James W. Campion Rink in West Lebanon, N.H. Hanover won, 6-2. (Valley News - Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Sports Editor
Saturday, December 15, 2018

The Hanover High girls extended their dynasty in 2017-18. The Marauder boys ascended to their summit for the first time in a decade. The Woodstock boys matched their promise with an undefeated run to a state championship. The Woodstock girls came within a game of making a state final of their own.

By all measure, high school hockey in the Upper Valley is in fine shape.

Some things shouldn’t change, although the challenges will. The Marauder girls and Woodstock boys don’t return a bona fide scoring source, so both will have to develop a team approach to offense to maintain their spots atop their respective leagues. Likewise, the Hanover boys will need to continue their emphasis on two-way play to make a repeat possible.

Lebanon and Stevens adds a third school to their co-operatives, and both will have underclassmen getting significant ice time. Hartford’s boys continue to improve, and the Hurricane girls remain a program in rebuild mode.

A look at the teams:

BOYS

HANOVER

Coach: Dick Dodds (37).

Last Year: 21-4-0, won state championship.

League: NHIAA Division I.

Returnees: Seniors — Duncan Bailey (D), Joseph Goff (F), Charlie Plottner (F), Samuel Seelig (D), Hans Williams (F). Juniors — Anthony Correa (F), Patrick Daley (F), Sylas Oberting (D), Rowan Wilson (F), Cameron Woods (F). Sophomore — Matty Gardner (D).

Newcomers: Senior — William Laycock (F). Juniors — Carter Auch (F), Brendan Brigham (F), William Fichman (D). Freshmen — Casey Graham (F), Luke Ives (G), Spencer Lawe (F), Benjamin Plottner (G), Curtis Rice (D).

Analysis: Some teams develop high-end talent, but the Marauders always seem to be in the D-I title conversation because they work so hard and play the two-way game so well. Last year’s Hanover squad averaged more than four goals per game and surrendered more than two goals in a contest just four times. The Marauders will need to develop new scoring sources — David Lehmann (team-best 44 points) graduated, while Owen Stadheim (37 points; St. Paul’s) and Elias Zinman (26 points; Indy Junior Fuel U18 AAA) joined other programs. The defense should be sound, with Sylas Oberting, Samuel Seelig, Duncan Bailey and Matty Gardner returning, and it will need to stay that way as freshmen netminders Luke Ives and Curtis Rice adjust to the speed of high school play.

“Team chemistry is a must,” noted coach Dick Dodds, who won his sixth state crown back in March. “We have many new faces, and it will be crucial to get players comfortable with the team and each other. On the ice, we need to focus on getting better every day.”

HARTFORD

Coach: Todd Bebeau (21).

Last Year: 7-14-1, lost to Lyndon in quarterfinals.

League: VPA Division II.

Returnees: Seniors — Jonas Spaulding (F), Jacob Derosier (D), Sam Johnson (D), Nick Camerson (F), Billy Mann (G). Juniors — Ross McFate (G), Nehemiah Arnold (F), Matt Roberts (F), Kaj Boeri (F), Charlie Scribner (D), Cody Chpaman (D), Kyle Hamilton (F), Kyld Atkinson (F). Sophomores — Jacob Dwinell (F), Colston Allen (D), A.J. DuBois (F).

Newcomers: Sophomores — Shane Miller (F), Jackson Balch (D), Bentley Boonyaharn (F). Freshmen — Alex Mason (D), Aidan Boonyaharn (F).

Note: North Country, the VPA D-II state champs just two seasons ago, have dropped out because of low numbers. That leaves D-II with 11 schools this winter. The Falcons were 3-16-1 in 2017-18, last in the league standings.

Analysis: The Hurricanes struggled through the first half of last winter before a strong last-season kick made them a worrisome tournament foe. Scoring remains an area of concentration, given the Canes have lost three prolific forwards over the past year, but coach Todd Bebeau is optimistic multiple sources will fill the gap. Until that develops, Hartford will rely on its defense to succeed.

“I’m confident we’re going to defend better this year,” said Bebeau, whose squad surrendered 73 goals last winter. “Ross McFate played his best hockey down the stretch, posting a shutout vs. Colchester in the play-in round and keeping us in the lead late against eventual finalist Lyndon in the quarterfinals. Returning defensemen Charlie Scribner, Cody Chapman and Jonas Spaulding should help stabilize our defensive improvement as well.”

LEBANON-STEVENS-MOUNT ROYAL

Coach: Jim Damren (2).

Last Year: 11-9-1, lost to St. Thomas in quarterfinals.

League: NHIAA Division II.

Returnees: Seniors — Joey Dupree (F, captain), Jack Sandmann (F), Trent Porter (F). Juniors — Jon Cloud (F, assistant captain), Brian Daly (F), Mason Adams (F), Jackson Kapuscinski (G), Will Forman (D). Sophomores — Andrew Duany (F), Aidan Yates (F), Hunter Tibbits (F), Hunter Robb (G), Jake Kriplin (D), Trey Chickering (D).

Newcomers: Junior — Tristan Ouellette (D, from Mount Royal Academy). Sophomore — Joe Roberts (F; from Cardigan Mountain School). Freshmen — Luke Greene (D), Nathan Stark (D), Liam Ouellette (F; from Mount Royal Academy), Hunter Christian (F; from Stevens High), Sebastian Yates (G).

Analysis: Having had Stevens as a co-op partner for two seasons, the Raiders add a pair of skaters from Sunapee’s Mount Royal Academy (brothers Tristan and Liam Ouellette) to further increase their roster depth. Nate Chickering (36-19—55), last year’s D-II player of the year, is off to Proctor Academy, and defenseman Aaron Damren has opted for junior hockey in Burlington (Vermont Lumberjacks), cutting into the Raiders’ experience level. That means second-year coach Jim Damren will be relying on the young guys to play big roles early, and he believes they’re up to the task.

“We have some solid talent on the team, but we will have a pretty steep learning curve,” Damren said. “I expect we will have some challenges as we navigate our way earlyin the season, but we have alreadycome together as a team pretty well. I am very optimistic for the season, and I believe we will surprise some people before we are done.”

WOODSTOCK

Coach: Jon Chamberlain (4).

Last Year: 22-0-1, won state championship.

League: VPA Division II.

Returnees: Seniors — Lucas Piconi (D), Eli Chynoweth (D), Max Dodson (F). Juniors — Owen Coates (F), Trevor White (F), Michael Cimis (F), Henry Greene (G), Tristan Black (D), Dylan DeSchamp (F; from Windsor High), Nathaniel Kennedy (F). Sophomores — Charles Greene (F), Andrew Gubbins (F), Field Willis (F), Tommy Bissaillon (F; transfer from Sharon Academy), Chase Christensen (F), Ethan Mello (G), Riley Shepherd (D), Mason Harkins (D).

Newcomers: Freshmen — Evan Krash (F), Chase Conway (F), Keaton Piconi (G).

Analysis: The Wasps could rely on Steven Townley (42-29—71), arguably the top player in Vermont last winter, to produce the offense that backstopped Woodstock’s charge to state honors last year. Now that he and Cullen McCarthy (23-27—50) have graduated, the Wasps will have to take a more team-centered approach to their scoring. Going in that direction is job one for coach Jon Chamberlin this year, and he’s confident Woodstock will be up to the challenge.

“It’s going to be more of a team aspect,” Chamberlin said. “I want all of them to touch the puck; I want them to move it. They understand the challenge of what we lost, and it’s pretty exciting to see what the guys can do. … We’ll take it day by day; I don’t look at that (state title favorite) stuff. We all have possibilities — we’re not going to lie to ourselves — but we have a long way to go to talk about that.”

GIRLS

HANOVER

Coach: John Dodds (14).

Last Year: 19-3-1, won ninth straight state title and 10th in 11 years under NHIAA.

League: NHIAA Division I.

Returnees: Seniors — Aiden Stone (G), Clara Boland (D/F, captain), Margaret Lee (F), Emma Tysinger (D, captain), Bryn Kable (D, captain), Rose Donaldson (D/F), Claire Yegian (G). Juniors — Meredith Morhun (F), Christina Chow (F), Pepper Joseph (F). Sophomores — Sage McGinley-Smith (F), Natalie Morhun (F), Sophia Brackett (F), Rebekah Rudd (G).

Newcomers: Junior — Georgia Flynn (F/D). Sophomore — Violet Sperry (F). Freshman — Kaye Lindsay (F).

Analysis: As the rest of NHIAA D-I knows, Hanover only reloads and never rebuilds. Still, the Marauders have a lot of scoring to replace with last year’s top two forwards, Bri Laycock (51-26—77; Williams) and Cate Wagner (23-35—58; Middlebury) competing on NESCAC college teams. Look for Hanover to build from the back, thanks to the return of three goalies (Aiden Stone, Rebekah Rudd, Claire Yegian) and four blueliners (Clara Boland, Emma Tysinger, Bryn Kable, Rose Donaldson). The Marauders will again bolster their schedule with a half-dozen out-of-state games and will welcome Essex, BFA-St. Albans and Massena (N.Y.) to a two-day tourney during the holidays.

“Graduation losses at the front end means we will need to find scoring and solid offensive play from new sources,” coach John Dodds said. “That will have to come from returning and new players stepping up and asking our current defense crew to be more offensive-minded.”

HARTFORD

Coach: Bill Goldsworthy (2).

Last Year: 1-19-1, lost to Burr & Burton in first round.

League: VPA Division II.

Returnees: Seniors — Jasmine Wilson (F), Ceci Spaulding (D). Juniors — Jacqueline Gour (G), Greer McCarty (F), Nevaeh Murphy (F), Cayden Shaw (F), Anna Coutermarsh (F). Sophomores — Ryelee Potwin (F), Cassidy Beisler (D), Brooke Shambo (D), Alexandra Gray (F), Zoey Pfeiffer (G).

Newcomers: Juniors — Anna Moore (F), Caroline Cassell (F), Kylie Clark (F). Sophomores — Reilly Slusser (F), Katie Trombley (F), Samantha Jackson (F), Isabel Stack (F, from Bellows Falls UHS), Alyssa Leonard (D, from Bellows Falls UHS). Freshmen — Brianna Roberts (F), Erin Thompson (D), S.J. Walker (F), Nora Knudsen (D).

Analysis: What began as a rebuild last winter will likely continue this winter for Hartford, whose 24-player roster includes a dozen newcomers and seven returnees with just a year of experience. Only eight Canes scored at least one point in 2017-18; of those, just three return in Ceci Spaulding, Jasmine Wilson and Ryelee Potwin. Goalies Jacqueline Gour and Zoey Pfeiffer have a year of puck-stopping action under their belts to give Hartford a starting point.

“Our goal is to continue building a program which saw many players new to hockey develop skills and an understanding of the game,” second-year coach Bill Goldsworthy said. “With the addition of new players, with hockey experience, and the development of younger players, we should not only improve on last year’s record but should soldify a strong young foundation for future success. … While many girls programs around the state struggle to find players and are disbanding or merging, we continue to revive a program that will be competitive and sustainable.”

LEBANON-STEVENS-KEARSARGE

Coach: Brad Shaw (10).

Last Year: 8-13-0, lost to Concord in first round.

League: NHIAA Division I.

Returnees: Senior — Adrianna Maccioli (G; from Stevens High). Juniors — Mackayla O’Meara (D; captain), Ella Lindsay (F), Kaitlyn Veracka (F), Kayleigh Trietsch (G), Celia Barnett (F). Sophomores — Lily Barber (F; asst. captain), Makayla Maccioli (F; asst. captain; from Stevens High), Lena Nowell (F).

Newcomers: Junior — Marissa Pickman (F; from Kearsarge High). Freshmen — Brianna Frisbee (F; from Stevens High), Paige Hoegler (D; from Kearsarge High), Kate Cochran (F; from Kearsarge High), Rainy Smith (F; from Kearsarge High), Emma Leute (F), Lilly Gogan (D; from Stevens High), Maya Barnett (D).

Analysis: With numbers a critical concern, the Raiders last month added Kearsarge to their two-year cooperative with Stevens, and the bodies the North Sutton, N.H., school is delivering should be a godsend. The team remains young: Its only senior, goalie Adrianna Maccioli, is out indefinitely with an injury, leaving former forward Kayleigh Trietsch to take the net for the time being. Some goal-scoring returns, and a 10-goal start to the season is promising. But having plenty of bodies on the bench is the biggest thing for coach Brad Shaw’s squad.

“For us to field a (co-op) team, that can help us out and give other kids the opportunit to play the sport,” Shaw said last month. “It seems to make sense and is a good partnership.”

WOODSTOCK

Coach: Ian Coates (6).

Last Year: 15-6-1, lost to Stowe in semifinals.

League: VPA Division II.

Returnees: Seniors — Bridgit Black (G), Khara Brettell (D), Elizabeth Currier (D), Adrianna Gray (F). Juniors — Audrey Eggum (F), Elizabeth Peck (F), Rory Livingston (D, from Sharon Academy), Samantha Yates (F), Anastasia Alexander (F), Sofia Kantola (D), Mackenzie Yates (D). Sophomores — Alessandra Cimis (F/D), Emily Dean (F), Paige Surrell (F), Faye Stevens (F), Eliza Dodson (D), Ava Dodson (G).

Newcomers: Juniors — Kai Albers (F, German exchange student), Kendyl Boisvert (F), from Rivendell Academy). Sophomore — Sadie Gravelle (D). Freshmen — Sophia Yates (F), Brighton Martsolf-Tan (F).

Note: Former Lebanon High skater Kristen Webber has joined the Woodstock coaching staff, focusing on defense and goaltending.

Analysis: The Wasps have been on an upward arc over coach Ian Coates’ five previous seasons, coming within 2-0 losses the past two seasons — Missisquoi in 2017, Stowe last year — of making a program-first VPA final. The pieces are in place for another crack this winter, with seniors manning the goal (Bridgit Black) and two key defensive positions (Khara Brettell, Elizabeth Currier). Three graduates took 86 points from last season with them, so Woodstock hopes to build through the likes of top returning scorer Faye Stevens (9-13—22) and Kendyl Boisvert, who transferred to Rivendell last summer and skated for Hartford the previous two campaigns.

“Our goal is to play some solid hockey, sound defensive play and some quality offense that can produce some shots and goals,” Coates said. “Our team has struggled in the past with allowing shots on our own goal. I’m hoping to see our statistics start to favor the Wasps in outshooting our opponents.”