By HockomockSports.com Staff
Player are listed alphabetically
Sean Connolly, Senior – Canton
The reigning Davenport division MVP returns to man the blue line for the Bulldogs this season in search of another league title and another deep run in the state tournament. Connolly is the latest in a line of smooth-skating defensemen for Canton and he is just as comfortable mixing it up in the corners to win possession back as he is carrying the puck up ice to get the Bulldogs into their transition game. He finished last year with five goals and seven assists, as well as being a force in the defensive zone and kept the Bulldogs rolling in Hock play. With a strong shot, quick hands, and good hockey IQ, Connolly always seems to pop up in the right spot, whether it’s breaking up an attack or jumping in to give the Bulldogs numbers on the other end. Canton is still the defending Div. 2 co-champs (and open the season with fellow champ Lincoln-Sudbury) so expectations are high that the Bulldogs can make another deep run to retain that title and Connolly’s impact on both ends of the ice will be key to that success.
Nathan Fernandes, Senior – Taunton
While everyone experience a shortened season last year due to COVID, Taunton’s year was cut short more than most with just six games played total. With many delays and pauses, it was tough for the Tigers to develop any sort of consistency on the ice so Taunton is excited for a full season ahead of them. Senior captain Nathan Fernandes is one to keep an eye on this year, one of the fastest skaters in the Hock. Fernandes has been with the program since he was in eighth grade and has been an impact player for the past couple of seasons. He scored five goals and had 10 assists during his sophomore season and had three goals and nine assists as a freshman. He will be one of the leaders both on and off the ice as a captain and he will spearhead the Taunton offense as they try to navigate through the always difficult Hockomock League schedule.
Shaun Fitzpatrick, Senior – King Philip
King Philip is coming off its first Hock title in 15 years and first-ever Kelley-Rex division crown, and with 12 returners and all three of its top scorers back from a year ago, the Warriors are aiming to be in the mix again this year. One of those returners and top scorers is senior left wing Shaun Fitzpatrick, who scored eight goals and added five assists to help the Warriors compile a 9-1 record with 61 goals scored last season. A crafty forward, Fitzpatrick has strong stick skills and an accurate shot on the move, but his decision-making under pressure makes him effective. With his speed and game IQ, Fitzpatrick can cover a lot of ice and always seems to be in the right position to make plays in either zone.
Brad Guden, Sophomore – King Philip
King Philip had the recipe for success last year, earning its first-ever Kelley-Rex division title and first Hock title in 15 years. One of the key ingredients was the emergence of then-freshman Brad Guden, who gave the Warriors an instant boost. He scored 10 goals and added 10 assists, finishing second in scoring with 20 points in the COVID-shortened season. This year, Guden makes the switch back to defense to help the Warriors shore up the blue line group. His ability to carry the puck out of the defensive zone and join into the offense will make King Philip a dangerous team offensively. KP has a lot of experience in its forward group so getting a boost to the scoring from the blue line will balance out the offense.
Chris Hormann, Junior – Mansfield
Mansfield had the luxury of Sean McCafferty between the pipes for a couple of years but there was no drop off when he graduated and Chris Hormann stepped in a year ago. Hormann was under a lot of pressure a season ago, recording a league-best 220 saves to help the Hornets grab five wins. Now with a year of experience under his belt, Hormann will be among the top goalies in the Hockomock League. The Hornets are going to lean on his experience heavily as they sort out their new defensive pairings, having graduated the majority of that unit from last year. Hormann does a really good job putting himself in position to make the stop and doesn’t give up many good rebound opportunities.
Eamon Kelly, Senior – Canton
Canton rarely lacks for scoring punch and this season should be no different. Kelly is back as the team’s leading scorer after recording eight goals and nine assists in just 12 games last year and he will be the focal point for this season’s high-powered offense. Strong with the puck and with a motor that doesn’t seem to stop, Kelly is hard to stop when he gets a head of steam entering the zone and has a willingness to chase pucks into the corners to keep plays alive. He is also willing to get into the physical battles in front of goal to get the rebound goals and tips that you need to keep scoring over the course of a long season. Kelly’s tenacity has made him a regular, when healthy, for the past three seasons and, with the Bulldogs aiming at yet another Davenport division crown and another deep playoff run, he will be counted on again to be the spark plug for one of the league’s top offensive units.
Nik Kojoian, Senior – North Attleboro
The league’s leading scorer last season, Kojoian scored nine goals and recorded a league-high 14 assists in 14 games last winter and the Rocketeers will be leaning on his experience in the offensive zone to make a challenge for a league title and to get back into the postseason mix. A high-energy player, Kojoian is a good decision-maker in the offensive zone and has the vision to create chances for his teammates. He is also a scrappy player who puts constant pressure on the defense in the forecheck, which leads to additional chances. Kojoian’s speed makes him a threat on the break out and North will look to take advantage of those transition situations. With a new coach and a full season ahead of them, the Rocketeers will have high expectations and experienced forwards like Kojoian will be the key to how far North can go this winter.
Dylan Marchand, Senior – Franklin
A dynamic forward, Marchand is one of the fastest skaters in the league and one of those rare players that seems to be going just as fast with the puck as he is without it. Franklin’s leading scorer from a year ago, he finished with eight goals and nine assists in 13 games. He has a strong, accurate shot even on the move and is a threat to score from anywhere inside the blue line. Marchand brings a lot of energy to the ice and is always driving towards the goal, putting pressure on the defensemen who are trying to stay in front of him. Never shying away from contact, he also starts the forecheck for Franklin and can provide defense from the front. With a schedule loaded with the top teams in Div. 1, the Panthers will be preparing themselves for a postseason run and Marchand’s scoring could be the key for Franklin extending its season well into March.
Nick Piazza, Senior – Attleboro
Last season was a difficult one for Attleboro, which recorded only one win and had to battle long layoffs over the course of the shortened season. Piazza will be hoping to put last year behind him and get back to the form that made him a standout goalie as a sophomore. In 2019-20, he allowed fewer than three goals a game and stopped more than 91 percent of the shots that he faced, finishing with 489 saves. Strong between the pipes with good positioning, Piazza reads the play well to be in the right spots but also has the quickness to react act the last second and make a big save. His size and his strength going post-to-post means he can come up with a stop even when it looks like the net is open. If Piazza can get back to his play from two seasons ago, the Bombardiers could make a quick recovery from last season and be in position to earn a way back into the state tournament.
Jack Watts, Senior – Foxboro
Foxboro lost six games last year but four of those were to Franklin and Canton and the other two were against North Attleboro by a combined three goals. The Warriors will lean on experienced players this year and Watts, a four-year varsity player, will be one of the leaders in the offensive zone. A strong, physical presence on both ends of the ice, Watts is a tough combo of size and speed and adds an accurate shot. He can go into the corners and battle but also can get out on the break and beat defenders down the ice. Watts had four goals last season but in a full sophomore campaign he had 13 goals and 14 assists and the potential is there for another big winter. The Warriors will have the goal of getting back into the state tournament this season and they will be leaning heavily on Watts and the senior class to provide the firepower to get them back in the playoff mix.