Hockey: Davenport Division Preview – 2015-2016

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By HockomockSports.com Staff

CANTON

2014-2015 Record: 16-6-1
2014-2015 Finish: Reached D2 South Final
Coach: Brian Shuman
The Bulldogs will look to write a new chapter in their jam-packed history book as they will play their home games at the Canton SportsPlex this season after a roof collapse at Metropolis last season.
That isn’t the only change for Canton this season as they will have to overcome the graduation of many seniors, including Brian Hagan, and the transfers of John Femia and Jerry Harding. The good news is that Brian Shuman returns a bulk of talent including Matt Lazaro, the team’s leading goal scorer the past two seasons.
Also back is last year’s HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year Jackson Maffeo to power the blue line, goalie Justin Slocum, entering his third year as Canton’s starting goalie, junior forward Shaun Kirby (28 points last season) and senior Jim Jenkins, who has impressed so far in the preseason according to Shuman.
“We have a lot of new faces in the program, so getting the new players acclimated to the varsity level pace of play will be the challenge early on,” Shuman said. “We need to find some balanced scoring this year, as well as get our forwards to play in all three zones – not just the O-zone. Defensively, it starts with Justin Slocum. We’re hoping for a big year out of him. We also need some guys to step up and round out the top five defensively.”   

FOXBORO

2014-2015 Record: 3-12-3
2014-2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Jim Genovese
The Warriors only graduated five skaters (and one backup goalie) from last year’s team and will be looking to make big strides this season.
Leading scorer Peter Smith is back and head coach Jim Genovese is looking for a big offensive season out of the junior after his 11 goal season as a sophomore. Mike Carresi, another player who impressed last year as a sophomore, is back and is looking to improve on his seven goal campaign.
Junior John Cronin, who has been the starter since midway through his freshman year, is back for another year between the pipes after 333 saves last year. Defensively the Warriors are going to rely on youth with sophomore Aidan Sullivan, junior John Brolin and three freshmen joining in.
“We look good up front with the top two lines of returning players,” Genovese said. “This league is tough and for us, we have to come to the rink every night and play mistake free hockey. We don’t have the numbers in our program like some of the other schools so we need to be ready and bring the same intensity every night. I’m excited to get started.”

MILFORD

2014-2015 Record: 13-8-1
2014-2015 Finish: Reached D2 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Mike Balzarini
Anytime you are coming off the best season in program history, there is a lot of pressure to follow up. That challenge is going to be a lot harder for head coach Mike Balzarini as he only has 11 total players, two of which are goalies.
After limiting eventual D2 State Champion Westwood for the majority of the game in the D2 South Quarterfinal at Asiaf last season, it looked like it was just the beginning for the Scarlet Hawks. Instead, a mix of transfers, players going to juniors and a handful of players not returning leaves Milford in a tough spot.
The good news is that Milford has senior goalie Brian Ireland back for his third year as starter and he is one of the best netminders in the league. Senior forward Jonathan Chase will be one of the top offensive options, RJ Stansbury is back after an impressive freshman campaign, senior Spencer Lathrop will be another player that will be relied on heavily for the Scarlet Hawks and sophomore Jacob Balzarini – who has a high hockey IQ – will be a good two way player for Milford.
“We’re going to have to be patient,” head coach Mike Balzarini said. “The kids have really put in a lot of effort and we’re going have to stay positive throughout the whole season.”

OLIVER AMES

2014-2015 Record: 9-9-3
2014-2015 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round
Coach: Mark Homer
If there was one (Davenport) team that had the most to replace, it would be Oliver Ames. Besides Franklin graduating over 20 seniors from its Super 8 team, the Tigers have to somehow fill the void left by former HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Tyler Provost, 30-point player Tim Doherty and three time HockomockSports.com Goalie of the Year Jimmy Tierney. And on top of that, 13 other seniors were lost to graduation.
Yet there is a lot of optimism around this year’s Tigers hockey team. Matt Mancini (six points last year) will move up to the first line along with former Stoughton player Ben Litwack (three points). Oliver Ames will rely on a pair of sophomores – Eric LeBlanc and Owen Gallagher – to pair up with freshman Cullen Gallagher to provide an attacking punch. Jared Costello is back for his third year and will be a leader on defender after the Tigers lost five defensemen to graduation.
“We will take one practice and one game at a time and will continue to improve as a team moving forward in the season,” OA head coach Mark Homer said. “We need to get better each day and work on things that will develop us to becoming a competitive program in the Hock.”

STOUGHTON

2014-2015 Record: 1-18-3
2014-2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Dan Mark
It might have taken until the last game to get the first win last season but the Black Knights already have three points in two games this season and there is a lot of promise in this years squad.
Mark Sheehan is lacing his skates up for the Black Knights for the fourth year and will be a big part as Stoughton makes a push for the playoffs. As a Hockomock League All Star last season, Sheehan will be a vital part in getting a young Stoughton team going. Eoin Doherty is another player that is entering his fourth year on varsity for the Black Knights and should anchor the defense. Junior Jon Lessa has shown flashes over the past two years and could be a strong contributor for Stoughton.
“We are still a young team, skating eight freshmen and sophomores, but we are returning many veteran players,” head coach Dan Mark said. “Our strength should be several returning players who have played varsity for three or more years.”

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Ryan Lanigan

Ryan Lanigan is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of HockomockSports.com. You can contact him at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and follow him on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.
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