Hockomock Hockey – Davenport Division Preview

Canton
2013-2014 Record: 15-5-4 (8-0-2, Davenport Champions)
2013-2104 Finish: Lost in MIAA D2 South Finals
Coach: Brian Shuman
The Bulldogs were one of the best teams in all of Division 2 last year when all was said and done, and they are returning plenty of talent this year. Although key pieces like forward Ben Lodge and defenders Andrew Howlett and Austin Zannino are gone, Canton has a core back that accounted for over 50 of their goals last year.
“Like last year, the Hockomock League and D2 South will be very competitive,” head coach Brian Shuman said. “Given our tough schedule, we are expecting many exciting and close games this season against some very good teams. Our expectations every season are always the same: we want to be a better team in February than we were in December. We have a core group of players coming back this year who will hopefully build off the experience they gained last season.”
Two key players back are juniors John Femia and last year’s HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year Matt Lazaro. Lazaro put up 40 points (24 goals) during his sophomore campaign while Femia had 30 points (23 assists). Another big plus for the Bulldogs will be Justin Slocum, who had a standout year in net during his sophomore campaign last year. Canton will be just one of a handful of teams that return their starting goalie this year. Senior Brian Hagan will be a leader on and off the ice while classmate Tyler Murphy will log a lot of minutes on the blue line. A big story line for Canton will be if the talented group of underclassman from last year can have another big year this go around.

Foxboro
2013-2014 Record: 6-12-3 (1-8-1)
2013-2104 Finish: Lost in MIAA D3 South First Round
Coach: Jim Genovese
Foxboro showed off some talent late in the season and will be looking to pick up where they left off. They will be without their two leading scorers from last year as Kyle Sperzel graduate and Liam Lynch transferred to a prep school. Still, expectations are high for the season.
“I’m expecting us to pick up from last year late in the season,” Jim Genovese said. “We have a good core of young kids back that should have more confidence this year. We have our returning starting goalie back who is only a sophomore, John Cronin. Our league is a tough one and we will always work as hard as we can to get better as a team.
Cronin emerged as the starter late in the season and impressive in his time in net. In a little over nine games played, Cronin registered 225 saves and had a shutout as a freshman. Senior captain Nick Luciano, who has been solid for the last 3 years on defense, will be an anchor defensively again this year while freshman Aidan Sullivan could be another name to keep an eye on.

Milford
2013-2014 Record: 12-7-2 (4-6-1)
2013-2104 Finish: Lost in MIAA D2 South First Round
Coach: Michael Balzarini
The Scarlet Hawks have impressed in their first couple of years in the Hockomock League, but this year will be the biggest challenge without the tandem of Jared Balzarini and Brad White and two very talented teams in Canton and OA at the top.
“The expectations are pretty high,” head coach Michael Balzarini said. “We’ve made the playoffs the past two years and I thought we’ve had a pretty good showing in the Hock in the two years. We’re looking to make the playoffs and then past the first round of the playoffs. We have some key guys coming back.”
One key guy back is senior Drew Wilde and his 35 points (20 goals, 15 assists). He will be joined offensive by Griffin Lynch, who had just under 20 points last season and sophomore Alec Gilliatt, who had an impressive freshman campaign last year. Defensively, the Scarlet Hawks will rely on Sam Croteau, who had the second highest plus/minus on the team last year and Sean Burns, who had over 10 points and a +17. In net, Brian Ireland will be back and will be one of the few returning starting goalies in the league. Freshman forward Aidan Wilde and defenseman RJ Stansbury are two other names that could help Milford this season.

Oliver Ames
2013-2014 Record: 12-9-2 (8-2)
2013-2104 Finish: Lost in MIAA D2 South Semifinals
Coach: Mark Homer
They surprised people their freshman year, they impressed during their junior campaign and now Oliver Ames’ Jimmy Tierney and Tyler Provost are ready for a deep run their senior year. The Tigers graduated a handful of talent but return the majority of their core players, including the two-time defending HockomockSports.com Goalie of the Year (Tierney) and defending HockomockSports.com Player of the Year (Provost).
“I’m cautiously optimistic again,” head coach Mark Homer said. “Last year we had lost a lot of seniors, it was a new coaching staff, I don’t think expectations were very high but we did pretty good and competed pretty well. You look at this year and it’s a bit of a turnover with the majority of the guys back. I think we have some firepower up front and I’m pretty confident defensively. It’s all going to come down to how we handle the puck and the decisions that we make.”
At this point, everyone in the league knows about Provost and Tierney, so it will be about other players stepping up for the Tigers. Senior Tim Doherty will be back on the first line after missing substantial time last year due to an injury. Providing depth up front will be senior Chandler McLaughlin, Michael Carroll, Matt Leppo, Matt Mancini and freshman Rory Madden. Defensively, senior Albert Basse will lead a set of experienced blueliners including classmates Dan Sullivan and Thomas McCormack. Also providing depth defensively are senior Brendan Rockey and sophomore Jared Costello, who showed off his speed his freshman year.

Stoughton
2013-2014 Record: 6-15-1 (0-9-1)
2013-2104 Finish: Lost in MIAA D1 South Preliminary Round
Coach: Dan Mark
Stoughton had made steps in the right direction over the past couple of years, but are faced with a huge whole in the lineup without goalie PJ Sheehan. The defending Hockomock League MVP and his thousands of saves have graduated. Even still, the Black Knights are looking to continue of an upward trajectory.
“We expect to see improvement from last year’s record and make a run at the state tournament,” head coach Dan Mark said.
Though PJ is gone from net, younger brother Mark is back for the Black Knights. Last year’s team leader in goals – 14 goals and over 20 points – is back and is one of 12 returning varsity players. Also back are four-year defensemen Ryan McSweeney and Drew DiStefano, along with three year varsity defensemen Eoin Doherty.
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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.
Ryan Lanigan
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