Hockomock Hockey – Kelley-Rex Division Preview

Alec Borkowski Hockomock Franklin hockey

Alec Borkowski (3) and Franklin will once again be the favorite to take home the Hockomock League title coming into the season. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)
Attleboro
2013-14 Record: (9-9-3, 4-4-2)
2013-14 Finish: Lost in Division 3 South preliminary round against Abington
Head Coach: Mike Cripps
In 2013, the Bombardiers rode the play of seniors like goalie Andrew Campion, defenseman Travis Tanguay, and forward Zach Larkin to a playoff appearance. This fall, Attleboro returns only 11 players and head coach Mike Cripps admits this will be a rebuilding season for the program. Zach’s brother Keagin, who was third on the team in points last year as a sophomore, will be counted on as the primary goal scorer but Cripps hopes to skate three lines with seniors Luke Chomyszak and Dominic Bartnikowski adding toughness on the wings. Sophomore Seth Lombardy and newcomer Ryan Girouard, a junior transfer from Mount St. Charles (R.I.), will also be hoped to add offensive punch. Defensively, Cripps is counting on senior Ben Chomyszak to lead the way (“He will be playing at least half of every game,” said Cripps) along with juniors Will McKenzie and Jack Flynn. Goaltender is the biggest question mark for Attleboro with no ready replacement for Campion, who was excellent last year. Junior Tom Gile and sophomore Tyler Koppy are athletes, but with no hockey experience and Cripps noted that the team will have to work on “defensive zone coverage and blocking shots” to help protect the novice goalies. Overall Cripps said, “The team is a hard working group and we have a schedule that should allow us to be competitive in our non-league games.”

Franklin
2013-14 Record: 14-7-1, 8-1-1
2013-14 Finish: Lost in the Division 1 South quarterfinal to Framingham
Head Coach: Chris Spillane
The Panthers are a perennial Hockomock power and are looking to build on last year’s league title and their first foray into D1 hockey, which included a win over Weymouth in the playoffs before a loss to Framingham in Bourne. Franklin had a strong senior class but, in a sign of the strength of the program, returns 18 juniors from 2013. The top scoring line from last year is back with Joe Bourque, Alec Borkowski, and Ryan Spillane expected to once again be the top line. Also, the Panthers return three of the top four defensemen from last year in Kyle Filbert, Nick Morris, and Mason Saunders, who impressed on both sides of the ice with a powerful shot from the point. The question mark for Franklin is in goal. The loss of talented goalies Devon Maloof and Mike Donadio leaves a big hole to fill and head coach Chris Spillane is counting on senior Ryan Shea, who saw limited action last season, and junior Nick Jasinski to step into the No. 1 spot. Once again, Franklin will be among the heavy favorites to bring home a league title, but is also looking to be a challenger in D1 and added strong opponents like Super 8 contenders Springfield Cathedral and Malden Catholic. “We have a veteran team returning that will be challenged with a very strong schedule,” said Spillane.

King Philip
2013-14 Record: 9-10-1, 4-5-1
2013-14 Finish: Missed Playoffs
Head Coach: Jim Lehan
King Philip missed the playoffs by a single point in 2013 after losing the final game of the regular season to rival North Attleboro. Jim Lehan, now in his second year in charge, had very little time to work with his team before the start of last season and admits that the comfort level is much higher this time around. He also believes that he will have a much deeper team than last season that will be focused on speed and defensemen that are capable of carrying the puck and sparking attacks. Senior Tom Hanson led the team in scoring a year ago and will be expected to carry the load again this season with help from fellow captain Paul Lyons. Freshman Collin Cooke will be an exciting newcomer for KP, which lost talented forwards Zach D’Amico and Johnny Piatelli to juniors and private school. Senior Brandon King, listed at 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds, will be the physical presence on defense for the Warriors, but Lehan noted that KP will return six defensemen this year and it should be the strength of the team. Goaltender is also a question mark with Dylan Unger graduated and Lehan said that there are four players trying out for the starting job led by senior Sam Thompson, who was the backup last fall, but there is concern over the lack of game experience. Overall, Lehan said, “The team is still mad about last season. We’ve been waiting for the season to start since that last game ended.”

Mansfield
2013-14 Record: 10-8-3, 7-2-1
2013-14 Finish: Lost in Division 1 South first round to Norwood
Head Coach: Rick Anastos
Mansfield will be missing forward Adam Blackman this season after the senior decided to play juniors and the Hornets will miss his goal scoring and playmaking on the top line, but there is still a ton of talent in the program. The Hornets will especially be strong again on the top defensive line with seniors Evan Kershaw and Will Kelleher returning. Both are physical presences in the back and can also skate with the puck and jumpstart the offense. In the attack, senior Jared Collins will be a key piece and stepped up in the playoffs against Norwood in the absence of Blackman. Collins will be helped out by Billy Grant, who had a strong sophomore season and gave much needed scoring on the second line last winter. Dan Moyer stepped into the goaltender position last year and was excellent and the Hornets will be hoping that junior Anthony Visconti can step in and do the same this season. Mansfield returned 17 players from last year’s roster, so there is plenty of depth to see the Hornets continue among the top teams in the league.

North Attleboro
2013-14 Record: 10-10-1, 5-5-0
2013-14 Finish: Lost in Division 2 South first round to Medway in overtime
Head Coach: Steve Snizek
The Rocketeers gave perennial power Medway all that it could handle in the first round last season before falling in overtime. This year North Attleboro returns talented senior forward Sean Young, who will once again be the primary offensive weapon for the Rocketeers. In addition to Young, North will feature sophomore Erik Clements and senior Mark Ventola. Senior Ryan Ma returns to lead the defensive unit, but head coach Steve Snizek admits that defense will once again be a challenge for the Rocketeers and he is counting on his forwards to help in all three zones. “Defense is still a cause for concern but I am confident that our returning defensemen will step to the challenge now that they have a year of varsity experience,” said Snizek. The loss of senior Marshall Blackman, who was one of North’s top scorers but finished the season as a defenseman, to juniors takes away a versatile piece for the Rocketeers. There is also a question mark in goal with seniors Brady Grunewald and Zak Tetreault both lacking a lot of game experience. Snizek also highlighted freshmen Jason McNeany and Andrew Wissler as contributors this season. “It is very important that we provide Sean with some scoring help,” said Snizek. “Every team in the league knows his number and will be focused on covering him.  I think that we have many players that can definitely help out in that regard.”

Taunton
2013-14 Record: 6-15, 1-9-0
2013-14 Finish: Missed Playoffs
Head Coach: Kris Metea
Last year, Taunton had plenty of young players see plenty of valuable minutes of the ice. This year, the Tigers will still be young but will have much more experience than they did last year.
“We expect to bring 100% work ethic and battle in each game,” head coach Kris Metea said. “Inexperience is no longer a factor, but [we] still have to battle youth in the ever competitive Hockomock.”
Metea added that the improvement made by individual players has been great. Taunton will have just one senior on the roster, six juniors and the rest will be sophomores and freshmen. One of last year’s honorable mentions for the HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, Nick Terry, will be back patrolling the blue line for the Tigers, as will captain David Perry. Tyler Whalon, who was second on the team in goals, is back as well as Nick Croft, who was third on the team in scoring. Taunton will also get goalie Cam Pitts back as well as Tyler Pietrzyk and Mike Volkmann, who both missed substantial time last year due to injury.
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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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