By Mike Zhe
Defending champions: Fairfield Prep (Division 1), Fairfield, Warde/Ludlowe (Division 2), Newington-Berlin-Manchester (Division 3), New Canaan (girls)
Any talk in Division 1 annually starts with Fairfield Prep, which graduated all kinds of talent but typically reloads for another run. Matt Beck is a proven quantity in goal and the Jesuits are usually good about building out from the net. … Keep an eye on Northwest Catholic, new to the division this year after reaching the finals and quarterfinals its last two years in Division 2. … Notre Dame-West Haven lost sniper Billy Vizzo to juniors and has a new coach in Tim Belcher, while Notre Dame-Fairfield mixes in a collection of transfers as it tries to improve on last year’s 10th-place finish and first-round playoff exit. … The Division 2 ranks will be bolstered with the additions of Cheshire and North Haven from Division 1 and champ Newington-Berlin-Manchester from Division 3. … Daniel Hand, with a new head coach in Ken Mitchell, could be in the Division 2 mix as well, along with last year’s regular-season champion, Amity, and runner-up East Catholic. … New Canaan, which has won six of the eight girls state championships — and was the runner-up the other two years — will again be the favorite, even with record-breaking scorer Olivia Hompe, a two-time All-American who holds the state girls hockey points record, now playing at Princeton.
Players to watch
Boys: Ben Solin, jr., F, Daniel Hand; Harry Stanton, sr., F, New Canaan; Zach White, sr., F, Milford; Demitri Yao, sr., F, Northwest Catholic; Girls: Catherine Granito, soph., F, New Canaan
Defending champions: Falmouth (Class A), Greely (Class B), Greely (girls)
If Class A has a strong collection of contenders, all eyes should be on two-time defending champion Greely in Class B. Ted Hart, who was named the Outstanding Player in Western Maine Class B and is the latest in a long family lineage of impact players, is prepping at Phillips Exeter Academy, but a good part of the core returns. That includes junior goalie Kyle Kramlich, whose 17 saves blanked Messalonskee in the state title game; and junior forwards Reid Howland and Mitchell Donovan. … Lewiston has played — and lost — in two of the last three Class A championships, and has its top line back: seniors Kyle Lemelin (18-21-39), Matt Poulin and Evan Gosselin. Defenseman Ethan Melvin and Max Bolduc will anchor the blue line. Rival St. Dom’s also bears watching. … Bangor headlines the list of contenders in Eastern Maine Class A. Old Town and Orono will form a cooperative team for the first time, as will Lawrence and Skowhegan. … Other contenders in Western Maine Class A include defending state champ Falmouth, Thornton Academy, Biddeford and Scarborough.
Players to watch
Boys: Dan Condon, sr., F, Maranacook/Hall-Dale/Winthrop; Kyle Kramlich, jr., G, Greely; Kyle Lemelin, sr., F, Lewiston; Derek Neal, jr., F, York; Jack Orne, sr., F, Camden Hills; Girls: Devan Kane, sr., G, Scarborough; Mary Morrison, jr., D, Greely
Defending champions: Malden Catholic (Super 8), Burlington (Division 1), Wilmington (Division 2), Westfield (Division 3), St. Mary’s-Lynn (Division 1 girls), Duxbury (Division 2 girls)
Somehow, some way, Malden Catholic made it a third straight Super 8 tournament title last year climbing out of a first-half slump and claiming the 10th and final spot in the bracket. So nobody’s writing off the Lancers. Junior forward Ara Nazarian is a UNH commit. … Austin Prep, BC High, Catholic Memorial, Central Catholic, St. John’s Prep and Springfield Cathedral are also mentioned among the privates, while top public contenders include Burlington, Falmouth, Winchester, Melrose, Hingham and Framingham. … Burlington’s hopes for a third straight title will rest on a good returning group of defensemen, senior Adam Crowley, junior Mike Bibbey, and sophomores Josh Boulos and Shane O’Halloran. The team it beat in last year’s final — Marshfield — graduated 14 seniors, but has good players back in seniors Colin MacDonald and Liam Manning, plus top returning scorer Pat Shea, a junior. … Sandwich could be the team to beat in Division 2, while Wilmington has a standout goalie in Drew Foley. … On the girls side, it’s all about dethroning the champions. St. Mary’s (Lynn) won its fourth Division 1 title in six seasons last winter, while Duxbury won in Division 2 for the third year in a row, the last two by beating Falmouth in the final.
Players to watch
Boys: Tom Besinger, sr., BC High; Brandon Collett, fr., G, Catholic memorial; Sam D’Antuano, sr., F, Hingham; Drew Foley, sr., G, Wilmington; Ara Nazarian, jr., F, Malden Catholic; Colin Soucy, sr., G, Central Catholic; Girls: Courtney Davis, sr., G, Woburn; Annie Messuri, sr., D, Acton-Boxborough; Rachel Myette, sr., G, Duxbury
Defending champions: Manchester Memorial (Division 1), Bedford (Division 2), John Stark/Hopkinton (Division 3), Hanover (girls)
It was a return to prominence for the Queen City on the ice last winter, with Manchester Memorial, which lost in the 2012 final, beating Manchester Central, 3-2, in a thrilling championship game. With Trinity contending most years — winning a title in 2010-11 — hockey in Manchester is enjoying a resurgence. Whether those teams can keep recent powers like Bishop Guertin, Concord, Pinkerton and Hanover out of the winner’s circle is this year’s question. … St. Thomas Aquinas, a semifinalist last year, returns two-thirds of one of the best lines in the state with senior Glenn Wiswell and sophomore Ty Turgeon. Londonderry and Salem are two other teams that should never be counted out. … Merrimack (Division 2) and Berlin (Division 3) are looking to take care of unfinished business. Both finished the regular season atop their respective league standings but lost in the championship games, to Bedford and John Stark/Hopkinton. … Bedford and Spaulding should provide some of Merrimack’s stiffest competition in Division 2. … On the girls side, Hanover has won five of the six girls state titles awarded since that sport was recognized by the NHIAA in 2008, including the last four. It defeated Oyster River in last year’s final, 3-1, and will lean on sophomore forwards Matti Hartman, Kelly Brigham and Julie Montgomery.
Players to watch
Boys: Eric Coburn, sr., F, Londonderry; Nate Corriveau, sr., D, Bow; Connor Donahue, sr., D, Bishop Guertin; Jake Pappalardo, jr., F, Salem; Brent Phillips, sr., F, Spaulding; Connor Powell, sr., F, Merrimack; Londonderry, Glenn Wiswell, sr., F, St. Thomas; Girls: Matti Hartman, soph., F, Hanover; Julia Pelletier, soph., G, Bishop Guertin; Sandra Strogen, sr., D, Oyster River
Defending champions: Mount St. Charles (State), Barrington (Division 1), Lincoln (Division 2), West Warwick/Exeter/West Greenwich (Division 3), LaSalle (Division 1 girls), Barrington/Mount Hope/Portsmouth (Division 2 girls)
After celebrating its 43rd state championship last March, Mount St. Charles takes to the ice needing to replace four of its top six scorers, including league scoring co-champ Tyler Scroggins, who is now at Williston-Northampton. The news is better on defense (with Keith Phaneuf) and in goal (with Brian Larence). .… The 2012 champ, Bishop Hendricken, which went 15-4-1, also has some rebuilding to do after graduating a host of good players and losing sniper Matt Creamer to the Selects Academy at South Kent. … Beyond the two perennial powers, Coventry is solid in goal but graduated lots up front and on defense. … In Division 2, finalists Lincoln and Prout must each replace its top three scorers. Prout was particularly senior-heavy. … The LaSalle girls boast the best last line of defense in sophomore goalie Taylor Peltier.
Players to watch
Boys: Tucker Alberigo, sr., D, Bishop Hendricken; Brian Larence, sr., G, Mt. St. Charles; Chad Stone, jr., F, Burrillville; Tyler Walsh, jr., G, LaSalle; Girls: Briana Castro, sr., F/D, Mt. St. Charles; Taylor Peltier, soph., G, LaSalle
Defending champions: South Burlington (Division 1 boys), U-32 (Division 2 boys), BFA-St. Albans (Division 1 girls), Harwood (Division 2 girls)
Great finish in Division 1 a year ago, with CSB Cup rivals South Burlington and Champlain Valley Union meeting in the final at Gutterson Fieldhouse. … It was the first state title for SBHS since back-to-back titles in 1992-93 and 1993-94 and completed its climb from a .500 team just two years prior. Of the eight seniors lost, a group that includes standout forward Tommy Royer, four were defensemen, so that’s where the building starts. Forwards Matt Baechle and Gabe Simpatico and goalie David Streeter are three seniors to watch. … Essex has finished first or second in the standings in each of the last five years but only has title game losses in 2009 and 2011 to show for it. North Country has reached the semifinals in each of the last two years. … Colchester, an annual quarterfinalist, has players back, but lost forward Avery Steele to the Selects Academy at South Kent. … In Division 2, U-32 has won the title in each of the last two years.
Players to watch
Boys: Matt Cuce, sr., F, Colchester; Jackson Tucker, sr., F, Northfield; Girls: Dani Schreiner, sr., F, BFA-St.-Albans