”The Long and Winding Road”
Facing some of New England’s best Division 1 prep school talent game in and game out with only five players with returning varsity experience on your roster is not an easy task. For the Highlanders and new head coach Gino Khachadourian, it’s an uphill climb. Still, with a dynamic leader such as Jerome Cappadona up front, along with Chris Usseglio and Brandon Franco, it’s a good start. Sophomore goalie Chris DeVito also has the ability to shine while Ryan Lovell, Matthew Cavanaugh and Marblehead’s Maxx Trotsky all look to be impact freshmen for a team that will continue improving week by week.
St. John’s Prep Eagles
”All Together Now”
A terrific little ditty from perhaps The Beatles’ most overlooked album, “Yellow Submarine,” the message here is as simple as the lyrics and cadence to the song. Everyone knows what the Eagles are nowadays: a state hockey powerhouse, deep and talented, yet still trying to capture that elusive Super 8 championship. A trip to the title game and state semifinals the last two seasons have done little to quench their thirst; this squad has one ultimate goal of raising the state hardware. It’s an embarrassment of riches for the Eagles: Brian Pinho, Andrew Brandano, Tyler Bird, Jack McCarthy, Cam Shaheen, Nic Gianelli, etc., in the forward ranks and Ean Mendeszoon, Dillon Gargano, James Brightney, Evan Leclerc and Brent Murray back on D. If the Prep can get the goaltending, they absolutely have a chance to be there when the final pucks of the season are dropped.
”I’ve Got a Feeling”
Talking with new head coach Ted Ganley, you get the sense that there’s a lot of change surrounding the Witches this winter — and they’re all for the best. With an early season focus on conditioning and keeping their skating legs fresh, Salem is much deeper than in seasons past and should be able to skate three lines and 4-5 defensemen regularly. Unless you’ve watched him, people don’t realize how good junior goaltender Brett Harring is. His fellow captain, Jake Batista, heads up a defense that is fully committed on greatly cutting down its goals against. Spencer Bergholtz, Danny Heck and Jake Stahlman will be counted on as the scoring leaders up front. All signs point to great improvement over last season’s one-win squad.