1. 40 years old and going strong
The Guilford boys hockey program enters its 40th season as a varsity team coming off one of its best seasons with a SCC/SWC Division II tournament title and a Division II title. Last season’s Register All-Area Hockey Coach of the Year Ralph Russo likes to take a cautiously optimistic approach. The Indians graduated some key players from last season, but they will certainly be in position to repeat. All-Area selections Jack Ring and John Delucia at forward are back this season, and the defense isn’t too shabby either led by defensemen Joe Neleber and Tom Cattaneo.
2. Rebound season for Fairfield Prep
Last season was a tough one for the Jesuits with inexperience and a few injuries contributing to a 12-10 season. But most coaches around the state expect a big comeback for the Jesuits with a season of experience in hand for most of their players. One of the keys will be senior goalie Jack McGee, who had a 2.38 goals-against average last season and a .927 save-percentage.
3. Year of the Cardinal?
While many coaches are convinced that Fairfield Prep is the team to beat this season, some believe Greenwich is poised to be one of the top teams from the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference. The Cardinals, like many FCIAC teams, have a long winning tradition and this season they have the talent to make a strong postseason run. Offense will be one of the team’s strengths, led by standout forwards Alex Mozian, Sean Pratley and Nikit Kovalev, the son of former New York Ranger standout Alexei Kovalev.
4. Northwest Catholic gets it
In an effort to develop and improve players, Fairfield Prep coach Matt Sather goes out of his way each season to put together the toughest regular-season schedule in the state. Northwest Catholic coach Don Melanson apparently shares in that philosophy. Northwest Catholic’s schedule this season is arguably the toughest in northern Connecticut. Rarely do you see northern teams playing FCIAC Division I teams back-to-back. On Jan. 13 Northwest Catholic is at New Canaan and on Jan. 15 it is at Greenwich. There are four SCC teams on the schedule as well.
5. New coach, new system newfound success for North Haven
Last season was a tough one for the Indians, who finished 4-15-1. Enter first-year coach Nick Costanzo, who is convinced the Indians will improve. Costanzo comes from Yale, where he was the volunteer assistant coach for the men’s hockey team the previous two seasons. The Indians are expected to improve on both ends of the ice, led by sophomores defenseman Andrew Carmody and forward Jack Marottolo.