As its first four games of its season illustrated, the Brunswick School ice hockey team should receive goals from numerous sources this winter, while competing in a wealth of close matchups.
“We have a lot of depth, a lot of skill up front,” Bruins coach Mike Kennedy said. “So far, we have 12 goals in four games from 10 different scorers, so we have a lot of capable forwards, which is good.”
The Bruins, who sport an early-season record of 1-2-1, after skating to a 3-3 tie against Phillips Exeter Academy on Sunday, are counting on depth up front and an experienced rotation of defensemen to enable them to qualify for the NEPSAC tournament.
“Each one of our four games could have gone in either direction,” said Kennedy, whose Bruins visited Kent School on Wednesday. “It shows that we have the players to compete, it’s just a matter of figuring out how to win and hopefully, we can do that sooner, than later.”
During the early portion of the season, the Bruins have rolled four lines, all of which have been solid.
“Being able to do that gives us a luxury as coaches to save our energy and use guys who are doing the best in certain games,” Kennedy said.
Senior captains/forwards Connor Sullivan and Henry Foster are two of the Bruins who will be asked to spark the squad offensively.
“We have a lot of guys who can score. The coaches had a hard time picking who the first line is,” Sullivan said. “This is the deepest set of forwards we’ve had in a while. We are well mixed with some older guys who have been here for a while and some new guys who bring a lot of talent to the team, so it balances each other out.”
Foster, who plays left wing, begins his third season on the Bruins. He is adept at showing his leadership skills, as he also served as one of the captains of Brunswick’s soccer team in the fall.
“He brings a solid work ethic and he leads by example,” Kennedy said of Foster. “Henry is going to be help us in the penalty kill and on power plays.”
Brunswick did not qualify for the NEPSAC tournament during its 2018-19 season, after winning the NEPSAC Division I Large School Tournament in March 2017 — the program’s first NEPSAC hockey title.
“The theme of our team is resilience,” Foster said. “We love competing and being the scrappier team out there, making it hard for opponents to play against us. Our goal is to win the next game. If we can get better and win every game, we’ll finish with a trophy in our hands at the end of the season.”
Shayan Farjam, a defenseman/tri-captain, likes the teamwork he’s seen from the squad over its first four games.
“We all have each other’s backs and we play for each other, which is going to be a big factor for the future success of our team,” Farjam said. “Our defense this year is really deep. We have four lines of defensemen that can really go.”
AT THE HELM: Kennedy begins his second season as coach of the Bruins. He replaced Ron VanBelle, who spent 13 successful seasons at the helm and led the team to the NEPSAC championship in 2017. Prior to assuming the head coaching responsibilities, Kennedy was an assistant for the Bruins from 2005-18.
VanBelle is still part of the coaching staff as an assistant and longtime assistant Steven Mandes also returns.
WHO’S GONE? Graduating from the Bruins’ 2018-19 season were captains Cooper Moore, Charles Shaffer, Dan Dachille and Aaron Aboodi. An All-New England Team selection, Moore, a defenseman, is currently playing junior hockey and will join the University of North Dakota hockey team next winter. Dachille was the Bruins’ starting goalie, while Shaffer and Aboodi were forwards.
Also among the graduates were: Edward Glassmeyer, Andy McBurney and Henry Hill. Ryan St. Louis, who would have been a junior for the Bruins, is playing hockey at the U.S. National Development program in Michigan.
FORWARDS: Foster, Sullivan, junior AJ Cerbone, sophomore Andon Cerbone, Matt McGroarty (junior), Mike Salandra (junior), Will Forrest (senior), Jakub Tepley (senior) and Gary Claps (junior) bring a lot of potential up front.
Freshman Beanie Richter joins the squad as a forward, as do sophomore Connor Welsh, Hank Cleaves (sophomore) and freshman James Shannon.
DEFENSEMEN: Senior Jude Brower is in his second season as one of the Bruins’ top defensemen. He’s expected to contribute offensively as well on the power play.
Farjam returns to the blue line, along with junior Henry Dale. Ben Presley (junior), John Burdett (junior), Jack Griffin (senior) and Henry Tavlarios (senior) should help support the squad defensively.
GOALIES: Junior Alexander Rohlf starts his first season as the Bruins’ starting goalie. He made 29 saves in Brunswick’s 3-3 tie against Phillips Exeter Academy and stopped 24 shots in the team’s 5-2 win over New Hampton.
“Alex has been steady each game,” Farjam said. “He’s a great guy on and off the ice.”
Also filling the goalie role for the Bruins are freshman Brendan Holahan and senior Chris Wack.
STRENGTHS: “All of our captains are lead-by-example, hard-working guys, which is a good thing to have among your leaders,” Kennedy said. “We have the roster to have a better year than we did last year.”
Scoring shouldn’t be too much of an issue for the Bruins, who can roll four lines.
QUOTABLE: “We should be one of the top teams, and all of us plan on making a deep run to the playoffs,” Sullivan said. “Our expectations are higher this year.”
Said Foster: “We have four lines that can score any time. That’s a huge asset for us — we feel we are lethal any time on the ice.”