New Milford hockey looking for rebound
After a rare season out of the running in the SWC and State playoffs, the New Milford High School ice hockey team is looking to bounce back during the new season.
The Green Wave went 5-12-3 last season but were a few plays away from a completely different season as they lost six one-goal games.
Whether or not New Milford can reverse its fortunes will depend on its ability to replace losses all over the ice. The Green Wave will need to find scoring as well as depth on the blue line after seeing three-time All-State player Nate Capriglione, All-Conference and 20-goal scorer in Ryan Berry and four-year starter Max Halberg depart due to graduation. That trio accounted for 90 percent of the scoring last season.
Also gone are defensemen Ben Paquin and Tyler Helmus.
“This will be an interesting year,” New Milford coach Scott Capriglione said. “We lost 90 percent of our scoring from last year and two important pieces of our defense.”
This season the defense will be bolstered by the two-headed monster of senior goalies Ben Marano and Hayden Giampietro. Sophomore Logan Lucas will be also competing for a spot in the rotation.
“Marano and Giampietro will need to be our backbone and will be relied on to steal a game or two for us,” Capriglione said.
New Milford’s defense will be led by juniors Cam Schopfer and Sean Donahue. Promising additions include freshman Nick Carlucci and coach Capriglione is looking to sophmore Dan Gallagher to be tough at the blue line.
The Green Wave’s featured line will be seniors Evan Golembeske, Jack Mayers and (returning from Canterbury) Zach Hook.
“I expect big things from this line and they have looked great in our opening scrimmages,” Capriglione said.
The team is also looking for contributions from seniors Bennett Danvers and Matt Hassiak. Juniors Logan Maciel, Ian Donahue, sophomore Jarrett Rivera and freshman Ryan Parker will need to make an impact in the offensive zone. Sophomore Matt Marano and freshman Matt Rolon are working hard to crack the top three lines.
The Green Wave will look to earn a berth in the Division III Tournament this season. Caprilgione said the drop down from Division II was a numbers decision.
“It’s hard to compete with teams that have 20 to 30 players coming out year in and year out,” he said. “But I am very proud that we are able to be one of the few teams that has not needed to co-op to stay competitive. It is a testament to our outstanding youth program in developing players, the support of the high school administration, not to mention the dedicated fans and community support we get our games. We have one of the best fan bases in the state.”
New Milford just finished its preseason scrimmage slate and tied Suffield/Granby/Windsor Locks 5-5 and participated in the Shepaug Jamboree where it did not allow a goal and won the three mini games against BBD, Housatonic and Shepaug.
“With the players we have I have no doubt we will compete for a conference championship and a solid run in the state playoffs,” Capriglione said. “We looked good offensively, our young defensive pairs played well and our goalies were solid.”