Section 2 Hockey 2016-17 Preview

As winter sports start to begin, teams are beginning to take shape for the upcoming season. We take a look here at all the teams for the Section 2 hockey season.

BHBS Spartans

Last season: (16-5-1, 10-3-1 S2)

Key losses: Mark Stocker, Tino Benamati

Key returners: Alec Lind, Geordan Buffoline, Nick Koszelak, Sam Swingruber, Trevin Tidmarsh

BHBS has officially established themselves as a top team in Section 2, now with back-to-back years with at least 15 wins. However, they struggled early on in Section play, and this led to them finishing 4th in the standings, with 13 points. They were eliminated by Saratoga in the semi-finals. They do, however, retain a lot of guys. Forwards Geordan Buffoline and Alec Lind both return for their senior years, as does captain Nick Koszelak. Defenseman Sam Swingruber enters his junior year fresh off of an outstanding sophomore campaign, in which he led all defensemen in goals and points. They did lose goalie Mark Stocker to graduation, and forward Tino Benamati left to play for the CP Dynamo, but this team is still very much intact. They picked up big defenseman Henry Koch, who played for Berkshire Academy two seasons ago. He played as a forward during his time there, and has spent time as a blue-liner with the 18U Section 2 team, so he can play either. Freshman defensemen Sean Speck will also see an increased role after he missed most of the season last year with a broken wrist. Gianni Pleminik, Jameson Spiegel, Miles Grabb, and Connor Cecala will also see increased roles this year. Trevin Tidmarsh steps between the pipes this year as the starting tender. He was 5-2-0 with a .865 Save % and a 3.17 GAA last year as a sophomore, and he’s taken big leaps in the offseason. Overall, expect the Spartans to be a contender once again.

Bethlehem Eagles

Last season: (14-7-0, 12-2-0 S2)

Key losses: Ned Englebride, Andrew Yanowsky, Nick Hospodar

Key returners: Hayes Meredith, Mike Lemiuex, Brian Harder, Thomas Liebold, Andrew Kopplin, Alex Breiner

The Eagles had an outstanding regular season last year, but that all came to a halt in the postseason, where they were upset at home, 5-2, by La Salle in the first round. However, this will be a scary team this year, as they kept pretty much the entire team. Star forwards Mike Lemieux and Hayes Meredith will return, as will Brian Harder and Thomas Liebold. Goalie Alex Breiner is back for his junior year, and they keep defensemen Tyler Hull, Andrew Kopplin, and Devon Halliday. They did lose some key blueliners, though, in Ned Englebride, Jake Dempf, Nick Hospodar, and Andrew Yanowsky. They’ll need the other 3 to step up in their place, and protect Breiner. There will be plenty of goals to go around for this team, as Lemieux and Meredith are primed for big-time seasons. These two, along with Kopplin and Harder, have spent time with the 18U team, which will help their development greatly. The Eagles will look to shake away their postseason bug and contend for the title this season.

Saratoga Blue Streaks

Last season : (19-5-1, 13-0-0 S2)

Key losses: Elliott Hungerford, Josh Dagle, Tom Fornabia, Danny Hobbs, Brendan Coffey, Colin Paton, Matt Russell

Key returners: Jake Fauler, Jonathan Luse, Eric Jess

The Blue Streaks ran the table in Section 2 last season, and won their second straight section title. They scored a league-high 124 goals, while allowing a league-low 47 goals. A lot of this success can be attributed to their dominant first line, consisting of Elliott Hungerford, Josh Dagle, and Jake Fauler. This line controlled the puck pretty much every second they were on the ice, and goalie Tom Fornabia barely had any shots to stop. However, this team will look different this year. Hungerford, Dagle, and Fornabia are all gone, as is backup goalie Danny Hobbs. They also lost defenseman Brendan Coffey, Garrett Smith, and Matt Russell. Forwards Colin Paton and Sean Holmes are also gone as well. On the surface, it looks like this team lost so much that they’ll drop off. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. Jake Fauler returns for his senior year, and he’ll be one of the best players in the section again. Junior Caleb Smith will most likely move up to the first line with Fauler, and they’ll probably be accompanied by senior Jonathan Luse. Ryan Robens and Matt Shamberger will also likely receive bigger roles as well. It looks like the starting goalie job is between Drew Rafferty, or Dylan Ellor. Either one will have to step up to hold down the fort, but they’ll need help from the defensemen. This is where Eric Jess comes in. It looks like he’ll be the #1 guy defensively for the Streaks, and could be joined by either Ryan Jones or Sean Sesselman. Overall, Saratoga may not be a favorite to win their 3rd straight Section 2 title, but they still have talent and will be a top team again this year.

Shen Plainsmen

Last season: (9-13-0, 8-3-0 S2)

Key losses: Matt Chieco, David Mackey, Jared Lambright

Key returners: Hayden Haldane

Shen struggled to score goals last year, and I mean struggled. Their 42 goals were third-to-last, in front of only 8th place Queensbury, and last-place GMS. The only thing that kept them afloat last year was their goaltending. Matt Chieco was brilliant in the net, and he rightfully won Section 2 Goalie of the Year. However, he’s gone this year, as is their other goalie, the nearly equally talented David Mackey. Jared Vandeloo will replace Chieco in the net, after transferring back from CBA. However, it seems like the goaltending situation is a question mark for Shen, as they kept 4 other tenders in addition to Vandeloo, meaning they might not have a ton of confidence in anybody that they kept. The Plainsmen don’t have a ton of guys returning either. Only 4 seniors are left over from last year’s team, namely Hayden Haldane. Haldane is a saving grace for this team. He was supposed to play for the Junior Bruins, but decided to stay with Shen. He’ll almost certainly be the team’s leading scorer this year. He was the only Plainsmen player to score over 10 goals last season, and he led the team with 18 points. They’re going to struggle to score again this year, and they need their blueliners to step up. Other bad news struck when defenseman Jared Lambright left the school to play at Northwood. He was the team’s best defender as a freshman last season. They need guys like Adam Doescher and Tom Relyea to step up, and Jared Vandeloo will need to bring his A-game every night for these guys to contend.

CBA Brothers

Last season: (10-11-0, 9-6-0)

Key losses: Rob West, Owen Greene, Sean Mesick

Key returners: Hunter Pemrick, Justin Bryar, Peter Galica

The Brothers had their best season in several years last season, finishing 5th in the section. This was largely due to their senior leadership. Rob West, Owen Greene, and Sean Mesick were the captains last season, and they all graduated. The Brothers have the tall task of naming 3 new captains, but they do have talent. Sophomore forward Hunter Pemrick looks to build on his strong freshman campaign, where he scored 18 goals with 15 assists. He’ll also look to shake off the stigma that he feasted on the worse teams, as he scored 3 goals in 7 games against the top 4 teams, and 15 goals in 14 games against every other team. Junior Andrew Mesick will see more playing time, as will Jake Bundy and Ryan Munro. Justin Bryar is entering his second year as the starting goaltender, and looking to build off a sophomore year where he went 10-9-2 with a .877 Save % and a 3.10 GAA. He’ll be protected by defensemen Jake Manion, Peter Galica, Alex Cardinale, and Josh Edmunds. The defense is going to need to step up, as they lost their top 2 blueliners from last season, in Owen Green and Sean Mesick. Peter Galica is primed for a big year as well, as he scored 6 goals with 2 assists last year as the team’s third defenseman. He’ll use his high-end speed to generate offense and goals for the Brothers, and can be a very effective player if used correctly by coach Blaine Drescher. They’re going to need all these guys to stay healthy to win games. This team has come a long way from their 4-17-0 team from 2 years ago, but they don’t seem quite ready to win the title.

La Salle Cadets

Last season: (7-15-1, 4-10-1)

Key losses: Zach Hurst, Brendan Haverty

Key returners: Logan DiScanio, Ryan Murray, Kevin Mainello, Zac Rentz

The Cadets had a very disappointing year last season, winning just 7 games 2 years after they won 14. Their top 3 scorers, Logan DiScanio, Kevin Mainello, and Ryan Murray, all return this year. They lost goalie Zach Hurst, but can replace him in the form of Zac Rentz. The Hurst story is one in itself. In 2014-15, he led the section with a .920 save %, and carried the team on his back. However, in 2015-16, he posted just an .886 save %. Fellow captain and their best defenseman, Brendan Haverty, is also gone. They’ll need Trevor Carpenter, Christian Rudd, Matt Luke, and others to step up in his place. This team will put the puck in the net consistently. DiScanio, Mainello, and Murray make up one of the best lines in the Section, and they’ll be a threat to score at all times. Zac Rentz has been playing extremely well with the 18U team, and he’ll be big for this team this year. The Cadets will take a big step forward from last year’s squad.

Tri-Falls Rivermen

Last season: (11-12-0, 6-6-0 S2)

Key losses: Nolan Murphy, Will Thomas, Andrew Bulmer, Owen Johnston

Key returners: Jared Thomas, Jordan Willis

Tri-Falls made history last year when they upset Shen in the first round of sectionals, and then defeated La Salle in the semi-finals to appear in their first Section 2 championship game in program history. The championship game did not go well, ending in an 8-1 loss to Saratoga. They lost some huge guys as well. Captains Nolan Murphy and Will Thomas are gone, as are alternate captains Andrew Bulmer and Dylan Johnston. Their other major loss is starting goalie Owen Johnston. He’ll likely be replaced by senior Brendan Meehan. They still have one of the section’s best players in junior Jared Thomas, but they need guys around him to step up. They’ll need a big contribution out of junior Jordan Willis, who recorded 29 points last year. Willis and Thomas will be the main two guys, but they don’t have a ton around them. Guys like Kenny MacDuff, Matt Goodbred, Drew Nizolek, Justin Nolan, Vinny Marine, and Andrew Rizzo should have bigger roles this year, and most should be expected to contribute more. With the move down to Division 2 this year, they’ll look to end Queensbury’s run of 9 straight D2 titles, the last 3 by default (Queensbury has been the only Section 2 team in Division 2 since 2013).

Last season: (6-15-1, 3-10-0 S2)

Key losses: Evan Maloney, Kevin Canty, James Blanchfield

Key returners: Joey Laurange

The Mohawks had some good players last year, but lacked key cogs to get the team off the ground. They finished 9th in the section last year, despite having guys like Evan Maloney (29 points), Kevin Canty (38 points), Zack LeBlanc (15 points), Cliff Vitkin (17 points), and James Blanchfield (.900 save %). The bad news? Every single one of these players is now gone. The best player left is Joey Laurange, who had 14 goals and 23 points as a sophomore last year. He’ll continue to develop into a very good player, but they don’t have a ton of substance around him. Tony Cotugno is the only goalie on the roster this season. He had a .818 save % and a 5.07 GAA last year. They’ll need a huge improvement from him, and big years from a lot of guys. Oh, and they only have 15 players, making them the smallest team in Section 2. Overall, the Mohawks seem like they just lost too much to contend this season.

Queensbury Spartans

Last season: (3-17-1, 3-9-1 S2)

Key losses: Teddy Nolan

Key returners: Ryan Mosher

Queensbury had a rough season last year, losing 17 games, their most in team history. They’re no longer the powerhouse that they once were, going 24-56-5 from 2012 to now, after they went 102-20-6 from 2006-11. Still, they automatically won the Section 2 title for Division 2, since no other teams were currently in D2. That will change this year, as Tri-Falls has moved into D2, meaning they’ll have to compete against each other for that title. They lost their outstanding goaltender Teddy Nolan, who posted a .902 save % during his senior season. Owen Smith should take over, which sends mixed signals. He’s only a sophomore, and he had a .812 save % as the backup tender last season. Senior forward Ryan Mosher will be the leading scorer for the Spartans for the second straight year. He led the team with just 15 points last season. The defensemen will be fine, though. Dean Williams is one of the best and most well-respected coaches in Section 2, and he’s always been good with his defensemen. Overall, this team should still struggle a bit again this season without reliable goaltending.

Shaker/Colonie Jets

Last season: (4-16-1, 2-9-1 S2)

Key losses: Jimmy Morrison, Mark Egan

Key returners: Zach Turnbull, Tyler Wilson, Sean Orr

The Jets struggled last year, losing 16 games for the second consecutive year. This team was plagued by their bad goaltending last season, finishing 10th in the Section despite scoring the 5th-most goals in the league. They lost their two leading scorers, Jimmy Morrison (32 pts) and Mark Egan (30 pts). However, they do still have a really talented D-pairing, with Zach Turnbull (22 pts), and Sean Orr (17 pts). Forward Tyler Wilson should improve on his strong sophomore campaign, where he recorded 11 goals with 14 assists. However, despite these 3 strong players returning, they have huge issues at goalie that could drag this team all the way down. The two goalies, Connor Harris and Ali Caruso, combined for a .785 save % and a 5.94 GAA. If they can’t fix this problem, there’s no way that the Jets can improve on last year’s team, no matter how many goals they score.

Guilderland/Mohonasen/Scotia-Glenville Storm

Last season: (2-15-0, 0-12-0 S2)

Key losses: Eddie Harasiemowicz, Dustin Kent

Key returners: Dan Cooper, Kyle Bennett, Anthony Sericolo

The Storm have been the worst team in Section 2 history ever since they’ve joined, and it doesn’t look like that will change anytime soon. They’ve gone 6-77-2 in their 5-year history. They scored 18 goals as an entire team last season, and their leading scorers, Kyle Bennett and Anthony Sericolo, each had 6 points. Junior goalie Dan Cooper posted an .886 save %, and a 5.88 GAA. He is a pretty talented goalie, but he faces so many shots that it’s just impossible to not let in a few. He made 779 saves last season, which led the Section, and it wasn’t  even close. One of the few positives they can take away is that they didn’t lead the Section in goals allowed, finishing 25 goals behind Shaker/Colonie. They finally have a full roster this year, and actually have the largest team in the section with 30 players rostered. They can chalk that up to the fact that they added Voorheesville and Schalmont to their team, making them technically known as GMSVS. Overall, while it’s a start, it might not help them in the standings.

Dylan McGlynn

Ballston Spa alum, student at Oswego state. Member since 2015.

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