Area hockey teams ready for new season

By Evan Macy

Sports Editor

 

When it’s cold outside, that means it’s cold inside too. At least when it comes to ice hockey rinks across the state, as the 2013-14 season begins for teams in North-Central Connecticut.

 

Fermi/Enfield/East Granby/Stafford

Though their All-State goaltender from a year ago, Aaron Lickwar, is now playing hockey with the Boston Junior Rangers, the Falcons ice hockey squad returns many pieces from a successful squad last year, hungry for a big 2013-14.

Led by a quartet of dynamic key returning players, tough, hard-nosed hockey will be the mantra for the Falcons in the new season.

“I expect this team to be a bit of a lunch pail crew who can grind it out every game,” head coach Frank Genovese said. “Our goal is to be a tough team to play against.”

Leading the charge for the Falcons will be smooth skating Matt Boulette, whose big size will be an asset for the front three offensively. Last year he had six goals and six assists.

Another key offensive weapon is Brian Riley, a junior who Genovese describes as having “quick hands and a great scoring touch.” That touch netted him 22 points last season.

On defense, Ryan Gothers and Ernie Bouthiette will lead the charge, with the junior, Gothers, returning after a +5 rating last season.

“A strong kid, skates and passes well,” Genovese said of Gothers.

Bouthiette is a senior and a great skater who works hard in the corners and will take on a larger roll this year in a tough defense.

“We return six solid defensemen, many of whom had a regular shift last year,” the coach said. “That will be our strength. Most can play in any situation as well. Given that, hopefully we are difficult to score on. While we have some talented forwards, we would need some secondary scoring from players who are unproven at this level.

Tri-Town 

(East Windsor/Somers/Ellington)

After just one win last season, the Tri-Town hockey team expects a pretty big increase in wins after a down year in 2012-13.

Three captains, one per school, look to  lead the way as Somers’ Connor Wylie will take the reigns as locker room leader with assistants Nick Violette, from Ellington and Rudy O’konis, from East Windsor.

The three forwards will lead a team that is in great shape for the new campaign ahead.

“Our strength is conditioning and discipline in all aspects of the game,” head coach Jesse Peters said prior to his first team as the head coach, “including teamwork, game plan and penalties.”

Peters has volunteered with the program since 2001, was a full time Assistant in 2003 leaving for two seasons 09-10 and 10-11. He also was also a player on the inaugural Tri-town team in 1990.

Paul Dowe was the coach last year, and Peters hopes to continue the legacy of sportsmanship and tough play with Tri-Town. Peters helped guide Windsor-Avon-East Granby to a 17-6 record and a Division III semis in 2010-11.

“Our success will depend on our ability to get production from all three lines on a nightly basis,” the coach said. “We need to be unselfish and score the less glamorous goals in front of the net.”

Tri-Town is young, and will need to replace 10 departed players from last year.

“We have lost double digit players the past two plus seasons to graduation, private schools and Junior Hockey,” he said. “Our team is young so we will be relying heavily on our experienced players.”

Some other key returnees include forward Ryan Gaidos, goalie, Alex Bliesner,  defenseman, Tom Burgess, forward Jay Skorulski and forward Ryan Sherba.

Suffield/Granby/Windsor Locks

The Wildcats were a below .500 squad last season, but this season should see them contend more with consistency and experience returning in 2013-14 after an 8-11-1 campaign a year ago.

All-State junior forward Jake King returns after 21 goals and 15 assists last season. Head coach Nick Boorman describes King, a captain, as a “positive leader, hard worker, great ice vision and playmaker.”

He has 43 points in his two seasons with the Wildcats, the first as a defenseman.

Two more key offensive weapons returning are Max Marson, a speedster who netted four goals and 11 assists last year, and Colin MacDouglad, who had two goals and nine assists as a freshman.

Boorman says the teams strengths are “team defense, team speed, teamwork, work ethic, perseverance, and puck movement.”

Much of that defense and puck movement is provided by a pair of talented netminders in Shane Kertanis and Cam Clark.

Kertanis is a junior and allowed 2.7 goals per game last year. “He is dedicated to success,” Boorman said.

The other keeper, Cam Clark, will be a senior and looks to improve his 2.9 goals against average.

“He lives and breathes Wildcats Hockey,” Boorman said. “He is dedicated to success.”

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