High school ice hockey preview 2014-15

Unionville_Rustin_14It’s that time of year when the air turns crisp and the ponds begin to freeze over and the local rinks begin to fill with parents, fans and players as hockey returns to Chester County for the 2014-15 season.

This year, the Daily Local News will be bringing more coverage than ever before in the paper and on the new blog, ChesCo Hockey Haven (www.chescohockey.wordpress.com).

So strap on your pads, lace up the skates and grab your stick as the Daily Local News brings you its preview of all 20 teams in our area.



Avon Grove
2013-14 record: 13-3-1, finishing second in the division.
Playoffs: Lost 4-1 to DMA in the Championship game.
Head coach: Bill Dixson
Key players: F Pat Huver, D Nick Denise, D Jake Beck, G Ryan Lloyd
Outlook: Avon Grove may have lost a couple high-scoring players, but there are plenty of others who will be able to take their place and keep them near or at the top of the division.
Coach’s quote: “We have a very strong sophomore and junior crew and a promising influx of freshmen,” Dixson said. “Our team goal this year is to finish in the top of our division and take the championship.”

2013-14 record: 10-4-1
Playoffs: Lost 5-4 to Hodgson in the first round.
Head coach: Kevin O’Dowd
Key players: F Jack Dresibach, F Ryan Johnson, F Ryan Ganly, F Evan Brown, D Johnathon Ganly, D Matt Smith, D Patrick O’Dowd, G Sean Edmonds
Outlook: Kennett lost a lot of its point producers in Tommy Dougherty and Jake Istre, who totaled for 94 points, and now has a young team this season. It will be up to the veterans of the team to lead the way, starting in net with goaltender Sean Edmonds.
Coach’s quote: “This year’s Kennett team will be working to spread the ice to get greater goal production from more players,” O’Dowd said. “Kennett will have to develop some young defensemen and we will be relying heavily on the experience of goalie Sean Edmonds. Kennett will focus on a disciplined style of play to stay out of the penalty box and to capitalize on power-play opportunities. This young team is expected to develop and mature as the season progresses. If they live up to their potential, they could be a threat come playoff time.”

Head coach: Harry Giovan
Key players: Dylan Kane, Bryce Lindsay
Outlook: It’s tough to be the new kid on the block, but that’s exactly who Oxford is this season as it joins a very competitive division. That’s not to say Oxford won’t be battling for a playoff spot as the team is stocked with talent.
Coach’s quote: “The No. 1 expectation is that we want to grow and we want to learn from the beginning of the year to the end of the year,” Giovan said. “We want to look back and go, ‘Hey, see how we started? Look how far we’ve come.’ If we win most of our games, great. If we lose most of our games, okay. It’s not that great, but we are striving to have the kids learn and have fun.”



2013-14 record: 4-12-2, finishing ninth in the conference.
Playoffs: Did not play.
Flyers Cup: Did not play.
Head coach: Mike Graves
Key players: F Tim Muir, D Jack Reitnour
Outlook: It was a tough 2013-14 for Conestoga and the roster took a big hit at the end of the season after a good handful graduated. This year could prove to be another tough one for the Pioneers in a conference with teams such as Garnet Valley and Springfield.
Coach’s quote: “A key group of returning seniors will guide a core of younger players in a rebuilding year after graduating eight seniors from last year,” Graves said.


Downingtown East
2013-14 record: 13-9-0, finishing fourth in the conference.
Playoffs: Lost 3-2 to West Chester Henderson in the Ches-Mont Championship game.
Flyers Cup AA: Lost 2-1 to North Penn in the first round.
Head coach: Dave Hendricks
Key players: F Bobby Keifer, F Joe Kubachka, F Jack Magee, D David Rosati, G Jeff Cummings
Outlook: Downingtown East still has a threatening roster, especially with the likes of Collin Harple and Joe Kubachka. Goaltender Jeff Cummings impressed in his freshman year and should be even better this season.
Coach’s quote: “We have a strong returning core and some very high-end, skilled players in key positions,” Hendricks said. “We’re always shooting for the Flyers Cup. That’s always our goal. Ches-Mont is nice and I think we’ll be right there.”

Downingtown West
2013-14 record: 12-8-0, finishing eighth in the conference.
Playoffs: Lost 6-3 to Unionville in the first round.
Flyers Cup A: Lost 4-2 to Upper Moreland in the first round.
Head coach: Ryan Smith
Key players: F Chris Fabry, F Alec Higgins, F Joshua Rikess, G John Kelly
Outlook: With a dynamic freshman player in Zach Hanaway and a strong goaltender in John Kelly, Downingtown West could easily turn some heads this season.
Coach’s quote: “The expectation for the season is to be .500, make the Flyers Cup and play in the Flyers AA Cup for the first time and see where it goes,” Smith said. “We’re going to be leaning on the key guys.”

Great Valley
2013-14 record: 5-12-1, finishing 13th in the conference.
Playoffs: Did not play.
Flyers Cup A: Lost 4-2 to Hershey in the play-in round.
Head Coach: Ladd Clark
Key players: F Conor Loftus, F Hayden Mathias, F Andrew Ungvary, G Evan Christian
Outlook: The Ches-Mont is a tough conference, but Great Valley is looking to be a contender and has a good shot at making it into the postseason come March.
Coach’s quote: “We have high hopes,” Clark said. “We have a bunch of good, senior leaders and a good mix of youth of freshmen and sophomores. We’re looking forward to a big year.”

2013-14: 16-3-1, finishing first in the conference.
Playoffs: Lost 6-5 to West Chester Henderson in the semifinals.
Flyers Cup A: Lost 4-3 to West Chester East in the quarterfinals.
Head coach: Bill Hammond
Key players: F Matt Kowash, F Gabe Masters, F Danny Hargadon, D Danny Donovan, D John Hargadon, D Parker Wine
Outlook: Unionville may have graduated talent, but it still has a team deep in skill and will be a danger to play against every night.
Coach’s quote: “I’d like to see us go further than we did last year,” Hammond said. “We underachieved last year. The kids understand they have the talent to go as far as they want to take it, but we have some good teams in the way to play. You have to respect teams like Rustin and Henderson. We have to go out and put consistent hockey together every game. I think we can be where we want to be, but we have a long way to go and we have to work hard for it.”

West Chester East
2013-14 record: 9-8-2, finishing 10th in the conference.
Playoffs: Lost 3-2 to Downingtown West in the play-in round.
Flyers Cup A: Lost 7-1 to Springfield in the semifinals.
Head coach: Drew Cox
Key players: F Bill Stewart, F Mike Roberta, F Chris Rodier, F Eddie Russell, D Kevin Cleary, D Michael Eland, G Joe Stacy
Outlook: Several of West Chester East’s top point producers will be back this season and with the addition of a good group of new players, West Chester East can make some noise in the conference this season.
Coach’s quote: “We always have high expectations to vie for a league championship and to be selected for and make a run at the Flyers Cup,” Cox said. “This season is no different with an experienced group of veterans, with seven players still on the team from the 2013 State Championships, along with some highly skilled underclassmen joining the team this year. We are looking to play more consistently than last season and hopefully be a top team in the league this year.”

West Chester Henderson
2013-14 record: 14-6-1, finishing third in the conference.
Playoffs: Won 3-2 over Downingtown East to claim the Ches-Mont Championship.
Flyers Cup A: Lost 3-2 in overtime to West Chester Rustin in the semifinals.
Head coach: Scott DiRico
Key players: F Matt Carreras, F Sean Miller, F Eric Beren, F Jarrett Slear, D Dylan Knox, D Ryan Tench, G Tyler Bonjo, G Connor Carroll
Outlook: West Chester Henderson lost the best player in the league in Eric Carreras, who graduated, but younger brother Matt can easily step into his skates. Henderson also packs arguably the best 1-2 punch in net with goaltenders Connor Carroll and Tyler Bonjo.
Coach’s quote: “The expectations are the same as they always are,” DiRico said. “We want to finish first in the league, repeat as Ches-Mont Champs and win the Flyers Cup for the first time since 2007.”

West Chester Rustin
2013-14 record: 15-3-2, finishing second in the conference.
Playoffs: Lost 3-0 to Downingtown East in the semifinals.
Flyers Cup A: Won 4-1 over Springfield to claim the Flyers Cup A Championship.
A State Championships: Won 5-2 over Quaker Valley to claim the Pennsylvania High School Hockey ‘A’ Championship.
Head coach: Nick Russo
Key players: F Brett Christie, D Michael Grande, G Jason Grande
Outlook: West Chester Rustin kept a solid core of players, especially in the Grande brothers. The team will be just as good as the year before and will fight to retain the State title.
Coach’s quote: “I’m really looking forward to this season,” Russo said. “We are deep defensively and in goal and defense wins championships. It’s also fun to be defending State Champs. You have a big bull’s-eye on your back and it won’t be easy to defend. Let’s face it, the Ches-Mont is the SEC of high school hockey. No one is weak.”


Bishop Shanahan
2013-14 record: 2-15-0, finishing 15th in the conference.
Playoffs: Did not play.
Flyers Cup: Did not play.
Head coach: Jim McHugh
Key players: F Joseph Moran, F Brandon Fonticoba, D Kevin Conners, D Patrick O’Donohoe, G Alex DeGarmo
Outlook: Bishop Shanahan moved from the Ches-Mont over to the new PCL conference this season and will face some stiff competition. The team will look to goaltender Alex DeGarmo to steal them games.
Coach’s Quote: “We have a lot of new players and a couple of young guys we’re really looking forward to,” said assistant coach Patrick Folan. “We’re going to compete.”


Malvern Prep
2013-14: 14-5-1, finishing third in the conference.
Playoffs: Lost 3-0 to St. Joseph’s Prep in the AAA Championship game.
Flyers Cup AAA: Lost 5-2 to St. Joseph’s Prep in the semifinals.
Head coach: Dave Dorman
Key players: F Joey Abel, F Troy Stendland, F Tyler Belle, F Doug Hook, D Michael Shrader, D Michael Churchvara
Outlook: The Prep conference may be small, but it’s a tough one. However, Malvern Prep is up to the task with a very skilled team from top to bottom.
Coach’s quote: “Expectations are very high,” said assistant coach Dave Defusco. “We are a senior-heavy team and have a lot of talent. We’re going to be a very strong team in the offensive zone and have a nice, stout defense also senior-heavy. We love our goaltending. We have to take advantage of this team we have. This comes around only every-so-often when you have this many seniors that are this good.”


Girls Varsity

Avon Grove
2013-14 record: 2-12-1, finishing 10th in the division.
Playoffs: Did not play.
Flyers Cup Girls: Lost 7-2 to West Chester East in the play-in round.
Head coach: Gene Aucott
Key players: F Heidi Hunter, F Gabby Manocchio, G Alyssa Adie
Outlook: With several new players on the team, Avon Grove won’t be at the top of the standings, but they will chip away at becoming a better team with each game.
Coach’s quote: “We want to improve on skills,” said assistant coach Leigh Anne Vetland. “We have a lot of new players this year. It’s just learning the game and also our girls bonding as a team and having fun, which has always been the motto of Avon Grove. We never look at the scoreboard. Hockey is about fun and we encourage that.”

Bishop Shanahan
2013-14 record: 5-9-1, finishing ninth in the division.
Playoffs: Did not play.
Flyers Cup Girls: Did not play.
Head coach: Tom Petrondi
Key players: F Haley Reid, F Kimberly Piechowski, F Christine Lampron, D Mikaila Rubin, G Sara Petrondi
Outlook: Bishop Shanahan will be at or near the top all season long and has a lethal offense thanks to the addition of Christine Lampron.
Coach’s quote: “This year, I think we’ll be in the top three or four as far as teams,” Petrondi said. “We have some good players and we have some young players. Our team is a level team. We just teach a positive attitude and to go have fun.”

2013-14 record: 10-7-1, finishing fifth in the division.
Playoffs: Lost 5-2 to Unionville in the Girls Varsity Championship game.
Flyers Cup Girls: Lost 5-4 to Downingtown East in the semifinals.
Head coach: Kathy Borzell
Key players: F Michaela Caldwell, F Priscilla Orr, G Sarah Brock
Outlook: Conestoga put up one tough fight in the championship game against Unionville and with the top two point producers returning this season, they should be a force to reckon with.
Coach’s Quote: “The Conestoga Girls Varsity Ice Hockey team looks to build off of one of their most successful seasons last year,” Borzell said. “The team’s league-leading offense returns relatively intact. A few key holes need to be filled in the defensive ranks, but with an experienced goalie, the ‘Stoga girls are ready to take a run at the championship.”

Downingtown East
2013-14 record: 11-3-2, finishing third in the division.
Playoffs: Lost 5-2 to Conestoga in the first round.
Flyers Cup Girls: Won 6-4 over Unionville to claim the Flyers Cup Girls Championship.
Head coach: Lauren Patterson
Key players: D Katie Stueve
Outlook: Still possessing a huge threat in captain Katie Stueve, Downingtown East is poised to repeat as Flyers Cup Champions.
Coach’s quote: “With the captain’s lead-by-example play, the team is looking for a breakout year offensively with hopes of high goal production from a great core of sophomore and junior players,” Patterson said. “The team goal is to not only retain their Flyers Cup, but with the Inter-County League as well.”

Downingtown West
2013-14 record: 11-4-1, finishing fourth in the division.
Playoffs: Lost 3-1 to Lansdale Catholic in the first round.
Flyers Cup Girls: Did not play.
Head coach: Robert Fleming
Key players: F Elizabeth D’Ginto, F Delaney Carle, G Anna Diehl
Outlook: Downingtown West graduated three of its top five goal scorers, but if the key cogs in the offense take their games to an even higher level, Downingtown West will be a contender at the end of the season.
Coach’s quote: “The expectations are high for West this season, even considering the key players that graduated from last season,” Fleming said. “As a club, the primary goal is to continue to grow the sport and the program while setting an example of good sportsmanship. I anticipate another winning season this year and the girls know they will need to work hard to pick up where they left off last season. Overall, my primary goal as coach is to ensure the girls develop a love for the sport, continue to advance their individual skills and come together as a strong team.”

2013-14 record: 16-1-1, finishing first in the division.
Playoffs: Won 5-2 over Conestoga to claim the Girls Varsity Championship.
Flyers Cup Girls: Lost 6-4 to Downingtown East in the Flyers Cup Girls Championship game.
Head coach: Fred Henjes
Key players: No one individual, but a complete team.
Outlook: Unionville didn’t lose very many from last season and with the addition of Madison Douchette, the team may even be better than before.
Coach’s quote: “Every year we always want to go to the Flyers Cup,” said assistant coach Dave Elvin. We always want to compete for a Flyers Cup and League Championship.”

West Chester East
2013-14 record: 6-7-3, finishing seventh in the division.
Playoffs: Lost 7-6 to Strath Haven in the first round.
Flyers Cup Girls: Lost 6-0 to Unionville in the semifinals.
Head coach: Lauren Koller
Key players: F Erin Bonner, F Jada McBride, D Jennifer Porter, G Danielle Latare
Outlook: Inexperience is what will plague West Chester East this season as six players are freshmen, but goaltender Danielle Latare can steal some games for the team as the season progresses.
Coach’s quote: “We have a young team, so we’re just working on a lot of basic skills, working on developing everyone as a team and doing the best that we can and working our hardest,” Koller said.


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