• Mike Gurnis

Halvorsen Division preview capsules, 2019-20

KINNELON

Coach: Jeff Myrhen, 14th year (165-126-33 career record)

Last year: 12-7-4, Halvorsen Cup champions, Public C Round of 16

Key losses: Everest Schneider, F; Craig Smith, F.

Top returners: Joey Arnold (15 g., 7 a.), So., F; Jared Fatzer (4 g., 10 a.), Sr., D; Mitchell Fradkin (4 a.), So., D; Timothy Hausler (7 g., 16 a.), Sr., F; Hayden Hishmeh (6 a.), Sr., D; Christopher Kosco (2 g., 10 a.), Sr., D; Connor LaPenna (4 g., 1 a.), Sr., F; Brett Lewis (.913 sv%), Jr., G.

Newcomers to watch: None listed.

Outlook: With a really strong senior class, the reigning Halvorsen Cup champions will rely on their veteran defense and a standout goaltender in Lewis. Just four seniors are gone from a year ago, and the Colts should once again be near the top of the division.


MENDHAM

Coach: John Kovacs, 23rd year (255-246-43 career record)

Last year: 22-4, Haas Cup champions, Public C quarterfinals

Key losses: Jake Marszalek, F.

Top returners: Tristan Aitkenhead (10 g., 31 a.), So., F; Ryan Bruin (27 g., 38 a.), Sr., F; Sean Caddo, So., D; Griffin Jozefek (7 g., 8 a.), So., F; Jordan Larrabee, Sr., D; Liam Lloyd (12 g., 7 a.), So., F; Gavin Marshuetz, So., F; Sean Mason (7 g., 1 a.), Sr., D; Connor McDonough, (.938 sv%) So., G; Cameron Weil, Jr., D.

Newcomers to watch: Robert Bruin, Fr., F; Matt Cooley, So., F; Michael Gionco, Fr., F; E.J. Gleie, Fr., F; Mac Goggin, Fr., D; Ian Tamboowalla, Fr., F.

Outlook: There has been a trend of teams rising through the divisions of the MCSSIHL in recent years with Madison and Vernon both jumping up multiple divisions. With a young and talented core coming off of a Haas Cup in 2018, Mendham could be next in line as it should be immediately in the mix for the Halvorsen title.


MONTVILLE

Coach: Alex Beatrice, third year (25-15-5 career record)

Last year: 8-12-1, Halvorsen Cup semifinalist

Top returners: Marco Mangano, Sr., D; Joe Nuzzi (13 g., 19 a.), Sr., F; Brendan Peretta (5 g., 12 a.), Sr., F; Connor Perez, Jr., F; Adrian Prelich (.904 sv%), Jr., G; Daniel Scheine (13 g., 9 a.), Sr., F; Matt Szwagulinski (4 g., 8 a.) Sr., D.

Newcomers to watch: Michael Chang, Fr., F; Matt Crowell, Fr., D.

Outlook: Montville has high hopes going into the 2019-20 season with a very experienced core of upperclassmen returning. It struggled last year in its first year in the Halvorsen after winning the Haas Cup in 2017-18, and now it is a team that should take a step forward in this division.


ROXBURY

Coach: Jon Benbow, 15th year (186-148-35 career record)

Last year: 5-11-4, lost in Halvorsen Cup quarterfinals

Key losses: Doug DiDomenico, F; Brendan Hartos, F; Michael Kovach, D; Tyler Marsten, G.

Top returners: Ethan Barooah, Sr., D; Ryan Callahan, Jr., G; Joe Carey, Sr., F; Chris Catania, Sr., G; Nick Hefferle (11 g., 7 a.), Sr., F; Kyle Jenkins, Jr., D; Kevin Keane (13 g., 7 a.), Sr., F; Jake Kooyenga, Jr., F; Nick Thomas, Jr., F; Brian Westergaard, Jr., F.

Newcomers to watch: Jack Calanni, Fr., F; Nick Falco, Fr., F; Gavin Woudenberg, Fr., D.

Outlook: After a down year, Roxbury will look to rise back up towards the top of the Halvorsen Division as it is just two years removed from its last Halvorsen Cup title. It certainly has the talent to return to the state playoffs after a two-year absence.


SPARTA-JEFFERSON

Coach: Bob Smith, second year (4-14-4 career record)

Last year: 4-14-4, lost in Halvorsen Cup semifinals

Top returners: James Battaglia (10 g., 2 a.), Jr., F; Alex Cohen (2 g., 8 a.), Sr., F; Matt Espinosa, Jr., D; Matthew Francescutto (8 g., 5 a.), Jr., F; Logan Hanek (.897 sv%), Sr., G; Josh Harmel (.856 sv%), Jr., G; Justin Hiler, Sr., D/F; Kehgan McCarthy, Sr., D; Brenden Reilly, Jr., F; Kyle Sutton, Jr., F.

Outlook: While Sparta-Jefferson’s record may have been disappointing, the team was reasonably competitive in games throughout the season, which included late-season ties with Morristown and Vernon, as well as a shootout win over Roxbury in the Halvorsen Cup. With a good group returning backboned by an experienced netminder in Hanek, it will be interesting to see what type of season it puts together in a very competitive Halvorsen.


VERNON

Coach: Ray Zimmerman, 16th year (182-165-24 career record)

Last year: 13-8-3, Sussex Cup champion, Halvorsen Cup runner-up, lost in Public C Round of 16

Key losses: Shane Brennan, F; Jack Bokun, D; Cole Brennan, F; J.T. Doyle, F; Adam Driscoll, F.

Top returners: Lucas Brennan, So., F; Ozzie Deluca (.889 sv%), Jr., G; Jacob King (.872 sv%), Jr., G; Alex Paul, Jr., D/F; T.J. Quimby, Jr; T.J. Santaita (4 g., 4 a.), Sr., F; Dylan Shea, So., F; Ayden Steinbach (6 g.), Jr., F; Evan Steinbach, So., F; Carlie Van Tassel (2 g., 4 a.), Sr., F; Joey Weingram, Sr., F.

Outlook: Vernon won the Halvorsen regular season title for the first time in program history, but late-season injuries derailed its Halvorsen Cup hopes and the team lost early in the state tournament. A strong young core returns, but will it be enough to stay near the top of the division?


Did we miss something? Please e-mail all corrections to michaelgurnis@gmail.com.

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