Park Regional 2021 preview: Trio of DePinto, Karpinski, Schauder to lead the way
PARK REGIONAL (Whippany Park/Hanover Park co-op)
Head coach: Tom Levis, 26th season. 285 career wins which include seven Haas Cup titles.
Last year: Park Regional had an outstanding regular season in 2019-20, in which it finished with a 17-3-4 record. It rode an 18-game unbeaten streak to take the Haas Division regular season title, but was upset by Gill St. Bernard's in the Haas Cup semifinals. It saw its season end with a loss to Middletown South in the first round of the NJSIAA Public B state tournament.
Key losses: Tyler Cross, F. Jack Stein, D. Mike Shauger, D. Steven Carter, F. Mike DeRosa, D. Eian Carbone, F. Joey Demartinis, F. Marco Demartinis, F. Nick Mayor, F. Mike Petriella, F.
This year's squad: Park Regional goes into the 2021 season needing to replace a lot of offensive production after graduating 10 seniors, including Haas Division MVP Tyler Cross. Luckily enough, it will be able to count on its second leading scorer from a year ago in Angelo DePinto (18 g., 30 a.) who will lead the forwards. After that, it will look to sophomore Mike Monahan (6 g., 9 a.), junior Anthony Spagnoletti (3 g., 6 a.), along with newcomers in sophomore Stanley Gelman, sophomore Jason Harty, senior Russell Morgan, senior Peter Solomine, and sophomore Matthew Lasota.
On defense, it will be led by junior Eddie Karpinski who will play the tough minutes and will be counted on to chip in offensively, as he did last season to the tune of 13 goals and 19 assists. He'll be joined by sophomore Wyatt Lieto (5 a.), and senior Kyle Blanchfield. The blue line will also be bolstered by the return of junior Jason Cirillo, who missed time last season due to an injury and can be counted on to play either forward or defense.
In goal, junior A.J. Schauder is back after getting the bulk of the starts a year ago, and posted an impressive .942 save percentage. Sophomore Matt Carter will also be counted on.
Outlook: It's reasonable to expect Park Regional to take a bit of a step back this season after graduating as much talent as it did from a year ago. But while there are question marks of who will step up to fill the void left by last year's senior class, there are some nice pieces to build around, starting with Schauder in net, Karpinski on the blue line, and DePinto up front. It will be tough sledding in the Haas Division this season with the reigning Haas Cup champion Mountain Lakes-Boonton returning most of its roster, an improving Gill St. Bernard's program, and the addition of Vernon to the division. But Levis' program is a proud one that is always a tough out in this division, and if the aforementioned trio of players can continue their strong play combined with some younger players stepping up quickly, it should find a way to get into the Haas Cup tournament this year (the top four of six teams qualify).
Jan. 16 -- vs. Mount Olive-Hopatcong-Hackettstown (Mennen Arena), 8:15 p.m.
Jan. 21 -- vs. Mountain Lakes-Boonton (Mennen Arena), 4:15 p.m.
Jan. 23 -- vs. Gill St. Bernard's (Mennen Arena), 4:15 p.m.
Jan. 27 -- vs. West Morris (Mennen Arena), 4 p.m.
Feb. 4 -- vs. Vernon (Mennen Arena), 4:15 p.m.
Feb. 6 -- at Vernon (Skylands Ice World), 8 p.m.
Feb. 10 -- vs. Mount Olive-Hopatcong-Hackettstown (Mennen Arena), 4 p.m.
Feb. 15 -- vs. West Morris (Mennen Arena), 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 18 -- vs. Gill St. Bernard's (Mennen Arena), 6:15 p.m.
Feb. 22 -- vs. Mountain Lakes-Boonton (Mennen Arena), 6:30 p.m.