• Mike Gurnis

Randolph 2021 preview: Reigning champs must replace key scorers

RANDOLPH RAMS


Head coach: Rich McLaughlin, 30th year (28th year at Randolph). 440-176-66 career record at Randolph, 458-188-68 overall record.


Division: Mennen


Last year: Randolph won the program's ninth state title and first since 2015 with an overtime win over Ridge in the Public B title game. It finished with an impressive 21-3-4 overall record, and also reached the Mennen Cup final, where it lost to Morristown-Beard.


Key losses: J.T. Zangara, F. Michael Sofia, D. Justin Harper, F. Ray McNamara, D. Evan Xhumba, F. Ben Redgate, F. Chris Civetta, F. Gavin Einfeldt, G. Kyle Barbera, F (transfer). Nick Gallo, F (transfer).


This year's squad: Randolph is going to have a lot of talent to replace from last year's state championship team, specifically on the offensive side of things- most notably, the team's leading scorer in J.T. Zangara. The Rams scored 127 goals in 2019-20, and the players that are back this season scored just 27 goals on varsity last season. In total, Randolph graduated 12 players and lost four additional players to club/prep.


The players that Randolph has coming back up front are certainly talented, however. It begins with sophomore Ben Yurchuk, who was the team's second-leading scorer last season (15 g., 27 a.) as a freshman. Zach Gallo also put up solid numbers as a freshman (12 g., 19 a.). It will have some senior leadership from Luke Spagnuolo as well.


On defense, the Rams will be led by senior Matt Cislo (1 g., 8 a.), while senior Joe Yutsus figures to take over in goal, replacing last year's starter in Gavin Einfeldt.


Outlook: It is certainly glaring to see the amount of talent that Randolph won't have on the ice this winter from last season. In a very difficult Mennen Division in which Randolph figures to be the youngest team of the five, it appears an uphill battle will be in store for this team. That said, this team always finds a way to be a factor and it is no accident that this program, led by McLaughlin, has been playing at a high level year-in and year-out. As much as this team lost from last year's championship squad, it should still be right in the thick of things in the Mennen Division as it always is.


2021 SCHEDULE

Jan. 16 -- Morris Knolls-Hills (Mennen Arena), 6:15 p.m.

Jan. 19 -- Morristown (Mennen Arena), 6 p.m.

Jan. 28 -- Morristown-Beard (Mennen Arena), 6:15 p.m.

Jan. 30 -- Chatham (Mennen Arena), 6:15 p.m.

Feb. 5 -- Morris Knolls-Hills (Mennen Arena), 8 p.m.

Feb. 11 -- Morristown (Mennen Arena), 6:15 p.m.

Feb. 17 -- Morristown-Beard (Mennen Arena), 7:45 p.m.

Feb. 24 -- Chatham (Mennen Arena), 7:45 p.m.

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