Varsity Hockey

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Excitement Mounts as Will & Co. Aim for Another Post-Season Run

Perhaps no other athletic program at Salisbury carries the heightened expectations, year after year, that varsity hockey does. And over the past decade or so, only varsity baseball has established a legacy to rival that of the bladesmen. It is a burden gladly borne by the coaches and players in the fabled program – a burden lessened somewhat, perhaps, by the knowledge that New England is a hotbed of elite hockey programs, and as other schools gear up for another season, they are likely feeling much the same pressure that the 2017-18 version of the Salisbury Knights faces. With the NHL boasting more prep-school alumni than ever – including Salisbury’s own Paul Carey of the New York Rangers, Brian Gibbons of the New Jersey Devils, and Alex Biega of the Vancouver Canucks – it is evident that the caliber of play is unmatched by any other prep sport.

In addition to their Elite Eight appearance, the 2016-17 edition of the team went 20-8-2 and captured the Housatonic League Championship. Head coach Andrew Will is guarded, though, in his forecast for the season ahead. “Any time a team loses twelve players,” Will said recently, in reference to those from last year’s roster who have moved on to college or junior hockey, “there are going to be questions about how quickly the new guys can acclimate and adjust.”

Those departed players helped lead the Knights to a quarterfinal appearance in last March’s Elite Eight Tournament, so it will, indeed, be a challenge to replace them. What the circumspect Will does not so readily mention is that his returners include a passel of talented and heavily recruited veterans, such as defenseman-captain Nick Hale ’18 from Cary, NC, a Holy Cross commit who contributed 18 points from the blue line in 27 games last year; 16-goal scorer Kevin Wall ’18 of Fairport, NY, who amassed 32 points last season and has committed to Merrimack; fellow 16-goal scorer Matty Holmes ’18 of Rye, NY, who is coming off a 31-point ledger; playmaker extraordinaire Alex DiPaolo ’18 of Oakville, Ontario, who led last year’s troops with 25 assists (32 pts. total) and who will attend UMass Amherst; rugged defenseman Peter Diliberatore ’18 of Bedford, Nova Scotia, who is coming off an 18-point season and has committed to Quinnipiac; and centerman-captain Jacques Bouquot ’18 of South Windsor, CT, a Boston College-commit who lit the red lamp 15 times as a fifth former and assisted on 14 goals. The team’s fortunes will largely rise or fall on the skills and leadership of this assemblage of seniors.

That core group is joined by form-mates Brett Willits ’18 of London, Ontario (5 g., 3 a. in 2016-17) and Nick Lachaine ’18 of Lakeville, CT (1 g., 4 a.). The two forwards both appeared in all 30 games last year. Bennett Psyhogeos ’18, a forward, and Theo McDowell ’18, a defenseman, provide further manpower with varsity playing experience. The under-form ranks also provide Will with experienced returners, including defenseman Noah Lee ’19 from Los Angeles, CA, who also played in every game last year (3 g., 6 a.). Four j.v. veterans from the Nutmeg State move up to the main stage this season as well: goalie Declan Colberg ’18 of New Haven, CT (who did make a spot appearance or two as a sometime back-up last season); defensemen Eddie Tuohy ’18 of Fairfield, CT, and Brendan Reynolds ’18 of Wallingford, CT; and forward Chris Henn ’19 of Woodbridge, CT.

If Salisbury expects to maintain its position among the top programs in New England – and the country – newcomers will need to have a significant impact, and none more so than goalie Brian McGrath ’19, a post-graduate from Franklin, MA, who set up between the pipes over the past four years for Roxbury Latin School. McGrath projects to bear much of the goal-tending burden in the weeks ahead. Forward Chris Brown ’18 of Worcester, MA, previously skated for Groton School. Defenseman Luke Krys ’19 of Ridgefield, CT, also skates with the Westchester Express, while formmate Jared Levine ’19 of Newport Beach, CA, tends the net for the LA Jr. Kings. Levine will partner with McGrath for what shapes up as a strong goalkeeping tandem, a key component for prep teams that sometimes play four games in an eight-day stretch as well as traveling to showcases such as the upcoming Flood-Marr Holiday Tournament with four games over just three days. In addition, defensemen Clay Korpi ’19 of Rye Brook, NY, and Jorgen Krone ’19 of Wilmette, IL, look poised to take regular shifts on the blue line.

A talented clutch of sophomores appears ready for their baptism onto the glistening battlefields of the prep circuit, three of whom have already made college commitments. Colorado Evolution teammates Ilya Usau ’20 from Belarus and Arsenii Smekhov ’20 from Russia will both eventually play at forward for the UConn Huskies. Another forward, Nick Capone ’20 from East Haven H.S. in East Haven, CT, has signed with the University of Maine Black Bears. And the Garden State continues to provide a steady flow of hockey talent as Matt DeBoer ’20 of Madison, NJ, and the NJ Jr. Devils and Michael Fairfax ’20 of Toms River, NJ, and the Mercer Chiefs add their talents to an offensive corps that seems fairly brimming.

Top opponents include many of the usual suspects, as Kimball Union, Avon Old Farms, The Gunnery, Cushing, and Loomis Chaffee all have the talent to contend for the New England crown. Not that Will is ready to concede anything. “We feel we have a talented, motivated, and hard-working group,” the former National Coach of the Year states, “and we’re excited to start working together and get the season started.”


History of the Program

Hockey arrived as an interscholastic sport during the winter of 1904-1905 when twelve boys turned out for practice on frozen Lake Washinee. Early opponents included nearby teams like Searles, Kent and Lakeville. Play was suspended in 1913 due to the difficulty in maintaining acceptable playing surfaces. By 1922, matches had moved to a new hockey pond located next to Route 44. Interscholastic hockey was suspended during most of the 1930s but returned in 1939, when the old boards were resurrected and played on a rink built on the football field. The true "Father of Salisbury Hockey" was coach Roswell "Hop" Rudd, who arrived on the Hilltop in 1948. His teams won the Connatonic League Championship in 1956, 1965, 1966 and 1967.

The team moved indoors in 1967, into what later was named Rudd Rink. Under Coach Matt Corkery the squad won three consecutive Rudd Conference Championships in 1984-1986 and then New England's Division II Cup in 1991. The team stepped up to Division I competition a few years later. Under the guiding hand of coaches Dan Donato and then Andrew Will, the squad earned co-championship honors of the Housatonic Hockey League in 2002, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2011, while earning league championship honors in 2012, 2013 and 2016. Salisbury has won a total of five New England Division I Championships. The team garnered its first title in 2006, and its second in 2009. Salisbury has also won an additional three New England Division I Championships with consecutive titles in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Over the years Salisbury graduates have joined the rosters of the nation's best college hockey teams.


New England Prep School Champions

  • 2015
  • 2014
  • 2013
  • 2009
  • 2006

Housatonic Hockey League Champions 

  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2013
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2009
  • 2006
  • 2005

NHL Draft Picks 

Ryan Segalla  UConn Pittsburgh – 4th Round 2013
Danny Biega   Harvard Carolina – 3rd Round 2010
Paul Carey BC  Colorado – 5th Round 2007
Kevin Quick  Michigan  Tampa Bay – 3rd Round 2006
Alex Biega  Harvard Buffalo – 6th Round 2006
Brian O’Hanley BC San Jose – 9th Round 2003 
Ben Blais  Quinnipiac NY Islanders – 9th Round 1998
Kyle Kidney  UMass Colorado – 9th Round 1997

NHL Free Agents

Johnny Stevens Northeastern University NY Islanders 2017
Marc Arcobello  Yale Edmonton Oilers   2011
Brian Gibbons   BC Pittsburgh Penguins  2011

Where Are They Now?

YEAR

PLAYER

COLLEGE

2015

James Gobetz

Penn State University

 

Kale Kane

Norwich University

 

Jordan Kaplan

Sacred Heart University

 

Griffin Luce

University of Michigan

 

Michael O’Leary

Notre Dame (2014 Canada U17 Team)

 

Quincy Gregg

Skidmore College

 

Ray Seebeck

Colby College

 

Brett Stirling

Connecticut College

 

Vimal Sukumaran

Providence College

 

 

 

2014

Derek Barach

Mercyhurst College

 

Adam Baughman

Harvard University

 

Dylan Holze

Wesleyan University

 

Neil Robinson

Holy Cross

 

Evan Smith

Yale University

 

Mitchell Smith

Yale University

 

 

 

2013

William Brooks

Colgate University

 

Jacob Hand

Lake Superior State University

 

Liam McDermott

SUNY-Geneseo

 

Mark Hamilton

University of Maine

 

Jason Kalinowski

University of New Hampshire

 

Brian Platt

Manhattanville College

 

Matt Pugh

Tufts University

 

Ryan Segalla

University of Connecticut 

 

Aaron Titcomb

Merrimack College

 

 

 

2012

Nate Bubacy

Connecticut College

 

Ondrej Krajnak

Skidmore College

 

Zack Pryzbek

Brown University

 

John Stevens

Northeastern University

 

Philip Zielonka

Harvard University

 

Marc Biega

Merrimack College

 

 

 

2011

Gabe Antoni

Bentley University

 

Jack Barre

Dartmouth College

 

Matthew Caito                                          

Miami University of Ohio

 

Joey DeConcilys

Brown University

 

JP Durso

Nazareth College

 

Jon Gillies

Providence College

 

Gunnar Hughes

St. Lawrence University

 

Kevin Morris

Miami University of Ohio

 

Adam Platt

Manhattanville College

 

 

 

2010

Steven Cook

SUNY-Plattsburg

 

Max Edson

United States Air Force Academy

 

Billy Fitzgerald

Dartmouth College

 

Kyle Hughes

Manhattanville College

 

Andy Iles

Cornell University – 2011 US World Jr. Team (Goalie)

 

Michael McCann

Colgate University

 

Brandon Russo

Canisius University

 

 

 

2009

Danny Biega

Harvard University 

 

Francis Drolet

Brown University

 

John Guay

Wesleyan University

 

 

 

2008

Anthony Borelli

Brown University

 

Jack Clayman

Hobart College

 

Matt Clune

College of the Holy Cross

 

Paul Jaskot

Trinity College

 

Shawn Manning

UMass-Dartmouth

 

Adam Pawlick

Clarkson University

 

 

 

2007

Michael Biega

Harvard University

 

Joe Capuano

Connecticut College

 

Brian Gibbons

Boston College

 

Justin Guttek

Williams College

 

Nick Jaskowiak

Yale University

 

Rudy Luther

Bowdoin College

 

Matt Masucci

Williams College

 

Dan Reed

Clarkson University

 

Kevin Quick

University of Michigan

 

 

 

2006

Mark Arcobello

Yale University

 

Alex Biega

Harvard University

 

David Cavanagh

Providence College

 

John Cavanagh

Providence College

 

Greg Collins

Providence College

 

Jeremiah Cunningham

St. Lawrence University

 

Will Ortiz

UMASS Amherst

 

Sean Sylvester

Curry College

 

 

 

2005

Mike Atkinson

Quinnipiac University

 

Brian Baldelli

Babson College

 

Andrew Estey

Union College

 

Brian Hartigan                         

St. Anselm’s College

 

Jeff Mack

Hobart College

 

Jerry Pollastrone

University of New Hampshire

 

Phillippe Paquet

Clarkson University

 

Steve Smolinsky

Boston University

 

Tyler Quinn

St. Olaf College

 

 

 

2004

Matt Crum

Trinity College

 

Greg Goldman

Wesleyan University

 

Brian O’Hanley

Boston College

 

Luke Salscheider

St. Thomas University

 

Tim Trahon

Curry College

 

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