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?





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





Derek Barach

Mercyhurst College


Adam Baughman

Harvard University


Dylan Holze

Wesleyan University


Neil Robinson

Holy Cross


Evan Smith

Yale University


Mitchell Smith

Yale University





William Brooks

Colgate University


Jacob Hand

Lake Superior State University


Liam McDermott



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





Nate Bubacy

Connecticut College


Ondrej Krajnak

Skidmore College


Zack Pryzbek

Brown University


John Stevens

Northeastern University


Philip Zielonka

Harvard University


Marc Biega

Merrimack College





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





Steven Cook



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





Danny Biega

Harvard University 


Francis Drolet

Brown University


John Guay

Wesleyan University





Anthony Borelli

Brown University


Jack Clayman

Hobart College


Matt Clune

College of the Holy Cross


Paul Jaskot

Trinity College


Shawn Manning



Adam Pawlick

Clarkson University





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





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





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





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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