High school hockey preview
By: Warren Mayes
The puck has dropped on another season for the Mid-States Club Hockey Association.
CBC is the defending Challenge Cup champion, and the Cadets look to be strong again with 15 players back form last year’s title team.
Whitfield won the Wickenhauser Cup last season, and the Warriors has some talented athletes back. John Landoff Jr. moves up to the head coaching position, and former head coach Jim Campbell will be one of his assistants.
There are several new coaches this season. Nathan Hirsch takes over at Chaminade, and Brian Moseley is behind the bench for Parkway West while Kyle Webb is the coach at MICDS.
Here is a look at the teams in alphabetical order:
2011-12 record: Finished 31-6-2, won Mid-States championship.
Coach: John Jost, entering his 15th year as head coach of CBC with eight Mid-States championships
Returning players: 20, including 15 that played in last year’s championship game
Players to watch for this season: senior goalie Joe O’Brien, junior goalie Joe Staely., senior defenseman Ed Rogers, junior defenseman Jared Brandt, junior defenseman Mike Sieckhaus, junior defenseman Thomas Stahlhuth, junior defenseman Ryan Croghan, senior forward Christian Argyros, senior forward Dominic Polizzi, junior forward Mike Beckham, junior forward Joe Lupo, junior forward Glenn Ryan, sophomore forward Drew Croghan, sophomore forward Josh Bell, sophomore forward Vince Scognamiglio
Newcomers expected to contribute: freshman forwards Andy McGlynn, Zach Fizer, Ethan Stahlhuth, Austin Rueschhoff
Team strengths: Team depth will be a strong point in particular in goal and on defense.
Goals: To improve as a team to the point where we are playing our best hockey in February.
Favorites to win Southwest Conference: St. Louis University High, De Smet, Chaminade, Oakville, Kirkwood and Lindbergh will all have outstanding teams. The division is a toss-up.
Quote: “We are very excited about our team this year,” Jost said. “Despite a lot of players returning from last year’s championship team, we are still very young and hungry to achieve the goals we have set out for this year.”
CHAMINADE RED DEVILS
2011-12 record: Finished 12-6-3, lost in the semifinals to eventual state champion CBC
Coach: Nathan Hirsch, entering first year as head coach at Chaminade
Returning players: 15 varsity players returns from last season and have added two seniors in Brady Crabtree and Kirk Gilleland, who played varsity as sophomores but did not play last season
Players to watch for this season: senior forwards Toppie and John Hogan, Brady Crabtree, Kirk Gilleland, Kyle Johnson, sophomore forward Trey Dodd; senior defensemen Grant Frederic and Michael Johnson, junior defenseman and USHL draft pick Bradley Johnson
Newcomers expected to contribute: freshman forward Luke Radetic, sophomore goaltender Ellis Burgett
Team strengths: Team has a lot of depth with an extremely explosive offense and a very solid defense.
Goals: Main goal is to win Chaminade’s first Mid-States championship this season.
Favorites to win Southwest Conference: Chaminade, SLUH and CBC will battle it out this season. I would have to think that all these teams are the tops in the conference will also battle it out for the Mid-States state championship.
Quote: “I’m honored to have the opportunity to coach at Chaminade this season,” Hirsch said. “We have a lot of talent, depth and character on this team. Chaminade has had many great teams and coaches in the past. We have a great program, a fantastic coaching staff and a great group of players this season. We have a very deep team with a lot of character and talent. Watch for this Chaminade team to do a lot of exciting things this season. Our goal is to play for a Mid-States championship at the Scottrade Center in March.”
DE SMET SPARTANS
2011-12 record: 14-9-2. Lost in shootouts to CBC in the quarterfinals.
Coach: John Mattingly Jr, entering third year as head coach at De Smet. Also previously was the head coach at MICDS with 19 years coaching total. Probably coached close to 900 games.
Returning players: 15
Players to watch for this season: defensemen Nate Cunningham and Gunner O’Brien, forwards Jeff Pavlacic, Tony Schwer, TJ Zoltanski, Kevin Tattich, Jeff Makowski
Newcomers expected to contribute: freshman Trent Frederic
Team strengths: Have a well-rounded deep team. We do lack individually strong goal scorers, so we hope collectively the offense will contribute.
Goals: Want to make the Final Four this season and then take each playoff game one at a time.
Favorites to win Southwest Conference: The conference is always the powerhouse. CBC, SLUH, DeSmet and Chaminade are all capable of beating each other on any given night. CBC is the likely favorite.
Quote: “This team has grown together for the better part of three years,” Mattingly said. “Most of our starting lineup has been playing together on varsity since they were sophomores. They are hungry for a very special senior season.”
2011-12 record: Finished overall at 13-16-3 and 9-10-3 in league play. Played in Challenge Cup as the 13th seed, lost to Oakville in the second round.
Coach: Kevin Markovitz, entering third year as head coach at Eureka. Record is 38-23-6.
Returning players: 21.
Players to watch for this season: senior goalie Billy Hindle, junior goalie Sam Boyer, forwards Ryan Edwards and Tommy Kueser
Newcomers expected to contribute: freshman Cole Fluchel, who possesses very strong offensive skills and adds an element of speed and toughness to the squad
Team strengths: Greatest strength starts in our own zone with our strong goaltending.
Goals: To play a solid defensive game first, take some pressure off of our offense. We are definitely looking to win our conference and then see what the post season has in store for us.
Favorites to win Central Conference: Rockwood Summit and Westminster. The conference title always seems to go down to the last week of play in the season.
Quote: “The majority of the team is upperclassmen this season, so I know the boys are enthused to have a great season,” Markovitz said. “For most of them, their competitive hockey career will be coming to an end after this season, so they are driven to make it a memorable one. I am excited to play in a new conference this year, while renewing some old rivalries.”
2011-12 record: 12-11-3. Lost in the quarterfinals.
Coach: Ryan Kane, entering fifth year as head coach at Marquette. This is his 11th year coaching in Mid-States.
Returning lettermen and starters: 11 returning varsity players with 10 seniors and seven players with experience playing a regular shift at the varsity level
Players to watch for this season: Nick Nast, Mitch Campbell, Sam Schlueter and Mitch Runyon; senior goaltender Michael Robinson, senior defenseman Nick Tobey, junior forward Alex Henricks, sophomore forward Adam Natzke
Newcomers expected to contribute: There are a number of newcomers that have the potential of becoming difference makers at this level. It will be exciting to see how they develop this season.
Team strengths: Have the potential to be solid in all areas. Greatest strength will be our team play. It will not be a one-man show.
Goals: As always, the goal is a Mid-States championship and a division title.
Favorites to win Southwest Conference: Lindbergh, CBC, SLUH and Chaminade will be very tough to beat this year.
Quote: “We have a balanced lineup with many that could step up and be the go-to guy on a given night,” Kane said. “Our greatest strength will be our leadership, character and work ethic. We aim to play this game the right way night in and night out, hard work, discipline and heart. The young men on the team are very close and have the potential to be a great example of what a team can do when all members are committed, focused and working for each other.”
2011-12 record: 11-11-2. Lost in first round of Challenge Cup to Chaminade.
Coach: Kyle Webb, entering first year as head coach at MICDS
Returning players: 11
Players to watch for this season: senior forward BJ Klar, senior defenseman Alex Martin
Newcomers expected to contribute: Freshman defensemen Dalton Hiemenz, Alex Bean and Jack Polk are going to make a big impact our defense right from the start of the season.
Team strengths: Emphasizing a strong defensive game, great goaltending
Goals: To play disciplined hockey and working hard every minute of every game. We are striving to have a strong regular season setting us up for a successful playoff run this season.
Quote: “I couldn’t be more excited to start coaching in St. Louis for MICDS,” Webb said. “We have an incredible group of great young men and we are looking forward to a successful season.”
PARKWAY WEST LONGHORNS
2011-12 record: 5-15-3. Lost in first round of postseason play.
Coach: Brian Moseley, entering first year as head coach at Parkway West.
Returning players: five
Players on team to watch for this winter: freshman center Nick Balestra who plays for a competitive Affton Central States team and plays at a very high level as a freshman, senior left wing and captain David Bickert, senior center Clayton Brenner, junior goalie Pete Beaugard.
Newcomers expected to contribute this season: sophomore defenseman Hadyn Vance, freshman goalie Jack Russell, freshman forward Hasan Baig
Team strengths: Team this year is very well balanced compared to years past. We have a strong top six forwards, strong core of defensemen and two excellent goaltenders. If we can put it all together on the ice, we will have a very successful season.
Goals: As coaches, we want to develop a team of fearless decision makers who are eager to hit the ice, score goals and win games. Our big picture goal is to win the Wickenheiser Cup.
Favorites to win North/South Conference: Parkway South always has a strong team. St. Charles West has had good teams in the past, but if Parkway West plays up to expectations, they should have no problem winning the North/South Conference.
Quote: “As a coach, I’m very excited for the upcoming season,” Moseley said. “We have a great mix of experienced seniors, talented freshmen, and strong goaltending. We have an excellent coaching staff in place to push this team to the limits of our potential.”
2011-12 record: Finished 6-14-1. Lost in the first round of the Wickenheiser Cup.
Coach: John Rourke, entering third year as head coach at Priory.
Returning players: 11
Players to watch for this season: goalies Stephen Clark and T.J. Niemann; senior forward Jack Rourke, junior forwards Brayton Briggs, Paul Deschler, Brendan Gaffney, and John Yannakakis; sophomore forward Ben Kraus, defensemen Carlo Herbosa and Danny Mormino
Newcomers expected to contribute: Have a number of freshmen players who should be able to contribute, both on offense and defense.
Team strengths: Should be strong in the net, with two very capable goalies. We have some veteran defensemen and should be able to put the puck in the net more this year, with more depth on offense than last year.
Goals: To play disciplined hockey within our systems. We would like to have a better record than last year, improve every game and peak for the playoffs.
Favorites to win Central Conference: Rockwood Summit and Westminster Christian Academy
Quote: “We have a pretty young team,” Rourke said. “However, it should be a good season for both our veterans and our rookies as our players are smart, coachable and have enough talent to have a successful season this year, both in terms of wins and losses and development.”
WESTMINSTER CHRISTIAN ACADEMY WILDCATS
2011-12 record: Finished 19-4. Lost in first round of Challenge Cup to Vianney.
Coach: Tom Canfield, entering his third year as coach at Westminster.
Players to watch for this season: Sam Canfield, Zack Bross, John Moeller, Brendan Terbrock, Parker Mitchem
Newcomers expected to contribute: freshman Willie Canfield
Team strengths: Defense is very solid, and we have three capable goalies.
Goal: To win the Central Conference and get a chance to compete for the Challenge Cup in February.
Quote: “We have a good group of players coming back this year, plus we add a couple strong freshmen to the roster. We have more depth than in years past which should benefit us as we get deeper in to the season,” Canfield said. “All in all, I am very excited about what this year will bring. We have great senior leadership and an enthusiastic supporting cast. This year we have a much more difficult schedule as we will play all of the top teams at least once.”
2011-12 record: Finished 20-8-1. Won Wickenhauser Cup. Win number 20 was their biggest in team history. An exciting 6-5 overtime/shootout victory in the final at Scottrade Center. This capped an exciting playoff run with victories over Parkway South, Fort Zumwalt West, Francis Howell Central and then Lutheran South in the tournament.
Coach: John Londoff Jr., entering his first year as head coach. Staff also includes Jim Campbell and Mark McLean. Whitfield also is developing new coaches from its recent alumni John Londoff III, Andrew Freund and Drew Jolley.
Players to watch for this season: senior goalie Alan Eidelman, juniors Nick Kunin, James Kurten, Tim Londoff, Zack Parker, Ian Williams, Charlie Lebens, sophomore Dan Temmen
Newcomers expected to contribute: juniors Tony Colarelli and Hale Berthold, sophomore Mats Kozics; freshmen Alex Freund, Liam Kozics, Josh Rubin, Austin Simons
Goals: Expectations this year are high.
Quote: “With the new conference organization, Whitfield will be facing some very competitive hockey teams this year,” Campbell said. “We are looking forward to the exciting new playoff structure as well. It will be a great year for high school hockey with good competition, strong teams, quality coaching and a lot of action