The level of competition in Divisions 3 and 4 across Eastern Massachusetts continues to increase heading into the 2022-23 season, when Hanover and Sandwich will look to defend their boys hockey state titles.
Hanover are the reigning champions of Div. 3 after completing an 18-7-0 campaign with a 5-3 win over Marlboro last season at the TD Garden. Six players are returning from last year’s championship team.
“You shoot for the moon, you always have those expectations of going out on top with a state title,” said head coach Johnny Abban. “You could say it’s a rebuild, but there are kids who have waited two or three years, and their opportunity has come. We have some great captains to show them the way, and hopefully that will resonate into another successful season for us.”
Those captains include goaltender Liam Monahan, who led Hanover to a title last year, forwards Liam Joy, Brian Kutz, and Ben Lions, along with Tyler Richards on defense.
Marlboro (21-2-1) has its eye on a different result at TD Garden, and will face a slew of tough opponents to prepare for the tournament. Scituate (18-8-0) is aiming for a better ending after falling 1-0 in the final four to the eventual champs in Hanover.
Led by Middlesex League all-stars and senior captains Jack Dickie and Anthony Venizia, Watertown is geared up for another title run. With forward Aidan Campbell returning, who led the team in scoring before suffering a broken arm last season, head coach John Vlachos has high expectations.
Lynnfield (19-4-1) graduated its first line which produced 60 goals last season, and that production will need to come from another place. The semifinalists will be strong on the back end with captain Drew Damiani, who put up 50 points as a blueliner last year, and Lucas Cook, who is a physical stay-at-home defender.
Danvers (11-7-5) will rely on returning seniors Bobby Joyce and Trevor McNeil, both captains, as well as junior Brayden Oteri for stability between the pipes.
Medway (19-4-0) first-year head coach Bill Link sees determination in his players, particularly senior captains Luke Frauton, Thomas Creante and Kavveh Bahary, to build upon last year’s top eight finish.
Sandwich aims to repeat as Div. 4 state champs after going 17-4-3 last season culminating in a 3-2 win in double overtime over Watertown in the title bout. The top six forwards are back, including senior captain Colin McIver. The Blue Knights will also have senior goaltender Mitchell Norkevicius, who backboned the championship squad.
Norwell (21-2-0) lost to Sandwich 3-2 in double overtime in the state semifinal. The team will lean on Timmy Ward and fellow senior captain Austin Shea, who was the South Shore League player of the year, to lead the way this season.
Martha’s Vineyard (14-4-1) will be returning 12 players from last year’s team which fell to Nantucket in the round of 16. The reigning Cape & Islands champs will look to their backbone in net, junior Zach Mathias, to take on a big role this season.
Other teams to watch for in Division 4 include Stoneham (15-9-0), as well as top eight finishers Shawsheen (16-6-1) and Nantucket (9-9-4).
DIVISION 3 AND 4 PLAYERS TO WATCH
Aidan Campbell (Watertown)
Chris Cardillo (Sandwich)
Thomas Creante (Medway)
Drew Damiani (Lynnfield)
Nick Ben David (Martha’s Vineyard)
Jack Dickie (Watertown)
Mark Evangelous (Marlboro)
Luke Frauton (Medway)
Bobby Joyce (Danvers)
Luc Masse (Marlboro)
Colin McIver (Sandwich)
Trevor McNeil (Danvers)
Sam Miele (Marlboro)
Liam Monahan (Hanover)
Mitchell Norkevicius (Sandwich)
Nick Rego (Martha’s Vineyard)
Austin Shea (Norwell)
Danny Storella (Stoneham)
Anthony Venezia (Watertown)
Timmy Ward (Norwell)
Casey Williams (Watertown)