Mashpee-UCT Depth Throughout Lineup
By: Rich Maclone
You might think that with their all-time leading goal scorer and their top goaltender both having graduated, the Mashpee-Upper Cape Tech ice hockey team would be in trouble this season. If that’s what you believe, it appears that you’re going to be wrong.Yes, Liam Sullivan scored a ton of goals for the Falcons, and it’s true that Connor Tremarche was a wall in the net. Still, the Falcons are not lamenting what’s gone, but celebrating what’s going to be on the ice, mainly a solid hockey team from top to bottom.
Head Coach Shawn Chicoine believes that in terms of overall depth, this year’s club could be the best he’s had from top to bottom.
“Last year we had a better top six forwards, I think, but this year we have a better top nine. We can field three lines and they match up with just about anyone,” Chicoine said.
Not only do the forward lines look like they will be solid across the boards, but defensively Mashpee-UCT is in a great place. The team returns all four of its regular defensemen from a season ago, and that experienced group will make life easier for the team’s new starting goaltender, Nick Cannata. A sophomore, Cannata seized the opportunity during the preseason that was in front of him and showed Coach Chicoine that he has what it takes to make the majority of the starts and keep his team in hockey games.
“He’s earned that spot,” the coach said.
Sophomore Matt Inzirillo and freshman Anthony Visconte will serve as the backups in the net.All three of the Falcons’ forward lines have the potential to score goals and play solid two-way hockey. The team’s top line features senior co-captain Tony Bartolomei at center with junior Taylor Nickerson on the left wing and sophomore Marc Wilson on the right.
Bartolomei is a workhorse type of a player who will work hard for 45 minutes and camp himself in front of the net on power plays. Nickerson is the team’s top returning goal-scorer from a season ago and has gotten faster in the off-season. He will look to pick up some of the slack from the departure of Sullivan.
Wilson also will look to fill the nets more this year. The second-year player has grown and improved since his rookie season and is ready to make a bigger impact in his second year with the team.
The second line, like the first, should be quite productive. Junior co-captain Sean Foley will center the line. With improved health from a season ago, he’s looking for a strong season on the ice. Gage Debonise will be on the right wing. Debonise has a quick release and a strong shot. Connor Peltier, a senior, is a transfer from Rockland who is fitting in nicely in his new surroundings. He brings speed to the table.All three of the players on the Falcons’ third line were there last year as well.
With a season’s worth of experience under their belts, the Mashpee-UCT third line gives Chicoine confidence to go three lines deep all game long and not worry about having them on the ice against top lines.
“They’re really coming into their own,” the coach said of the grouping of center Tyler Conaway and wings Frank Inzirillo and Conor Delorme. Inzirillo and Conaway also will be the team’s top two penalty killing forwards to start the season.Dan Twomey will be the Falcons’ utility man. He will fill in on a forward line where needed and also do the same on defense.
Derek Nickerson and Andres Lopez are the next two forwards and Carl MacDonald, Alex Peterson, and Brandon Davis are practicing with the team and hope to move up the ladder.
Defensively MHS is quite strong, led by junior co-captain Kyle Murray. The fiery, go-to guy moves the puck well and is a strong leader. Sophomore Donny Thompson will be paired with Murray. He has gotten bigger and has developed a wicked shot.Sean Conaway, a junior, is the team’s most consistent defender, with a knack for being in the right place at the right time.
Pat Athanas, a sophomore, will be teamed with Conaway and has come a long way since last season. Mark Waugaman and Brandon Nolan will be the backup defenders. Seth Duggun is currently on the practice squad for MHS-UCT on defense.With the types of players on board who are capable of doing the job,
Chicoine has high hopes for the season. He said that the team’s ultimate goal is to finish either first or second in the South Shore League, which would earn the team one of the league’s two automatic bids to the state tournament.
After a 12-8 season last year, which he thought was a little better than expected, he believes that MHS is primed to accomplish that goal and not qualify just solely by a record of .500 or better.
“I’d be very disappointed if we didn’t make the tournament,” he said. “We’re good enough and we’ve got the talent.”
The Falcons open up the new season tomorrow evening on their home ice at the Barnstable Youth and Community Center against Bourne High School. Game time is set for 5 PM.
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