Falmouth Boy's Hockey Try-outs

Falmouth High School boys hit the ice at Falmouth Ice Arena for hockey try-outs, November 30.

It’s hard to win a league title. It’s even more difficult to repeat.

The Falmouth High School boys’ ice hockey team is hoping to do just that this winter, but it will not be easy. With two-thirds of the team’s first line having graduated, the team has to find a way to replace a lot of departed goal-scoring. FHS beat Barnstable in the championship game of the Cape and Islands League tourney a year ago.

There will not be a league tournament at the end of the season, but the Clippers will certainly be ready for the state tournament when it comes around. FHS is playing one of its most challenging regular season lineups ever, with non-league tilts against the likes of Malden Catholic, Catholic Memorial, Pope Francis, Weymouth, Natick, Bridgewater-Raynham and then the regular cast of powerhouses that come to town for the Buddy Ferreira Classic.

FHS will be battle tested when the season ends, for certain. Against the best teams the goaltenders are likely to get a lot of work, and they’ll have to be good. FHS has three players who will man the pipes this year, led by returning starter Jack Braga. The junior played well last year and is hoping to return to the form that helped him lead the team to the league title. Backing up Braga will be junior Stephen Mello and sophomore Ryan Palmer, who will start the year as the No. 1 for the JV team in order to stay sharp.

The Clippers’ biggest strength should be its defense, with several returning contributors back for another go-round. Senior co-captains Tommy Peterson and Kyle Souza are both back for their fourth seasons with the varsity. Peterson is a heady player that moves the puck very well and quarterbacks the power play for FHS. Souza has a big shot from the point and has made some big plays in his previous three seasons for FHS.

Chris Shanahan, a sophomore, had a fantastic freshman year and is just getting better. Junior Connor Hennigan has a chance to be a big part of the defensive core for the Clippers. Patrick Gonsalves, Eric Chicoine, Sean Souza and John Sullivan round out the back end players for Falmouth this year.

Up front the team has a good dynamic with its top two lines, and a lot of hungry players looking for ice time on lines three and four.

Senior Patrick Coyne, a solid playmaker, will be the team’s first line center. Coyne has had some big moments for FHS in the past and was voted an assistant captain. He will be joined by two players on the first line that did not play for FHS a year ago. Junior Matt Quinlan transferred to Falmouth High School this year after playing the last two years at Bishop Stang and has shown some nice offensive flash for the team. He will be on the left wing. On the right side is senior Darin McDonald, who is back in the fold after a year away from the squad. McDonald has excellent speed and has a finisher’s touch around the net.

Bud Driscoll, a senior, will center the second line. He has shown some flashes of greatness in the past and hopes to have his best season yet. Cole Johnsen, a senior, has had an impressive preseason and should be a big contributor this year. Junior Brady Turner, who played defense last year, looks to play up front on the second line this season, though he could eventually end up on defense if that is where he is needed as the year progresses.

The third and fourth lines are full of quality players that all want their shifts. With a mix of returning and new players, Coach Moore said he expects a lot of in-team competition for playing time. Nathan Hopwood, a junior, James Walden, a senior, Charlie Bardelis, a sophomore and Evan Hooper, a senior, all saw varsity time a year ago and made contributions. They will be pushed by three talented freshmen that are all chomping at the bit to make names for themselves in Kele Gregory, Chase Briggs and Ethan Santos. “It’s going to be interesting to see how it all shakes out,” Moore said. “There are some good hockey players there and they all want to play.”

Moore said he hopes that the Clippers compete for the league title, but he believes that the league is going to be a challenge. He said Sandwich, which returns the bulk of last year’s co-regular season championship team, should be the class of the Cape and Islands, and Barnstable is always a contender every year.

“(Sandwich) is going to be very good. They’re going to be tough and we expect to contend for the league title and be the hardest working team out there. We are in for a big, big challenge, but I think that this group of kids is up for it.”

FHS begins its season this weekend. The team has a road trip against league foes Dennis-Yarmouth on tap for Saturday, December 11, at 5 PM.

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