Falmouth is the favorite to win the Cape and Islands League boys’ hockey championship once again this year, and Barnstable is always feared by the rest of the league as well. The two big boys had best watch out, though, because lying in wait and ready to sneak up on both of them are their rivals who call Gallo Ice Arena their home.
With a great cast of returning players and some key additions both from the junior varsity and transfer ranks, the Sandwich High School boys’ ice hockey team finds itself not only in the role of potential spoiler for the league championship this year, but—more importantly—also legitimate contenders for the crown.
“This is one of the most talented groups that I have had in my tenure as coach,” veteran head coach Jordan Mohre said. “The discipline and commitment that they have is equal to the talent level.”
Mohre doesn’t think that his Blue Knights will necessarily sneak up on teams. He just knows that the squad has what it takes to play with the big hitters on Cape Cod. In the past some SHS teams may have shown up for games intimidated by the circumstances that they were facing. The coach thinks that the mettle of this year’s team will allow it to embrace the challenges and dive headfirst into deep end of the competition pool.
“There’s a huge belief factor there,” he said. “We have depth up front, this year we have the ability to roll three solid lines and have a balanced scoring attack. We have a lot of our defensemen coming back. It’s a good foundation.”
Seniors Mike Barrasso and Rob Cardillo will most likely be together on the first line for SHS, and give SHS a legitimate top tier first line that can match up with any line locally. Barrasso is a four-year varsity player and Coach Mohre applauds the captain’s effort to play all 200 feet of the ice, all the time. Cardillo has been the Knights’ leading scorer each of the last two years and brings a threat to finish to the ice whenever he steps on the sheet.
Senior Jack Greeley is another experienced forward who “is ready to step into a bigger role,” the coach said. This will be his third year with the varsity club.
Junior Caleb Richardson transferred to SHS from Tabor Academy. This will be his first season with the squad. “He’s one of the hardest-working guys,” Mohre said. “Every shift, every drill, he’s pushing the pace.”
Matt Hemeon and Kevin Jordan, both juniors, played on the second line as wingers last year. Both are rock-solid players who will add to the mix well up front, as will sophomore Collin McIver, who worked his way up to the first line last year as a freshman through his effort on the ice.
Two freshmen will add to the talent pool, as well. Rookie Josh Itri has a strong shot and high hockey IQ and should be a difference maker for years to come. Chris Cardillo, Rob’s younger brother, played on the JV as an 8th grader and brings a high-octane motor to the rink. “He’s gritty and competitive,” Mohre said.
On defense, two seniors lead the way. Colin Norkevicius and Tim Clark are veteran blueliners who will log many minutes. Norkevicius is big and strong on the ice, while Clark is the power play quarterback and a good puck mover and shooter.
Junior Drew McKinnon will be a big part of the defense, as well. McKinnon is a smooth skater with a good shot.
Freshman Logan Monk, sophomore Harley Ellis and junior Anthony Kent, a transfer from Saint John Paul II, are all vying for regular time on one of the top pairings, as well.
Between the pipes the Knights have a pair of keepers who will push one another for the starter’s role. Senior Ben Moreno is a great competitor who worked his way to the top of the depth chart a year ago. Mitchell Norkevicius is a talented sophomore who transferred back to Sandwich after playing in private school last year.
“We have two really good goalies that we can rely on,” Mohre said.
With the schedule getting moved around a bit over the past few weeks, SHS is currently scheduled to begin its season at the end of next week. The Knights are currently slated to travel to Martha’s Vineyard for a 4 PM game on the island on Thursday, January 14. They then would host their first home game on Saturday, January 16, with a 7:30 PM contest at Gallo against SJP2.
The Knights were slated to open up the year on January 6 at Nauset, but that game, as well as a January 13 tilt with Falmouth, will both have to be made up later on in the season.