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Prep hockey season preview

It’s time to drop the puck on high school hockey for the 2014-15 season.

The season begins Nov. 3 and concludes in February at the Scottrade Center where the Challenge Cup and Wickenhauser Cup championship games will be played.

CBC is the defending Challenge Cup champion. The Cadets were an imposing 39-1-1 team last year and have eight players returning. Coach John Jost is the dean of area coaches as he begins his 17th year behind the bench with the Cadets.

There are seven new coaches this season among the teams covered by West Newsmagazine.

Michael Berra is the new coach at De Smet Jesuit. Berra, who was the assistant coach, moves up to the top spot. He inherits a Spartan team that went 23-4-2 and played CBC in the championship game. He has six players back from last year’s squad.

Two former coaches now have new teams to direct.Kiley Hill is the new coach at Chaminade. Hill previously coached at MICDS. Joseph Nahm, who used to coach Parkway North when it had a team, takes over at Lafayette.

Dan Herr is the new coach at MICDS. Joe Bova Conti takes over the head coaching duties for Parkway South. Jeff Smith is the new coach at Priory. Patrick McWard is Westminster Christian Academy’s new coach.

Here is a look at the teams in alphabetical order:

CBC Cadets
2013-14 record: 39-1-1. We won the Metro Division. Won Mid-states Challenge Cup championship with a 6-0 win over De Smet Jesuit.
Coach: John Jost: Entering 17th year as head coach at CBC.
Assistant coaches: Nick Carosello and Randy Staub.
Returning number of players: 8.
Team captains: Seniors Josh Bell and Drew Croghan. Assistant captains are juniors Andy Willis and Trevor Wilhelm.
Players on team to watch for this winter: Our goalie tandem of junior Tom Nappier and senior Joe Bernardini. On defense, senior Drew Croghan, juniors Trevor Wilhelm and Austin Dempski and sophomore Ben Jones. On offense, seniors Josh Bell and Brendan Huber; juniors Andy Willis, Spencer Sallenbach,  Ehtan Stahlhuth, and Zach Fizer; and sophomores Bud Winter and Clayton Dawe.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Junior transfer Donovan Psaris, freshmen Van Kraemer and Jack Wess.
Team strengths: Our biggest strength is our depth from the goal out.
Goals: Play best hockey in February.
Teams in Metro Division: CBC, Chaminade, De Smet Jesuit, St. Louis University High, Vianney.
Favorites to win Metro Division: Our division is wide open. Any team can win it. We have seen both SLUH and De Smet Jesuit in the pre-season and both were impressive.
First game: Seckman at South County at 7 p.m. on Nov. 3.
Quote: “We are excited to start the regular season,” Jost said. “Our goal every year is to improve as a team to the point where we are playing our best hockey in February. Last season, we accomplished this. This year we are less experienced but have the potential to do achieve the goals we have set out.”

Chaminade Red Devils
2013-14 record: Reached the Final Four in the Challenge Cup and lost to De Smet Jesuit.
Coach: Kiley Hill. Entering his first year as head coach at Chaminade.
Assistant coaches: Chris Peterson, Nathan Hirsch, Tom Brooks and Kevin Pallardy.
Returning number of players: 13.
Team captains: Not confirmed yet.
Players on team to watch for this winter: Senior goalie Ellis Burgett, also U-18 AAA goalie; junior forward Luke Radetic, also an U-18 AAA player; junior forward Blake Williams, also an U-18 player; freshman forward Ryan Roth, also an AAA player.
Newcomers expected to contribute: We have a very young team with four to six freshmen and sophomores dressing every game.
Team strengths: We have a very fast team and good goaltending.
Goals: Get to the playoffs and see what happens from there. We are going to use every ice time whether it be practice or games as a learning point to our season good or bad.
Teams in Metro Division: CBC, Chaminade, De Smet Jesuit, St. Louis University High, Vianney.
Favorites to win Metro Division: SLU and CBC.
First game: Marquette at Hardee’s Ice Plex at 9:20 p.m. on Nov. 3.
Quote: “If you have to worry about what everyone else is doing, you’re not focusing on what you are doing to get better,” Hill said.

De Smet Jesuit Spartans
2013-14 record: 23-4-2. Finished second in Challenge Cup.
Head Coach: Michael Berra: Entering first year as head coach at De Smet Jesuit after serving as the De Smet varsity assistant coach the last four years.
Assistant coaches: Brad Kirchner, Dan Pettibone, Dan Heffington.
Returning number of players: 6.
Team captains: Senior forward Jeff Makowski, senior defenseman Tommy Amato. Assistant captains are senior forward Kevin Pavlacic, sophomore defenseman Tim Makowski and sophomore defenseman Michael Joyce.
Players on team to watch for this winter: Jeff Makowski will lead the Spartans this upcoming season both on and off the ice. Amato and Joyce and Tim Makowski will anchor down the blue line. Connor Walsh will be the No. 1 goalie.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Freshmen forwards Nick Thorpe, Daniel Campbell, Thomas Horak, Owen Benben along with freshmen Defensemen Dominick Metheny, Ian Gindhart, and Freshman Goaltender David Reduzzi.
Team strengths: The team strengths will be in goal with three-year varsity starter Walsh along with sophomore goaltender Colin Nieters and freshmen goaltender David Reduzzi. The team will rely on a young, talented, and motivated group on offense and defense.
Goals: Our goal is to develop a young hockey team into a state championship contender !
Teams in Metro Division: CBC, Chaminade, De Smet Jesuit, St. Louis University High, Vianney.
Favorites to win Metro Division: CBC.
First game: Kirkwood at Queeny Recreational Complex at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 3.
Quote: “We will be a young and exciting team to watch in the 2014-2015 season,” Berra said. “We are very skilled up front and on the back end with goaltenders more than capable of stealing a game or two for us. We look forward to the opportunity to win our 15th state Championship in 2015.”

Eureka Wildcats
2013-14 record: 14-14-4. Lost in the second round of Wickenheiser Cup.
Coach: Kevin Markovitz: Entering fifth year as head coach at Eureka.
Assistant coaches: Scott Brandenburg, Sean Robinson, Sam Boyer.
Returning number of players: 16.
Team captains: Senior defenseman Charlie Corbett. Alternate captains are senior forward Austin Brandenburg and junior defenseman Sean Markovitz.
Players on team to watch for this winter: Senior defenseman Charlie Corbett.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Freshman goalie Bradley Bisaga.
Team strengths: We will be able to steal some games on pure effort.
Goals: Develop many of the younger players, strive for solid three-period effort per game.
Teams in Rockwood Division: Eureka, Lafayette, Marquette, Summit, Westminster Christian Academy.
Favorites to win Rockwood Division: Westminster and Summit.
First game: Holt at Lindenwood Ice Arena at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Quote: “The most exciting aspect of this season is the desire of all four lines to get varsity game time,” Markovitz said. “So, the work ethic is super high, practices are enthusiastic and game-like, and overall the players are very engaged.”

Lafayette Lancers
2013-14 record: 3-18.
Coach: Joseph Nahm: Entering first year as head coach at Lafayette.
Assistant coaches: Joe Cero, Wayne Nahm.
Returning number of players and starters: 15 players. 2 starters.
Team captains: Not named yet.
Players on team to watch for this winter: Senior center Andrew Schwietz, junior defenseman Justin Neuse, sophomore defenseman Dominic Caito.
Team strengths: Have to rely on defense. Keeping the shots to a minimum.
Goals: To return to the Wickenhauser Cup and make a good run in it.
Teams in Rockwood Division: Eureka, Lafayette, Marquette, Summit, Westminster Christian Academy.
Favorites to win Rockwood Division: Summit and Eureka.
First game: vs Priory at Hardee’s Ice Plex at 7:20 p.m. on Nov. 7.
Quote: “It’s a new role for me at Lafayette,” Nahm said. “I’m excited to bring some energy and get things on track here with this program. The players that we have are a good corp to build off of. I think we’re going to have some success.”

Marquette Mustangs
2013-14 record: 6-10-2.
Coach: Craig Heaslip: Entering second year as head coach at Marquette.
Assistant coaches: Taylor Paul, Dale Brinkman, and Mike Selby.
Team captains: Bill Baker, Nick Roux.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Freshman Sam Mudd, sophomore Will Chase.
Team strengths: Strong in goal, solid three line depth.
Teams in Rockwood Division: Eureka, Lafayette, Marquette, Summit, Westminster Christian Academy.
First game: Chaminade at Hardee’s Ice Plex at 9:20 p.m. on Nov. 3.

MICDS
2013-14 record: 7-12-3. Reached quarterfinals in postseason play.
Coach: Dan Herr. Entering first year as head coach at MICDS after being an assistant coach the previous two years.
Assistant coaches: Spence Meyer, Charlie Mohr and Matt Gornett.
Returning number of players and starters: 10 players. 2 starters.
Team captains:  Alex Bean and Dalton Hiemenz. Assistant captain is Danny Danforth.
Players on team to watch for this winter: Juniors defensemen Alex Bean and Dalton Hiemenz, junior forward Danny Danforth and sophomore forward Ryan Turkin.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Freshman Tim Meier, sophomore Jimmy Giacin.
Team strengths: We will be strong fundamentally with a strong emphasis on passing, positioning, procession and patience. Have solid goaltending.
Goals: Try to win every shift, every period, every game.  Force the opposing team to make mistakes and then capitalize on them.
Teams in Suburban Central Division: Clayton, John Burroughs, Ladue, MICDS, Priory, Whitfield.
Favorites to win Suburban Central Division: Ladue and John Burroughs.
First game: Francis Howell at Rec Plex South at 7:45 p.m. on Nov. 7.
Quote: “I am honored to be a part of the MICDS hockey tradition,” Herr said. “We are coming off an exciting 2013-14 season and even though we lost nine seniors, including both goalies. I expect to pick up right were we left off. We have a solid defense pairing with Dalton Hiemenz, Alex Bean and Jack Polk. We expect to get goal production from our returning forwards in Danny Danforth, Ryan Turkin, Brick Storts, Keever Hall, Matt Trowbrige and Garrett Dunn.  We will have solid goal tending from our two new goalies in Jimmy Giacin and Anthony Puzzo. Sophomore Joseph Childress and Freshmen Harrison Thomas, Msason Hall, Dylan Minichiello, and Tim Meier will all be counted on to fill in the role of our departed seniors from last year. Our goal is to carry on the MICDS tradition of excellence.”

Parkway South Patriots
2013-14 record: Won division. Reached second round of Wickenhauser Cup.
Coach: Joe Bova Conti: Entering first year as head coach at Parkway South after serving as goalie coach, assistant coach, and coaching director.
Returning number of players: 14.
Team captains: Senior Kyle Bauer. Alternate captains are juniors Jake Diersen, Grant Rieger and Joey Rosa.
Players on team to watch for this winter: We have a good team built around solid goaltending by Selects goalie Kyle McClellan and AAA Blues goalie Lexi Thomeczek. The duo are returning from solid performances last season. Other players to watch are power forwards James Rancilio, Dom Abell, TJ Delaney, Jake Diersen and Stephen Herbel, who can score in any situation. Other forwards including Ryan Harber and Carlo Rebello provide the tenacity and sacrifice to make plays happen. Our defense is solid behind the veteran leadership of Vinny Milburn, supported by veterans Joey Rosa, Michael Short and Grant Rieger.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Caylee Clemons and Jack Taylor will round out the defense.
Team strengths: We have scorers this year amassing 13 goals in three preseason games by all lines.
Teams in Suburban West Division: Lutheran South, Northwest, Parkway South, Parkway West, St. Mary’s, Webster Groves.
First game: Priory at Queeny Recreational Complex at 9 p.m. on Nov. 4.
Quote: “I’m excited about this season and how the team has gelled,” Bova Conti said. “Starting with summer dry-land workouts to the present, we have a dedicated group of hardworking athletes who will undoubtedly provide excellent competition and great high school hockey. Our goal is to work hard every shift and every game. With this type of work ethic we are confident of a playoff appearance that will lead us to a Cup.”
 
Parkway West Longhorns
2013-14 record: 17-11-2. Finished second in the Founders Cup.
Coach: Shawn Egan. Entering his second season at head coach at Parkway West.
Assistant coaches: Andy Mueller, Ryan Jones and Nic Zamora.
Returning number of players: 10.
Team captains: Pending.
Players to watch: Jackson Fleming, Haydn Vance, Nick Balestra, Dirk Adams, Andrew Schuchardt, Jack Thomas and Dirk Adams
Newcomers expected to contribute: Austin Gast, Jack O’Connor, Guss Knapp, Braden Storner, Austin Balestra, Patrick Brawley.
Team strengths: While Parkway West last year featured a team focused on finesse and agility, this year with additional depth, we should add a little more physical play and more scoring opportunities. Our team strength is really centered around team unity both on and off the ice.
Teams in Suburban Southwest Conference: Lutheran South, Northwest, Parkway South, Parkway West, St. Mary’s, Webster Groves.
Favorites to win Suburban Southwest Conference: Parkway South is always a strong team with size and depth.
First game: Eureka at Queeny Recreational Complex at 8:15 p.m. on Nov. 6.
Quote: “As a finalist in the Founder’s Cup last year, we hope to do even better this year with the additional depth and talent on our team this season,” Egan said. “Parkway West hockey is alive and growing, and it shows by the number of skaters we had to turn away this year. Our new B Development team is an example of how our program is growing and how we are working developing future players. We have a great group of players, parents and coaches that all work together. Parkway West is not just about playing games, we also give back to the community by performing service for United Cerebral Palsy and the Erin Eickmeier Circle Star Ranch. Parkway West is looking forward to playing Parkway South as it is always an exciting game for the team and fans. This is a call to all Parkway West fans to show up at our first game against Parkway South on Nov. 20 at Queeny rink at 8:15 p.m. Mark your calendar.”

Priory Rebels   
2013-14 record: 9-7-5. Knocked out of playoffs in round robin.
Coach: Jeff Smith: Entering first year as head coach at Priory.
Assistant coaches: JD Sabio, Sean Lamb, Nick Faron. All are Priory alums.
Returning number of players and starters: 10.
Team captains: None selected at this time.
Players on team to watch for this winter: Senior forward Ben Kraus, junior defenseman Tom Weaver.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Freshman goalie Matthew Server, sophomore forward Cole Hutchins.
Team strengths: Strong defensive group featuring four returning juniors.
Goals: Create an atmosphere of offensive creativity and defensive discipline.
Teams in Suburban Central Conference: Clayton, John Burroughs, Ladue, MICDS, Priory, Whitfield.
Favorites to win Suburban Central Conference: It’s wide open.
First game: Parkway South at Queeny Recreational Complex at 9 p.m. on Nov. 4.
Quote: “We have a dedicated group that works hard and strives to improve,” Smith said. “Given the work ethic of this team, we should surprise some teams.”

Westminster Christian Academy Wildcats
2013-14 record: 10-9-2. Won division. Lost to Challenge Cup finalist De Smet in the second round of the playoffs.
Coach: Patrick McWard. Entering first year as head coach at Westminter Christian Academy.
Returning number of players and starters: 18 players. 4 starters.
Team captains: Parker Mitchem, John Moeller, Thomas Meyer and Fisher Wells.
Players on team to watch for this winter: Seniors Parker Mitchem and John Moeller, junior Willie Canfield and the defense will be anchored by senior Thomas Meyer.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Junior Gannon McWard and Freshman Levi Wright.
Team strengths: We will be strong offensively this season, although still a young team.
Goals: Our goal is to win our conference and to make finals of Challenge Cup this season.
Teams in Rockwood Division: Eureka, Lafayette, Marquette, Summit, Westminster.
Favorites to win Rockwood Division: Westminster, Summit.
First game: Vianney at South County (Kennedy) at 7 p.m. on Nov. 6.
Quote: “We are a relatively young team still but gaining experience,” McWard said. “We have one of the toughest schedules in Mid-States Hockey this season, by design. Our Municipal Conference is loaded with teams that will all be contenders at the end of the season as well as having SLUH, CBC, DeSmet, Vianney and Chaminade on our schedule. I am eager to see our kids play against the top teams in Mid-States.”

Whitfield Warriors
2013-14 record: 7-16-4 including playoffs. Went 3-1-1 in the playoffs and won the Founders Cup.
Coach: Jason Getz: Entering second year as head coach at Whitfield.
Assistant coaches: Andrew Freund, Drew Jolley, Johnny Londoff III.
Returning number of players and starters: 9 Players. 5 Starters.
Team captain: Senior Dan Temmen.
Players on team to watch for this winter: Junior Alex Freund and sophomore Ryan Edgar.
Newcomers expected to contribute: Junior Evgeniy Shomin, Freshman Eric Dalton, Freshman Gray Barnes
Team strengths: We will be stronger offensively this year.  We also have veteran leaders who have won championships.
Goals: To grow the program and have fun.
Teams in Suburban Central Division: Clayton, John Burroughs, Ladue, MICDS, Priory, Whitfield.
Favorites to win Suburban Central Division: Priory or Ladue.
First game: Fort Zumwalt East at Rec Plex South at 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 3.
Quote: “We are excited to be back for another year of Mid-States hockey,” Getz said. “When we graduated eight seniors, which was half of our team, we weren’t sure we would have the numbers to put a team out there. Yet we are back and excited about defending the Founders Cup or maybe even getting back into the Wickenheiser Cup tournament. We have a good young squad to build future years off of.”

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