The Winthrop High hockey team will get the winter sports season officially underway Monday evening when Coach Dale Dunbar and his Vikings host Wilmington in a non league encounter. Face off time is 6:10 at Larsen Rink.
Winthrop is coming off a banner 16-1-3 season which saw the Vikings come within a whisker of topping Peabody for the championship of the Northeastern Conference Large School Division. The Vikings then went deep into the post season state tournament before losing to that same Peabody team in the third round.
Although Dunbar saw a fair number of his top players from last season depart via graduation, perhaps the biggest loss was that of goaltender Pat Feeley, the Player of the Year in the NEC last season, who opted to play his senior year at Berkshire Academy in Connecticut.
However, junior Steven Waites, who has been waiting in the wings behind Feeley for the past two seasons, is ready to step up between the pipes. The Vikings figure once again to be strong defensively in front of Waites, led by senior captain Jake Rand, junior Michael Paulson, senior Ryan McKinnon, and senior Dylen Piwinski.
Dunbar feels that his first line will feature some of the top forwards in the NEC with junior Chris LeBlanc centering senior wingers Nick Clewer and Joe Scarfo. Also expected to provide offensive punch for Winthrop are senior Tyler Pettee, Bobby Clewer, Derek Eruzione, and Mitch Paulson, among others.
â€œWeâ€™re looking forward to a good season,â€ said Dunbar. â€œWeâ€™ll be relying on our upperclassmen, but looking for our younger players also to step up.â€
After the encounter with Wilmington, Dunbar and crew get right into their NEC schedule with a match at Peabody early Wednesday evening (5:15 face off) before returning home next Saturday to host Danvers at Larsen at 7:20.
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The Winthrop High boys basketball team will open their 2010-2011 campaign Tuesday evening, hosting archrival Marblehead, one of their perennially tough foes in the Northeastern Divisionâ€™s Small School Conference. Tip off is 7:00 p.m.
WHS coach Dave Brown has led the Vikings to two consecutive NEC Small Division titles in which the Vikings were undefeated in the division in both seasons. Winthrop also has advanced to the final round of the Division 3 state tournament North Sectionals in the past three years.
However, most of players from that impressive run have moved on. The team lost eight seniors to graduation, most notably NEC Player of the Year Dino Mallios.
â€œWeâ€™re definitely a very inexperienced team,â€ noted Brown. â€œHowever, we have a number of boys who have been with the program for a few years and now itâ€™s their turn to step up.â€
The Vikings will be led by a trio of senior captains, Michael Griffin, J.P. Doherty, and Anthony Hatzisavas. Griffin saw a lot of action last year, though he was hobbled by an ankle injury, and will be looked upon to carry much of the load for Winthrop.
Hatzisavas has been a hard luck case. Anthony was out of action for much of last year with back problems and after the recent football season, underwent back surgery that will keep him on the sidelines for four to six weeks.
With the big guy laid up, Quinton Dale and Joe Dâ€™Amore will be counted upon to provide strength in the low post. Other Vikings who will see plenty of action this season include Charles Butler, Joe Levesque, Jonathan Spinazzola, and Joe Glufling.
â€œOur goal is to make the tournament once again,â€ said Brown. â€œIf the team works hard, we can make it happen.â€
After the contest with Marblehead, Winthrop will travel to another NEC Small School foe, Swampscott, on Friday.