As the start of the 2012-13 season approaches the Joel Barlow High hockey team faces one big challenge in particular.
The Falcons are in need of players to step up and score goals this season. Much of the offensive firepower they had last year is now gone.
“We graduated a lot of scoring, that’s for sure,” said eighth-year head coach Pete Maxfield, who will again be assisted by Charlie Blanchard and Mike Mallozzi. “That’s going to hurt quite a bit.”
On the positive side the Falcons have a good turnout. With 25 on the roster it is the largest they have had under Maxfield’s guidance.
The Falcons also have enough numbers to have a JV team, which will play six or seven games.
A couple of pre-season scrimmages will give the team a glimpse at what it might expect this season. The first real test will be on Saturday when it hosts Masuk at 6 p.m. at the Danbury Ice Arena.
Barlow will be hard-pressed to rival the scoring it had last season. Such helped it finish at 11-10 overall and qualify for the state Division III tournament.
But graduation took its toll on the team. Gone are a number of players, including former captain Mike Mattson and alternate captains Justin MacDougal and Jack Cartafalsa.
Mattson, an All-SWC selection as a forward, led the team in goals with 28. MacDougal and Cartafalsa (All-SWC honorable mention) also played forward, combining for 11 goals.
Forward Pat Callahan (All-SWC second team), who scored 21 goals, has also graduated, as has Jimmy Burger.
Barlow is also without Patrick Mimms (All-SWC honorable mention), who had 22 assists and has since moved to Fairfield.
The team will count on a number of players to step up this season, including senior captain Tim Eng and alternate captains Chris Van Camp, Andrew Mallozzi and Dan Cirino. Eng, an All-SWC honorable mention last season, played on defense but will move to forward this year. Van Camp will be on defense as well while Cirino will be at forward.
Also from the senior class is Mason Mobilio, a first-year player.
Starting in goal will be junior Thierry Jean, an All-SWC honorable mention last season. Returning as forward is Tyler Valus.
“He’s come along pretty well for us,” said Maxfield. “We’re going to need him to step up.”
New to the team are classmates Tim Jorgensen, Ian Carman and Oliver Gray, who will most likely play JV this season.
A number of sophomores will also contribute this season, including forward Charlie Berry.
“We expect quite a bit out of him,” said Maxfield. “He’s ready to make a contribution.”
On defense in Will Sinsigalli, who has improved quite a bit. Joe Pirone and Dan Pirone will both be at forward.
Russ Bennett is also a forward and will be on Barlow’s second line, as is Eddie Thiede.
Sophomore Andrew Rejeski will be on defense and could find a starting spot. New to the team is classmate J. P. Shimko, who is already making an impact according to Maxfield.
In addition, the Falcons had seven freshmen, including forwards Connor Martin, Steve Alix, Harry Goetz; defensemen Victor Ventricelli , Just Schachter and Mac Romaniello, and backup goalie Liam Murphy.
Once again the Falcons hope to qualify for the state tournament but that could be difficult. They do expect to challenge some teams along the way.
“Our goaltending and defense should be solid,” said Maxfield. “We’re going to struggle scoring.”