H.S. hockey / 2018-19 preview capsules

Eastern Connecticut Eagles

Coach: Randy Craig (6th season)

Key returnees: Sr. F Ryan Huta, Sr. F Trent Hughson, Jr. F Will Cannella, Jr. F Kyle Jacobson, Jr. F Evan Tower, Jr. D Jake Verbridge, So. D Devyn Jordan, So. D Kyle Marino, Jr. G Rylin Fowler, Jr. F/D Ashton Baltes.

Top newcomers: Jr. F Alex Mann, So. D Miles Hinckley, So. G Wes Williamson, Fr. F Anthony Gesino.

Outlook: The Eagles started the 2017-18 season with four straight wins and never looked back, finishing 19-3-3 en route to winning the Nutmeg Hockey Conference tournament title and the CIAC Division III championship with a 7-3 win over Tri-Town in the final. The team, a cooperative program featuring athletes from Fitch (host school), East Lyme, Ledyard, Stonington, Waterford, Wheeler, Griswold and Hale-Ray, moves up to Division II this season but returns plenty of firepower and should be a factor at the conference and state level again. The Eagles "should be another high-scoring, fun team to watch," said Craig, whose offense features dangerous forwards Huta, Tower, Jacobsen and Cannella, while Jordan and Marino anchor a defense in front of the veteran Fowler.

Redhawks

Coach: Jim Motyka (4th year)

Key returnees: Jr. F Ryan LoVetere, Sr. G Spencer Flynn, Sr. D Colin Larkin, Sr. F Chris Samek, So. F Steve Turchetta.

Top newcomers: Sr. F Justin Rezaz, So. D Joe Cafro, So, F Jimmy Enos.

Outlook: The Redhawks, a cooperative program featuring players from NFA (host school), Bacon Academy, Killingly, Lyman Memorial, Montville, Norwich Tech and St. Bernard, went 4-16 last season and were hit hardest by graduation losses to their top scorers. They do return Flynn, an all-state pick, in goal, and a dangerous player in LoVetere. Motyka said the key will be how quickly some of the program's talented newcomers develop.

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