UNION, NJ - The Dayton Boys Hockey team will begin its 2019-20 campaign tonight versus Newton-Lenape Valley at Union Sports Arena with first face off set for 9:10 p.m.
The Bulldogs, who started off strong with a 5-2 record early on, are coming off a promising 9-7-1 mark last season and a third-place finish in the McMullen Division of The New Jersey Interscholastic Hockey League (NJIIHL) with a 3-5 record. They also qualified for the State tournament for the first time since 2007, which was a huge accomplishment for the program.
Key returnees include: senior forwards captain Joe Triano (10 goals, 9 assists, 19 points), Brenden Smith (13-6-19), Victor Velaquez (12-10-22); junior forward Gary Mignone (7-8-15);
junior defenseman Mark Cunningham (0-5-5) and senior goalie Nick Facchini, who posted nine wins, one shutout, had an 85% save percentage and played every minute last season.
Second-year head coach Brian Hayes will begin his second season at the helm and looks to continue to improve and build from last year’s successes.
“We lost two key seniors in Daniel Dorokhin and J.T. Bokoske from last year’s team, but we ae hopeful our core returning forwards, Triano, Velaquez, Smith and Mignone, will not only continue their scoring from last year, but also improve on it,” said Hayes. “Mark (Cunningham) and Giovanni (Dersono) will anchor the defense now that Dorokhin has graduated. Nick (Facchini) returns in goal, but incoming freshman Eric Serio is expected to see some action as well in net.”
After their season opener, the Bulldogs return to the ice Sunday night to face Bayonne at Union Sports Arena at 8:15 p.m.