YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y.— Yorktown’s ice hockey squad is coming off a season in which it played a highly competitive game before losing as the No. 10 seed to No. 7 Fox Lane 4-2 in a Section 1 Division 2 first-round contest to finish 10-10-1.
This year, Yorktown will be playing with Brewster under the moniker Brewster/Yorktown according to ninth-year coach Bob Fritsche, who will be a co-coach this year with Brewster’s Tom Andreacchio.
“We didn’t have enough kids, so we worked it out and we merged with Brewster,” Fritsche said. “It’s working out pretty well so far.”
Returning seniors from Yorktown on this year’s team are forward Anuj Gupta, goalie Christian Grossi and defensemen Jean-Marc Groux and Sepp Boeschl.
“They are all returning players so there is a comfort level that we have with them,” Fritsche said. “They know their role; they know what they need to do. It’s a senior year for them, so it’s a big role for them to take on.”
Other returning players from Yorktown are sophomore forward Justin Groux, junior forward Chris Zumpano, sophomore forward Connor Sullivan and junior goalie Dylan Tolbert.
Freshman forward Ben Moffat is also from Yorktown and a first-year varsity player.
“They know we have a job to do,” Fritsche said. “With the merge — it’s all new to everybody. Not that these kids don’t know each other from playing travel hockey but they need to just work together and make it happen. We have a pretty fast team the way it looks right now.”
Brewster/Yorktown, which will compete in League C with Hendrick Hudson, Pawling, Carmel and Horace Greeley, will open the season against Hen Hud at 6:40 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, at the Brewster Ice Arena.
“We just want to come together as two entities and have a good season,” Fritsche said. “Let’s make something positive out of what was going to be a pretty big negative for both of us. That’s our goal: to get everybody together. Let’s make it work because we don’t know how long it’s going to be until we can actually build our own programs back up and separate and play against each other again someday.”
Lakeland/Panas’ 17th-year coach Bart Mucci is looking forward to this year’s realignment, which has it in League E with ETB (Eastchester/Tuckahoe/Bronxville), Nyack/Tappan Zee, Rivertown and Mamaroneck B.
“When I first started coaching, the power-league system was the one in place,” Mucci said. “We’ve all been complaining for the last four, five years, they went to the geographic leagues in hockey. If we all had rinks on campus it would make sense, but since we don’t it really doesn’t. It’s better to have quality of play and when sectionals come around, we’re a big school and we get mixed in with the big boys and we see what we have. At least in our league play, every time we go to the rink, we know we are going to be right in the game, which is how it should be in high-school sports.”
With realignment, Mucci said ,he has high expectations for his team after a couple of rebuilding campaigns.
“The best team in the league last year won five games total,” Mucci said. “It should be teams we can compete against and I would expect us to be in the conversation at the end of the season for the top seed.”
Returning for the Rebels are senior captains and forwards, Matt Sillcocks and Anthony Cappello.
“I expect good leadership; they are both four-year lettermen. They’re experienced, the scoring will come from them,” Mucci said. “This will be the first year they both are going to be able to play forward. We have had to use them on defense the last couple of years to just spread the talent a little bit so that will be a good opportunity for them.”
Three other key returning players are seniors: defenseman Matt Kness, forward Kyle Carroll and junior forward Paige Sullivan.
Two key newcomers for the Rebels are freshmen, forward P.J. Kowal and defenseman Christian Jiminez.
“They are good hockey players,” Mucci said. “We generally don’t take freshmen unless we really know they are going to make an impact. We will expect scoring from them and just good heads- up hockey play.”
Lakeland/Panas will open the season at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 25 against Carmel at the Brewster Ice Arena.