All three local boys ice hockey teams carried high expectations this season, and unfortunately, cancellations to winter state tournaments left the book unfinished for two of the three area squads.
Despite an abrupt end to the season, it was still a very productive campaign for a number of local players that make our All-Herald list.
Hall-Southington’s Sean Roach makes this year’s squad, while Newington-Berlin and WMRP each place two players on the 2019-20 team. The Indians are represented by Sam Davies and Alex DiPaola, while Brody and Owen Davidson represent the Eagles.
Hall-Southington had been catching fire at the right time, and had just routed Staples 6-2 in the opening round of the Division III state tournament before the season was called off.
But the Warrior-Knights were in prime position to make a deep run thanks in part to Roach, a junior who had been heating up down the stretch.
Roach recorded two goals and an assist in Hall-Southington’s regular season home finale against E.O. Smith-Tolland, and in one of his more impressive goals, took the opening faceoff against rival Newington-Berlin and scored with just six seconds gone by to set the tone for a dominant 4-1 victory on the road the game before. It was the first of two goals for Roach, who will be one of the team’s pivotal pieces next season.
Newington-Berlin enjoyed a very successful regular season that included a 10-game winning streak before untimely injuries brought the season to an end in the first round of the Division III state tournament. Still, a 17-3 regular season is grounds for a memorable campaign, and the Indians boast a pair of entries on this squad.
Davies, a junior forward from Newington, was one of the team’s top scorers this season, scoring eight goals (second best on the team) while finishing with 15 points, the third-highest mark on the team. Davies, Sam Hedlund and Killian Ranger will form a dynamic scoring trio for Newington-Berlin next season.
DiPaola split time with Andrew Fogarty in net this season for the Indians, but when the senior was in net, he was tough to beat. In 10 games, DiPaola made a team-high 170 saves and allowed 1.9 goals per game.
DiPaola makes this list for the first time in what was his last season with the Indians. One of his most memorable performances was when he logged a shutout win over SLTN on Jan. 27, which clinched a state tournament berth for Newington-Berlin.
DiPaola ends his career with six total shutouts, and will be playing volleyball at the Division III level next season.
Like Hall-Southington, WMRP saw its season come to a premature end, and the Eagles looked poised to make a run in Division II after a 5-0 win over Eastern CT in the first round of the state tournament.
Part of WMRP’s success, which amounted to a 17-3 regular season record, was the play of its young core, including sophomore Brody Davidson. The forward shined at the varsity level in 2019-20, scoring eight goals and logging 11 points, the third-best mark on the team in both categories by an underclassman.
Davidson, from Plainville, fired 61 shots on goal this season, the fourth-highest mark on the Eagles. He also scored a game-winning goal during the regular season, and will look to increase his scoring output as an upperclassman next season.
Also having a productive season for WMRP was fellow sophomore Owen Davidson, who was one of the team’s top defenseman.
Owen scored two goals and accumulated nine points on the year, but made his impact on the other end of the ice, helping the Eagles with his 17 total takeaways, the third-most on the team. His defense helped the team log five shutouts during the regular season, and another in the state tourney.
WMRP looked like a state championship caliber team before the tournament was canceled, but with talents like Brody and Owen, the Eagles should be back to finish the job next winter.