Madison 2021-22 preview: Young Dodgers back in Mennen Division

MADISON DODGERS

Head coach: Joe Cecala, second year (12-2 career record)

Division: Mennen

Last year: Madison put together a dominant campaign, with a 12-2 overall record which culminated in a Halvorsen Cup title. It ran the table in the Halvorsen Division, finishing in first place with a perfect 8-0-0 record.

Key losses: Aidan Niceberg, F.; Jacoby Erickson, F.; Johnny Hamwee, F.; Matty Gero, D.; Mike Scheier, D.; Keaton Tom, G.

Top returners: Cormac McNamara, F, Sr.; Tyler Shannon, F, Jr.; Andrew Haralampoudis, F, Sr.; Luke Wirth, F, Sr.; Andrew Cimino, F, Sr.; Kyle Piechnik, F, So.; Liam O’Hearen, D, Sr.; John Rusen, D, So.

Newcomers: Luke Chayut, G, Jr.; Bryan Worthington, G, So.; Sam Gero, F, Fr.

Outlook: Madison is coming off an absolutely dominant 2020-21 campaign in the Halvorsen Division. Not only did it go unbeaten in the Halvorsen, but no team even came within three goals of the Dodgers. Its only two losses came to Mennen Division teams in Morristown (4-0) and Morris Knolls-Hills (4-3).

That level of success led to Madison being promoted back to the Mennen Division for this season, where it previously played in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons. It won its first-ever Mennen Cup in 2018-19.

However, it’s always a challenge when a team makes the jump up to one of the top divisions in the state. It’s an even more difficult task when a team graduates the senior class that Madison did after last year, which included a ton of firepower in Niceberg, Erickson, Hamwee, Gero, and Scheier, along with a very strong netminder in Keaton Tom.

Tasked with stepping up this season will be senior forwards Cormac McNamara (4 g., 4 a.), Andrew Haralampoudis (5 g., 4 a.), Luke Wirth, and Andrew Cimino. Junior Tyler Shannon (9 g., 6 a.) is the team’s top returning scorer, while sophomore Kyle Piechnik recorded six points as a freshman (1 g., 5 a.). Freshman Sam Gero also figures to have an impact this year.

Senior Liam O’Hearen is the team’s top returning defender (3 g., 10 a.), and he’ll be joined on the blue line by sophomore John Rusen. Goaltending is a huge question mark after the graduation of Keaton Tom, and it appears junior Luke Chayut and sophomore Bryan Worthington will be battling for playing time.

Overall, Madison- despite heavy graduation losses- still has a solid group of players returning. But if this team is going to compete in the Mennen Division, it is going to need to somehow replicate the scoring depth it had a year ago and will need its younger players to grow up quickly, almost across the board.

E-mail Mike Gurnis at michaelgurnis@gmail.com

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