Vernon 2022-23 season preview

VERNON VIKINGS

Head coach: Christian Conway, second season (9-11 career record).

Division: Haas

Last year: Vernon finished 9-11 overall with a 5-5 record in the Haas Division. It qualified for the Haas Cup in the final game of the regular season with a dramatic 5-4 win over West Morris, before falling to that same squad, 10-3 in the semifinals. It topped Scotch Plains-Fanwood in the Public B tournament play-in, and then fell, 10-2 to eventual state champion Northern Highlands in the first round.

Key losses: Dylan Shea, F (32 g., 27 a.); Evan Steinbach, F (26 g., 19 a.); Lucas Brennan, D (11 g., 12 a.).

Top returning players: Devin England, F, Sr. (13 g., 17 a.); Jonathan Chromcik, D, Sr. (5 a.); Christopher Gay, D, Jr. (4 g., 10 a.); Luke Zabriskie, D, Jr. (3 g., 10 a.); Max Badu, G, Sr.

Potential incoming impact players: Megan Calkin, F, Jr.

Burning question: Who will step up to replace the scoring punch of Shea and Steinbach?

Vernon had the luxury of having two of the top scorers in the area on its roster last season in Dylan Shea and Evan Steinbach, who combined for an eye-popping 58 goals. With those two gone, along with defenseman Lucas Brennan, the challenge for Vernon this season will be to find a way to replicate that type of production.

Outlook: Vernon has gone through a very long period of success for much of the last decade, but continuing that level of play looks to be a challenge for the Vikings this year.

If it is going to be back in the mix as one of the Haas’ top teams, it will need to find out where its goals will come from outside of senior forward Devin England. The strength of this team, without question, will be its defensemen, led by Christopher Gay, Luke Zabriskie, and Jonathan Chromcik.

E-mail Mike Gurnis at michaelgurnis@gmail.com

Donate to the Morris-Sussex Hockey Report’s GoFundMe

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