Head coach: John Kovacs, 27th year (397-334-60 career record between Mendham and Morris Knolls)
Last year: Mendham finished 11-7-1, with a 5-3 record in the Halvorsen Division. It saved its best hockey for late, as it upset Morristown for the Halvorsen Cup title after two regular season losses to that same team. It reached the quarterfinals of the Public B state tournament, where it lost to Rumson-Fair Haven.
Key losses: Tristan Aikenhead, F (26 g., 14 a.); Matt Cooley, F; Griffin Jozefek, F (4 g., 19 a.); Liam Lloyd, F (13 g., 8 a.); Gavin Marshuetz, F; Grant McClung, D; Sean Caddo, D (2 g., 13 a.); Brandon Weinerman, D.
Top returners: Michael Gionco, F, Sr. (8 g., 10 a.); Mac Goggin, D, Sr. (4 g., 14 a.); Blake Stevens, D, Sr. (3 g., 14 a.); E.J. Gleie, F, Sr. (9 g., 13 a.); Ian Tamboowalla, F, Sr. (4 g., 9 a.); Shane McCarthy, Sr.; Gavin Thrun, G, So. (.870 sv%); Ian Aikenhead, F, So.
Potential incoming impact players: Brandon Eigner, G, Fr.; Brendan Eigner, D, Fr.; Cameron Smith, F, So.; Jake Fox, F, So.; Will Andrews, F, So.; Max Szpakowski, F, Fr.; Eddie Fox, F, So.; Colin McCarthy, F, So.
Burning question: Can Mendham continue its recent winning tradition?
The senior class which graduated last year- highlighted by players such as Aikenhead, Jozefek, Lloyd, and Caddo- set quite the standard for Mendham hockey, winning the Haas Cup in their freshman year before winning the Halvorsen Cup in their sophomore and senior seasons. With that group of players gone, it will be interesting to see if this year’s team can maintain that level of play.
Outlook: At first glance, when a team loses a senior class like the one Mendham had last year, it usually would be assumed that team is heading for a rebuilding year.
Mendham, however, has the pieces in place to be a team that reloads, rather than rebuilds, this year. It has a strong crop of returning forwards in Gionco, Gleie, and Tamboowalla, with excellent defensemen in Goggin and Stevens. Sophomore goalie Gavin Thrun showed a lot of promise last season, especially in the team’s biggest games. He posted a 19-save shutout in the Halvorsen Cup final, before stopping 26 of 28 shots in a win over Glen Rock in the Public B first round.
Those returning players, plus some promising incoming talent, should add up to another strong season for Mendham. It should once again be in contention for the Halvorsen Cup.
E-mail Mike Gurnis at firstname.lastname@example.org
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