E.O. Smith/Tolland/Windham hockey goes after a winning season

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Region - posted Tue., Jan. 14, 2014
EO/Tolland's Stavros Evripidou (left) faces off against NBM's Matthew Harackiewicz. Photos by Melanie Savage.
EO/Tolland's Stavros Evripidou (left) faces off against NBM's Matthew Harackiewicz. Photos by Melanie Savage.

Last year, the E.O. Smith/Tolland/Windham hockey team went 11-9-1 for the regular season and reached the quarter-final of the state tournament. The team lost that game to Rockville/Coventry/Bolton/Lyman Memorial, the eventual runner-up of the Division III championship.  “We lost several players, but return a solid core,” said head coach John Hodgson.

The team is led up front by senior Ross Brancati and junior Pete Mayer. “Brancati was second team All-State last year, while Mayer had 12 goals and 18 assists,” said Hodgson. This year, Mayer has eight goals in four games early in the season. 

On defense, seniors Justin Gagnon and Aaron Lassow are the leaders, along with junior Sean Benjamin. “They form a solid core,” said Hodgson. Junior Matt Schoen “is our second-year starting goalie, and is among the best in our league, CCC South, and in Connecticut Division III,” said Hodgson.

“We expect to compete in our league this year, with Newington [Berlin/Manchester] and [Rockville/Bolton/Coventry/Lyman Memorial] being our toughest challenges. Both return solid line-ups and are well coached,” the coach said.

Beyond the top players, “We are well balanced up front,” said Hodgson. Seniors Sean Duhamel and Ben Lassow play with freshman Evan Valenti. Juniors Stavros Evripidou, Dylan Coughlin, and Cam Burns are up from JV this year “and doing well,” said Hodgson. Other regular contributors are Matt Marshall, Dillon Perras and Jimmy Petrella.

“Our goal is to continue to get better every day, stay consistent, and compete for both a CCC South title and a Division III state championship this year,” said Hodgson. “Both will be a challenge, but are legitimate goals for this team this year.”

The captains for this year’s E.O. Smith/Tolland/Windham hockey team are Brancati, Gagnon and Aaron Lassow.  Additional seniors are Sean Duhamel, Benjamin Lassow, Austin Hill, Matthew Marshall, Bryan Lohman and Delaney Kirk.

As of Jan. 14, the team held a 4-2 record.

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