— Parity is a word that can be associated with this year’s Champlain Valley Athletic Conference boys’ hockey season.
The title will be up for grabs as each team returns a plethora of experience.
Perennial power Saranac Lake, which was able to reach the final four a season ago, looks to defend its crown with veteran leadership at every position on the ice.
CVAC regular-season champion Beekmantown was unable to make a clean sweep of Plattsburgh High and was upset in the sectional semifinals. Yet the Hornets couldn’t overcome a three-goal deficit in the championship.
Lake Placid owns one of its most experienced teams in years, while Northeastern Clinton is expected to be strong from the net out.
Saranac’s program is on the rise, and the Chiefs look to be a threat come playoff time.
The Eagles (16-2-3, 8-0-2 last year) were hit hard by graduation, losing eight key contributors, including leading goal-scorer Carter Frechette and standout defenseman Jordan Barriere.
However, coach Justin Frechette has placed emphasis on developing underclassmen and believes this group is ready to produce at a higher level.
Finishing on offensive opportunities while getting solid goaltending from Dustin Plumadore and Ben Frederick will be key. Each netminder has exhibited excellent athleticism in the preseason, Frechette said.
At forward, the Eagles return seniors Cole Carter, Brenden Carnright, Tanner Roser and Austin Bradish.
Hunter Dominy, Jordan Barriere, Carter Frechette, Tavon Ford-Relation, Kody Rascoe, Scott Santor, Corey Gonyea, Dereck Fleming.
Josh Barriere, Kyle Bisonette, Austin Bradish, Brenden Carnright, Cole Carter, Kyle Constanty, Skye Dominy, Nate Foster, Ben Frederick, Brett Giroux, Seth Holder, Matt LaClair, Dustin Plumadore, Tanner Roser, Callum Sullivan, Ryan Waterbury.
Keenan Carter, Gabriel Chamberlain, Cameron Giroux, Ely Giroux, Bryce Lee, Brantley Marion.
The Blue Bombers (14-6-1, 6-3-1) return 19 players from last year’s squad and look to utilize good team speed while operating an up-tempo style of play this season.
Offensively, coach Keith Clark will look to Eddie Kane. The senior forward garnered 23 goals and eight assists one year ago.
Keegan Barney, Ryan Damp, Dillion Savage, Troy Jacques and Shane McNierney will also add to point production.
In net, Lake Placid has strong goaltending, including returners Tucker Angelopoulos and Jeffrey Smith.
Dustin Jacques, Alex Kulina.
Tucker Angelopoulos, Elias Smith, Nzoni Thompson, Keegan Barney, Ryan Damp, Shane McNierney, Pat Kane, Troy Jacques, Connor Preston, Eddie Kane, Haile Thompson, R.J. Reid, Kiefer Casler, Ryan Meyer, Lucas Strack, Kyle Shipman, Chris Williams, Dillon Savage, Jeffrey Smith.
Dalton Jacques, Bjorn Kroes, Noah Mohr, Jared Smith, Kamm Cassidy, Steve Kulina.
The Cougars (11-10, 5-5) lost some key players to graduation, and they’ll be looking for the younger players on the team to step up and play bigger roles.
Northeastern Clinton is looking to play solid team defense and hopes its forwards can keep teams bottled up in their own end and put some pucks in the net.
Northeastern Clinton has three goaltenders in seniors Kyle McCarthy and Cody Young and junior Anthony Piche. Upperclassmen returning on defense include seniors Zac Guay and Josh Rabideau and junior Reece Tucker.
At forward, the Cougars return seniors Alex Duffy and Kastle Birch and juniors Ryan Marks, Mason Letourneau, Jordan LaMere and Nick Palmer. The roster is rounded out by four sophomores and three freshman newcomers.
Matt Letourneau, Ben Leduc, Liam McDonough, James Guay.
Alex Duffy, Kastle Birch, Zac Guay, Josh Rabideau, Kyle McCarthy, Cody Young, Ryan Marks, Mason Letourneau, Jordan LaMere, Nick Palmer, Reece Tucker, Anthony Piche, Massimo Birch, Nick LeDuc, Chad Littlefield, Brady Vassar.
Cameron Hurlburt, Dayton Roberts, Ryan Savage.
The Hornets (7-14-1, 2-8) look to be competitive in the CVAC with First-Team All-Star goaltender Robby Knowles returning between the pipes.
Plattsburgh High has good speed and skill with its group of talented forwards.
Coach Jamie Reidy is depending on Jack Tolosky, Alex Maston, Eric Bechard, John Anthony Fine-Lease, Ryan Whalen and Mike Stetz for production.
Devin Richards, Jake Richards, Marshall Maynard, Nate Noelting, Matt Magee.
Robby Knowles, Alex Maston, Brandon Matott, Sean Shea, Jack Tolosky, John Anthony Fine-Lease, Eric Bechard, Ryan Whalen, Michael Stetz, Colin Giroux, Cory Trudeau.
Noah Gagnier, Devin Clarke, J.D. Side, Kevin Dandrow, Giancarlo Ventre, Andrew Bechard, Gavin Giroux.
Saranac looks to improve on a lackluster season with nine seniors and a great deal of size and strength.
The Chiefs (3-16, 1-9) will need to stay healthy for the duration of the season in an effort to compete in the playoffs.
Matt McCasland, Kyle Erickson, Jeremy Barber, Zach Lareau, Ryan McCall, Nick Uliva, Alex Sarazen and Tyler Ballantine led a senior-laden team.
Ed Davis has decided to change the program’s philosophy to a defensive-oriented approach.
Matt McCasland, Kyle Erickson, Jeremy Barber, Zach Lareau, Jacob Lilledahl, Ryan McCall, Nick Uliva, Alex Sarazen, Tyler Ballantine, Tristan Archambault, Jonathan Plessis-Belair, Austin Gilbert, Jordan Bashaw.
Colin Recore, Dylan Baker, Camden Rock.
Defending champion Saranac Lake will rely on goaltender Blake Darrah, who led the Red Storm (15-8-1, 6-3-1) to the final four one season ago.
Also returning is power forward Grant Strack. The senior captain will play a pivotal role on the first line, while junior defenseman Bradley Shumway has been identified as a leader on the blue line.
Coach Will Ellsworth said the team will play a tight, defensive system, but its weakness will be depth.
Devin Darrah, Kyle Dora, Tyler Curry, Patrick Woodward, Jacob Garrett, Shawn Wilcox, Matt Phelan (injured).
Blake Darrah, Deryck Huyck, Bradley Shumway, Grant Strack, Quinn Urquhart, Blake Battistoni, Chris Spicer, Ethan Sawyer, Nicholas Bayruns, Ivan Irvine, Trevor Keough, David Cluckey, Justin Farmer.
Evan Hill, Christian Thomas, Seth Pickreign, Connor Trim, Don Duffy, Drew Sturgeon.