Red Bank Catholic
Division/Classification: Class A Central, Non-Public
Record last year: 18-6-3 (10-1-1)
Home rink: Red Bank Armory
Opening night: Tuesday, Dec. 1 at Seton Hall Prep, 4:15 p.m.
Senior graduation wasn’t kind to Red Bank Catholic.
The Caseys lost a pair of All-Shore caliber skaters in Todd Goehring and Matt Chinnici, not to mention a trio of first and second-liners in John Gattuso, Griffin Hurley, and Max Weber.
That leaves coach Ken Carlson with 218 collective points to replace and the unanswered question of how to go about doing that?
Returning one of the premiere offensive forces in not only the Shore Conference, but the state of New Jersey, in senior Evan Hoey is a good start.
“We’re obviously going to be expecting a lot of Evan in his senior season,” said Carlson, who enters his 13th season at the helm of the Caseys. “Certainly we need scoring from him, but he’ll also be taking on a more of leadership role than ever before…We’re going to have an up and down season, and we’ll need him to keep us on an even keel.”
The adage goes that one player can’t make or break a team, and though that still may hold true in the senior’s case, the stats and standings told a different tale a season ago, as Red Bank Catholic finished with an undefeated mark of 17-0-1 with Hoey in the lineup, and just 1-6-2 when the forward missed nine games with a pair of upper body injuries.
With that notion mind, Hoey is thrilled for the opportunity to assume the Caseys captaincy and lead his club into 2015-16.
“I’m looking forward to leading this team,” said Hoey, who finished as Red Bank Catholic’s second leading scorer last year with 52 points on 31 goals and 21 assists in 18 games. “I know a lot of the younger guys are looking to me to be a leader and put up points, and I’m excited to help teach the first time varsity guys what the high school level is all about.”
Leadership and point production won’t fall entirely on the senior’s head, as Red Bank Catholic will also return Alec Mintz, who has shared a line with Hoey since the pair began their scholastic careers.
“We’ve been together for the past four years, and have played club together for the past two year,” Hoey said of his familiarity with Mintz, who recorded 48 points on 21 goals and 27 assists last season. “We don’t know the reasons why our chemistry is so good, we just know it is, and we’re excited to play one more year together.”
Red Bank Catholic enters this forthcoming campaign as a two-time defending conference tournament champion, and if that title is to remain intact, the Caseys will need steady production from seniors Andrew Lambert and Kyle Amato (a transfer from Red Bank Regional), as well as larger contributions from juniors Matt Tringola and Robert Goehring, and sophomores Brian Anderson, Doug Rubin, and Noah Sepe.
“I think the players we have coming back and those we lost will force us to play a little different style than we have in the past, but I really don’t think we’ll skip a beat,” said Hoey, who enters the year with 123 career points and is expected to break the program scoring record of 141 points held by Victor Scotto. “With back-to-back conference titles we know there’s a lot to live up to, and that we have a lot of work to do.”
The caseys defense blue line will feature seniors alternative captain Cole Kirchner, and juniors Sean Carver, Garrett Bade, and Nick Velez, as well as sophomore John Horner, while senior net-minder Matt Benjamin returns to the crease after splitting time with Brandon Rozzi last year and posting a 6-3-2 record with an .890 save-percentage and a 3.26 goals against average.
Red Bank Catholic opens its season at Seton Hall Prep on Tuesday, Dec. 1 with a 4:15 p.m. puck drop, before returning home the following night for an 8 p.m. tilt with Point Boro.