After three months of Covid-mandated delays, the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference is ready to begin its third season. Here’s a look at what to expect from the four conference schools.
Coach: Wally Muehlbronner (23rdseason)
Last year: 14-10-2, 3-3-2-1 in APAC; won league title
Key players: Sr. Liam Gross (G); Sr. Andrew Budzynski (D); Sr. Nick Astolfi (D); Sr. David Kimmel (F); Sr. Jake Hannon (F); Jr. Keenan Schneider (F).
Outlook: The Explorers enter the season as the two-time defending APAC champions. They are also the defending Class AAA Flyers Cup and state champions, since those events were not completed/did not occur last season.
This year’s team is deep and experienced. Twelve players return from last year’s roster, including the top scoring line and some experienced defensemen.
Muehlbronner’s hope is that his corps of returnees will bond quickly with a group of eager newcomers to create cohesiveness in a compressed season.
Kimmel. Hannon, and Schneider are all proven goal scorers while Budzynski heads the blue-line corps.
Holy Ghost Prep
Coach: Gump Whiteside (12thseason)
Last year: 16-5-1, 5-3-1-0 in APAC
Key players: Sr. Bobby Baeshser (G); Sr. E.J. Pohl (D); Sr. Jake Marek (D); Sr. Jimmy Littley (D); Jr. Luke Panepresso (D); Jr Brian Butler (D); Brady Baesher (F); Sr. Evan Mudrick (F); Sr. Cole Stevens (F); Sr. Carlos Rodriguez, Jr. (F); Sr. John Connelly (F); Sr. Michael Connelly (F); JR. Sean Marshall (F); Sr. Pat McAneny (F); So. Anthony Sparo (F).
Outlook: The Firebirds’ lineup will feature an abundance of experienced veterans. Mudrick and Stevens will be counted on up front while Pohl is a fixture on the blue line and Baehser is experienced in goal.
Whiteside is expecting his senior class to provide leadership but will be looking to his younger players to step up when called upon.
Coach: Bill Keenan (second season)
Last year: 8-8, 2-5-2-0 in APAC
Key players: Sr. Chris Blango (D); Sr. Ryan Sambuco (F); Sr. Jack Costabile (F); Jr. Matt Harris (F); Jr. Anthony Perti (G); Jr. Pierre Larocque (F); Jr. Quinn Dougherty (D); Fr. Jeremy Jacobs (F); So. Jimmy Jacobs (F); Fr. Brady Doyle (D).
Outlook: The Friars will enter APAC play having already played and won three non-league games.
There is a strong core of returnees, featuring Perti in goal and Blango and Dougherty on the blue line. Harris, Constabile, Sambuco, and Larocque are being counted on up front.
St. Joseph’s Prep
Coach: David Giacomin (eighth season)
Last year: 15-13, 3-2-0-4 in APAC
Key players: St. Andrew Custer (G); Sr. Ryan Newby (D); Sr. Dominic Fantozzi (F); Sr. Connor Burman (F); Sr. Riley Abel (D); Sr. Ben Miraglia (F); Sr. Jack Yerger (F); Jr. Matthew Moresco (D); Jr. Nick Storti (D); So. Rocco Bruno (G); So. Jeffrey Hammond (F); So. Joe Samango (F).
Outlook: This season’s edition of the Hawks is lacking in experience but Giacomin likes this group’s enthusiasm.
“We can’t wait to get playing” he said. We have leadership in key areas”.
One of those key areas is in goal, where Custer and Bruno figure to be an effective tandem.
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