Bulldogs aim for top spots in Division II

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MANCHESTER — After finishing 11-11 last season and falling in the Division II quarterfinals to Colchester, the Burr and Burton boys hockey team returns for the 2019-20 season with a veteran core ready to make the jump into the top echelon of D-II.

"A lot of these guys have been playing together, not just in hockey, but other sports as well, so they have quite the connection," said BBA coach Mark Slade.

The top two scorers from a year ago, Joey McCoy and Jakub Mulac, both return, having combined for 32 of the team's 68 goals.

McCoy led the way with 19 goals and 13 assists, while Mulac added 14 tallies and five assists. After the first game of this season, Mulac is back at it, scoring four goals against U-32 in the opener.

"Joey gives us so much leadership, both on game days and off the ice, which is just as important," Slade said.

On defense, Banner defensive player of the year Owen King graduates, but many are back after a year of experience.

In goal is a four-year starter in Ethan Simonds, who Slade says is one of the top goalies in the state, regardless of division.

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"Ethan is one of our captains and you don't usually have a goalie as a captain," Slade said. "He has the character and the experience back there. Simonds' save percentage last season was .908." The other two captains are McCoy and John Miceli.

An important part this season is the team's depth, something they haven't had in past years. Slade has more than 20 players, allowing him the freedom to play three separate lines on offense, and about two-and-a-half on defense.

Slade said that players including Matthew Grabher and Nicky Miceli will get a bigger piece of the ice time this season. In the opening game, both took advantage, putting points on the board. Duncan Chamberlain looks to continue his run as one of the top scorers on the Bulldogs as well, as does Ben Swinarton, who scored a pair of goals in the opener against U-32.

Defensively, he cited seniors Quinn Murnaghan and Phoenix Heleba as a pair of players who will patrol the back third of the ice and keep opponent forwards at bay.

The Bulldogs hope to be in the mix of the top teams in Division II, including two-time defending champion Woodstock. Slade said other contenders include Brattleboro, Lyndon and Mount Mansfield.

"We want to compete for those top spots and then be ready for a good push at the end," Slade said.

Roster: Joseph McCoy, John Miceli, Ethan Simonds, Angus Bellingham, Jayden Bloom, Griff Briggs, Aidan Buggee, Mark Carthy, Duncan Chamberlain, Christian Dresser, Emmett Edwards, Benjamin French, Aubrey Goodband, Matt Grabher, Phoenix Heleba, Miles Kaplan, Zachary King, Edward Knowles, Nicky Miceli, Jakub Mulac, Adam Murnaghan, Quinn Murnaghan, Karter Noyes, Giancarlo Russo, Declan Sullivan, Ben Swinarton, Andrew Toussaint.


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