By ALEX SPONSELLER After multiple down seasons, the Cranston West boys hockey team has turned things around by making the playoffs each of the past two winters and reaching last year's Division II Semifinals after shocking top-seeded Cumberland in the
By ALEX SPONSELLER After multiple down seasons, the Cranston West boys hockey team has turned things around by making the playoffs each of the past two winters and reaching last year’s Division II Semifinals after shocking top-seeded Cumberland in the quarters.
The Falcons will have a new look this time around after graduating a whopping 12 seniors from last year’s group.
“Starting late, it’s not going to be easy. So right now we’re trying to play catch up and make the most of the condensed season. We’re trying to give them that high school experience and a full schedule of games. We have a younger group that’s learning on the fly. It’s a compact season and we’re trying to teach them our system and lean on our (upperclassmen) and their experience,” said West coach Matt Brannon at a recent practice.
Although the team said bye to so many seniors, its numbers have remained solid and is welcoming back another large group of upperclassmen to lead the way.
“We graduated 12 seniors so it is a bit of a rebuilding year, but we have enough kids returning that we can lean on their playoff experience,” said Brannon. “Those juniors and sophomores got some good playing time late in the season and are going to have to log a lot of minutes this year. We’re young, but we’re not young.”
Perhaps the team’s biggest strength heading into the season will be its goaltending, being led by three seniors in Matt Corrente, Jacob Silva and Josh Case. Corrente and Silva were the team’s primary goalies throughout last season’s run.
“It’s good to have that leadership back there because they have been around for four years and know what to expect. Matt played in the playoffs but Jake had a big impact in getting us there, split time (in the regular season). That was a valuable experience for them making it to the playoffs and being two games away from the state championship,” said Brannon.
Although the Falcons have plenty of work to do, Brannon has been encouraged in the early going and feels that they will be ready come opening night.
“With so many kids not having their usual travel programs to train with, right now we are just trying to get them back into shape. The kids are starting to get their legs under them, we are starting to see that chemistry build with some lines,” said Brannon. “It’s going to take some time and unfortunately time is of the essence. We just want to get some games in and we don’t know what to expect. We’ll be ready for whenever we can get out there.”