Wahconah hockey coach Don Disbrow nearly had a big-time problem on his hands at the start of the year. His first goalie option was a freshman.
That situation is more shored up now with transfer Roger Steadman between the pipes. While this is only his third year playing goalie, the coaching he received from a former Division-I goalie while he was the backup for Mount Everett has him ready to be the starter.
"I got very lucky," Disbrow said. "That kind of bailed us out of a tough situation. He looks pretty solid. ... He’s got good movements. He’s a big kid, he’s probably 6-1, so he takes up a lot of the net if he’s got his angles right."
That will take some pressure off the offense, although with the forwards the Warriors are dressing, that may not have been a problem any way.
Senior captains Nick Montferrett and Lane Grogan and senior Ryan Ouimet (Drury) all return and were big parts of the high-scoring offense that tore through the Hennessy League last season. Add David Senecal to the mix and the Warriors are just as big of a threat. Senecal, a senior from Drury, has been playing midget travel in New York but decided to play high school hockey his senior year.
"I think we’re going to have a little less [firepower]," Disbrow said. "I think we’re still going to be in pretty good shape.
"Senecal, he’s not as fast as [Tanner] Bird, but he can shoot like him. He’s played some good hockey. He’s a bigger body than Bird, so he’s certainly not afraid to mix it up in front of the net or in the corners. So I don’t think there’s going to be a huge drop off there."
The Warriors have three more seniors (two forwards and one defensemen) and a pair of juniors (Steadman and defenseman Patrick Jamross) that make up the rest of the heart and soul of the 13-man roster.
Ryder Fairbank, a senior defenseman, is back after missing the past two seasons because of surgery. His addition, plus Senecal, boosted Wahconah from 10 skaters to 12. But these late high school career acquisitions aren’t anything new for Wahconah.
"It seems like we’ve added one or two upperclassmen every year," Disbrow said. "I picked up Matty Freitag last year, and he was a 30-point senior, 30-point scorer last year. He wasn’t on the team the previous year, he was playing midgets."
Disbrow said Fairbank is still shaking off the rust of not playing, but he’s seeing improvement each day. Senior Austin Poulton (HV) and junior Jamross will be the team’s top defensive pairing. Each has been playing varsity for three years. Poulton is the assistant captain. Sophomore Jeff Hancock (Drury) is the other defenseman of the four-man corps.
"We got some kids that can skate and move the puck," Disbrow said of his blueliners. "I told them this in a defensive meeting that to me, defensemen are kind of the key to a team. You can have a lot of offense, but if you can’t break the puck out of your own zone, you’re in trouble."
Despite having just 12 skaters and a goalie, Disbrow believes this is one of the deepest teams he’s coached.
"Luckily, I believe, we have enough talent to balance out two strong lines again, which has kind of been our M.O. and our success," he said. "Obviously we’re upperclassmen-heavy with the nine of them. So we got some good experience there."