The Rome Free Academy hockey staff is mild on seniors, but when the gamers are prepared to work they will use their measurement and pace to compete in a crowd of gifted Part III groups, mentioned head coach Jason Nowicki.
The staff went 3-3 final season, with a schedule drastically shortened due to COVID-19.
The Black Knights will open their season internet hosting the Bobby Ciccotti Event at Kennedy Area tonight. They’ll play Clinton at 7:30, with Whitesboro and New Hartford squaring off at 5:30 p.m. The winners of the 2 video games will play the next day within the championship whereas the opposite two groups can even play Saturday.
“I adore it,” mentioned Nowicki of opening the season with the match. “Going again to once I performed we all the time seemed ahead to the match with Whitesboro, New Hartford and Clinton.” The eighth-year head coach mentioned: “We stay up for exhibiting who one of the best staff within the Mohawk Valley is.”
The staff has solely three seniors this season, two on protection and one in aim. “We have now three seniors. I like our seniors. Good leaders who’re doing good issues for us already,” the coach mentioned.
Antonio Bevilacqua is a kind of senior defenders. Nowicki referred to as him “an incredible chief for us who has been taking cost in our practices and scrimmages to this point.” On the ice, he’s “very stable within the defensive finish and may lead a breakout,” the coach added.
Joshua Talbot can also be again for his senior yr on protection. A giant, sturdy participant, Talbot earned a spot among the many 4 major defensemen, Nowicki mentioned. He’s, the coach mentioned, “in all probability our strongest child. We simply must get him expertise.”
“We have now some measurement again on protection,” Nowicki mentioned. Becoming a member of Bevilacqua and Talbot among the many high 4 are juniors Tyler Wilson and Jacob Swavely, who’ve been taking part in often since they have been freshmen. “We’re anticipating massive issues from there,” Nowicki mentioned. They began the season specializing in protection and are actually shifting the puck and including offense.
The remainder of the defensemen are new to varsity: sophomores Luke Haag and Nathan Van Wie in addition to freshman Christopher Brement.
Behind the protection would be the staff’s different senior, goalie Lenny Dormio. “I believe that Lenny very securely has the job proper now,” Nowicki mentioned. “However he is aware of that he’s going to be pushed by each goalie we now have.” Dormio needed to wait his flip in earlier seasons, caught behind Isaiah Nebush, who Nowicki referred to as one of many high goalies within the state. “I’m as excited as anybody to see Lenny get on the market and play.”
The staff has two different goalies as effectively, returning junior Braeden Sturtevant and Donte Sparace, a seventh grader. “He’s a child we noticed rather a lot within the tryout interval and we expect he may have a superb future for us,” Nowicki mentioned of Sparace.
“We preach protection first all the time. We’re going to be stable on the defensive finish and opportunistic on the offensive finish,” the coach mentioned. So who will RFA look to for that aim scoring?
One place to look is a gaggle of juniors all again for an additional season: Jacob Premo, Jack Pylman and Connor Sprock. Premo performed premium minutes the previous two seasons whereas Pylman and Sprock got here on in the course of the season final yr, Nowicki famous.
Two others who confirmed enchancment final season have been sophomores Carmen Orton and John Sharrino, the coach mentioned.
Then there’s the younger speedsters, sophomore Jimmy DeAngelo and freshman Tyler Lokker. Nowicki mentioned each have “taken an enormous step forward from final yr.” He continued: “I believe we’re larger and stronger than we’ve been however we’re sooner too. We have now guys who can actually transfer.” DeAngelo and Lokker are prime examples.
There are additionally 5 forwards new to varsity: sophomores Brandon Natale, Nicholas Toth-Ratazzi, Logan Waterman and Jonathan Wilson; and freshman Peter Summa.
“What I’ve instructed these forwards is that we don’t have a primary line, a second line or a 3rd line. We have now 9 forwards,” Nowicki mentioned. And, he famous, this system can have them sooner or later too, as none are seniors graduating within the spring. “Probably the most thrilling half about this group of forwards is that I’m not dropping any of them subsequent yr. You concentrate on what we now have now and even shifting into subsequent yr.”
When speaking about particular groups, Nowicki mentioned: “The facility play is a piece in progress.” There’s a lack of expertise, he famous. Final season Premo was on a high unit, however that’s a lot of the staff’s expertise with the person benefit. Nowicki mentioned the staff must get alternatives to be taught on the ice, particularly in video games that matter.
“I couldn’t be extra excited to educate this group of men,” Nowicki mentioned. “They’re onerous working. They need to be nice. It’s one factor to say you need to be nice however nice groups go on the market and show it. It comes all the way down to how a lot we’re going to work. How relentless are we going to be on the ice?” He continued: “It’s important to have the mentality that nothing goes to cease you,” from training and studying technique to the sport itself.
Part III’s Division 1 is all the time robust, Nowicki mentioned. “Any league recreation we play goes to be a battle.” The opposite groups are Baldwinsville, Cazenovia, Cicero-North Syracuse, Fayetteville-Manlius, Fulton, Liverpool, Mohawk Valley, Ontario Bay, Syracuse, Watertown IHC and West Genesee. “We have now some good hockey right here in Part III.”