LITTLETON/HARVARD — The Littleton-Bromfield cooperative hockey team is looking to put last year’s 1-18-1 season behind them and are looking to improve this season. Coaching veteran Howie Schneider mentioned that the Tigers are a young team, but they are optimistic.
Bromfield has 11 players on the hockey team, and six of them are freshmen. The Tigers have two seniors, two juniors and two sophomores. The Tigers have just 28 members on the roster this season, with the majority coming from Littleton.
The Tigers graduated seven seniors from last year’s team. Last season was an uncharacteristic season for the co-op as Schneider pointed out that it wasn’t very long ago that this team only lost a couple games here and there.
Like every high school sport, each team has their peaks and valleys. The Littleton-Bromfield hockey team is on the rise again, and a solid core of young talent hopes to bring the Tigers back to where they want to be.
The Tigers play an aggressive brand of hockey, but the physical aspect of their game has not settled in.
Emmett Norton is going to be one of the Bromfield players to watch this year as he is coming back to the program for another year. Gavin Arnold hasn’t seen much ice time in past years, but Schneider thinks that he will be a strong component in the equation for the Tigers.
The Littleton-Bromfield cooperative hockey team is in its 15th year, and Schneider believes that the meaning of the partnership stretches far beyond winning hockey games.
“We had a rough year last year,” said Schneider. “It really is a team. We are young and have a great group of freshman. The team is coming together, and I am wildly optimistic about it.”
Littleton-Bromfield graduated their leading scorer from a year ago in Ryan Castro. Castro scored 15 goals for the Tigers and contributed seven assists.
Schneider expects junior Corey Tower to be instrumental in the offense, but Tower is currently out with a concussion he suffered in the fall sports season. Sophomore Mason Reiter is expected to be a valuable contributor to the Tigers. Other players instrumental to the Tigers’ success are Norton and Ritchie Planchete.
In 2011-2012, the Tigers allowed 99 goals and scored just 39. Littleton/Bromfield intends to use junior goaltender Tommy Angell in net this season. A year ago, Angell made 132 saves and allowed 42 goals in nine starts. Angell possesses a save percentage of right around 75 percent.
Littleton/Bromfield plays all their home games at the Groton School rink and brought a strong contingent of supporters to their scrimmage last Friday with defending state champion Groton-Dunstable. The Tigers appeared to play strongly in the corners and did a solid job defensively against a very quick and potent Crusaders’ team.
The Tigers at the time of publication will have already competed in its season opener with Worcester on Wednesday, and will play again next Wednesday against Gardner at the Gardner Veterans Skating Rink at 6:20 p.m.
The goal coming into the upcoming season for the Tigers is to win more hockey games than the previous year. Littleton-Bromfield’s key to success will be how fast some of the younger players mature.
Other Bromfield members on the roster include: freshmen J.J. Stadler, Joe Spallone, John Seymour, Matty Banker and Nate Dutkewych. Sophomore members include Mason and Matthew Reiter. Schneider expects the freshmen to develop as the season goes on and be valuable contributors to the program. All players will see some varsity ice time as the year wages on due to the small numbers not allowing for the school to field both a varsity and junior varsity team.
“It is a nice group of kids. You can’t tell who is from Bromfield or Littleton,” said Schneider. “The kids are all walking out together. That’s what this program is all about. The record is what it is.”