Falmouth Clippers Enter Season On A Mission
By: Rich Maclone
Speedy Clippers Enter Season On A Mission
Atlantic Coast League hockey teams are on notice, the Falmouth High School Clippers want the league title back and are dead set on getting it. Over the past two seasons, Falmouth has had to settle for second place in the league, missing out narrowly each year. If the Clippers play the way that they’re capable of, that streak could easily be turned back around.
The team enters the season ranked No. 14 by ESPN-Boston. Head Coach Buddy Ferreira, who enters the season with 431 career wins on the bench for FHS, believes that his team has the talent to add to the banner that hangs in the new rink that identifies league title winners.
“My expectations are always to qualify for the state tournament and have a shot at the league,” he said. “I know that they’re capable of doing it.”
To beat the Clippers, their foes are going to have to slow them down, and on a new NHL-sized rink that’s going to be a tough task. The 2012-13 edition of the Clippers are one of the quickest installments in recent memory, with speed to burn. What the club lacks in overall size, it more than makes up for with speed and grit, Ferreira said. “We’re built on speed. This group plays with heart and speed and it doesn’t make any difference what the opponent’s size is. They all play like they’re six-footers.” FHS’ top two lines will certainly take advantage of the luxurious space that they’re now enjoying at the new rink. Ferreira said that a team like his would be hamstrung in the old rink, because there wasn’t enough space for them to operate in. Now they’ve got room to play with, and they intend on making the most of it.
Seniors Nicky Lineaweaver, Cyrus Wickersham and Storm Fotiu make up Falmouth’s top line this season to start the year. Lineaweaver (8 goals, 8 assists last year) is “an Energizer bunny” on the ice that plays at full speed full time. Wickersham is the top returning scorer on the team, having netted 16 goals and 10 assists a year ago. He’ll be on the left wing, and is tough on keepers coming off the wall. Fotiu (8 goals, 2 assists) is the muscle on the first line, but also has nice touch with his shot. Robbie Souza, one of the biggest surprises of the preseason, will center the second line. The junior was called up late in the year last season, but did not play a big role for the team. During the preseason he’s doing what he’s done his whole career coming up through the ranks: score goals. Souza has led the Clippers in scrimmages in goals and has shown a desire to get to the goal and make things happen. The smallest player on the ice for the team,
Ferreira said that Souza is smart and fearless on the ice. “His speed makes up for his lack of size, and he’s smart enough to know that with those two guys on his line, he’s going to get chances if he gets to the net,” Ferreira said. Those guys the coach referred to are seniors Matt Kinchla (3 goals, 9 assists) and Durham Ghelfi (7 goals, 10 assists). The duo both have the ability to put the puck in the net and are solid forwards that have plenty of varsity experience.
“They’re smart players. Both could really break out this year and score goals. In our little barn box, guys like that were handicapped a bit, but now they’ve got room.”
Another big surprise during the preseason has been the play of senior Ronnie Zampanti. The forward has been playing extremely well, and brings a physical presence to the ice. The coach said that he believes that Zampanti has hit the ground running after having a solid football season and that he’s been excelling. “He’s become a smarter player, and he’s been having a great camp for two weeks,” Ferreira said. Casey Gonsalves will be on the right wing.
Like Zampanti, Gonsalves has improved his game and is looking to have a solid senior year. Ferreira said that the staff challenged Gonsalves to assert himself and earn more time, and that he’s done exactly that. Senior Ben Boudrot and junior Zack Barrett will share time as the left wing. Boudrot is returning from an illness and is playing his way back into shape. “Right now, it’s a tossup between those two guys, but both will get a lot of time,” said the coach. Bryton Landers, a junior, and Peter Irwin, a senior, will also be backup forwards for Falmouth.
Defensively, FHS entered the year with a bit of a conundrum, with just two established defensemen on the roster. The two experienced blue liners are as solid as they come in the ACL, in Zack Zaino and Joe Meloni. Zaino (4 goals, 7 assists) may be the best defenseman in the league. A solid two-way player, he brings speed, wits and physicality to the rink every night. “Everybody in the league hates to play against Zaino,” Ferreira said. Tri-captain Joe Meloni is the other returning defenseman. Meloni (1 goal, 8 assists) does his job well each shift and is a hard worker. “Joey’s so smart on the ice, he’s solid,” Ferreira said. Who would play with them rectified itself in camp. Trevor Theroux (4 goals, 6 assists) started his high school career as a defender, before moving up to skate as a forward last year, and has moved back to the D line, where he has been rock steady. Also, freshman Tommy Tobey opened eyes right away. A big defenseman, he has played with poise and has fit in very well.
“Nobody figured he’d be a top four defenseman, but he stepped in and he’s been smart, and physical...he’s a plus. He steadies those four guys,” Ferreira said. Senior Robbie Anderson is the next man in line for the FHS defense. “He’s the first guy off the bench, and he’ll see a lot of time,” Ferreira said. Christian Lineaweaver, a senior, can also get the puck out and will play D for FHS. Sophomore Andrew Parkinson will see spot time and play with the varsity as well, rounding out the FHS defense. Ferreira said the most interesting story of the preseason was which goalies would earn varsity spots. Four players were vying for three spots, and they battled it out furiously. Juniors Cody Garcia, Jake Beaton and Connor Bowers and sophomore Kyle Storey all had a shining preseason, making the coaching staff’s decision difficult. Garcia,
Beaton and Storey will be the goaltenders, but which one is the No. 1, and will get the start tomorrow night for the opener against Dennis-Yarmouth, is still up in the air. Ferreira said that all of them have played well, and that his decision will be made by the way that they respond in their final practices leading up to the tilt. “It’s a tough, tough decision. I’m really, really pleased by what I’ve seen from those guys,” Ferreira said. Garcia, an athletic keeper, is the lone returnee from last year. He posted a 7-2-2 record over the first half of the season. Beaton transferred to FHS from Bourne and has been steady in the net, with a big body that makes finding the goal tough. Storey, youngest of the group, moves well and has potential.
The puck drops on the season tomorrow night, against Dennis-Yarmouth, at 7 PM at the new rink. D-Y is expected to be one of the other top contenders for the league crown this season, along with the Clippers and most likely defending champs Mar
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