Tucker Ciessau , Scituate: The returning All-American is no longer the beneficiary of graduated Sailors Jon Brown and Sharp Jones, though he does have his junior brother, Trevor, by his side for his senior campaign. Ciessau might have trouble matching his 110-goal, 35-assist 2012 season, according to coach Mark Puzzangara, “but if anyone can do it, he can.”
Nick Menzel , Archbishop Williams: Already in his third varsity season, Menzel, a junior from Raynham, will be the Bishops’ go-to attack man. He totaled 89 points (54 goals, 35 assists) as a sophomore, and this year will be the focus of other teams’ defensive efforts without Cam Joyce and Cam Dillon around.
Nick Marrocco , Duxbury: Fresh off his junior season as a forward on the Patriot League champion hockey team, Marrocco will jump in net as Henry Buonagurio’s replacement. Marrocco served as Buonagurio’s backup last season and will be a key cog as the Dragons try to three-peat.
Luc Valenza , Foxborough: One of two Hockomock League all-stars returning for the Warriors, the senior will anchor the team’s defensive corps. He is committed to play at Division 1 UMass next spring, but first, as Mansfield coach Tim Frias puts it, “This kid is going to turn heads.”
Jack Wheeler , Xaverian: The Hawks will miss captain and leading returning scorer Liam Driscoll for about half the season after foot surgery, so they will need someone to step up in the midfield. Wheeler, a junior, and his classmate D.J. Sperzel could fill the hole. Wheeler is committed to Boston University.
Five boys’ teams to watch
Duxbury: The Dragons may have graduated 18 seniors from last year’s Division 1 championship team, but they are, after all, still the Dragons. Coach Chris Sweet’s squad has won nine of the past 11 state titles, including the last two, and he enters the season with high hopes once again. A trio of seniors — attackman CJ LoConte, attackman/midfielder Bobby O’Brien, and defenseman Jay Walsh — will captain Duxbury.
Foxborough: A 14-3 regular season was dampened by a quarterfinal loss in the East Division 2 playoffs in 2012, but the senior-laden Warriors return a number of key components. Attackman Tyler Ames, midfielder Alex Pacitti, and defenseman Luc Valenza are among them. Senior Tyler Elfman could be a wild card in net, replacing graduated All-American Greg Stamatov.
Scituate: After a run through the Patriot League and to the East Division 2 quarterfinals, the Sailors will change their philosophy to plan on more gritty wins rather than blowouts. All-American senior Tucker Ciessau will carry a large load offensively, while junior goaltender Jake Reynolds holds down the fort behind him. Defensemen Dave Mazilia and Mike Glancy also return.
Hingham: Like many teams, youth is the name of the game for the Harbormen. They do boast, however, senior captains Tommy Bannan in net and David Freitas on offense. Maryland commit Caleb Brodie, a junior, will be a midfield mainstay. Coach John Todd said much of the defense returns, and a key will be filling in around Freitas up front.
Archbishop Williams: The Bishops will be a young team, with just four seniors and a junior class reaching double digits, but that doesn’t deter coach Bob Clancy. “I expect good things right now,” he said. “I don’t want to wait until 2014.” Junior Jack Dunford will be the full-time goalie as Joe Vinay, his platoon-mate last season, makes the transition to a long stick. Junior attackman Nick Manzel will likely lead the team in scoring, as well as grow into more of a leadership role.
Tim HealeyTim Healey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @timbhealeyBRAINTREE.