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Let’s take a closer look at the NVSHL

In Thursday’s paper, you can read our ice hockey preview for the winter, which includes the Maryland Scholastic Hockey League, the Mid-Atlantic Prep Hockey League and the Northern Virginia Scholastic Hockey League.

While some Virginia items did make the print-version of the preview, I’d like to elaborate on more of what to expect out of the NVSHL this season.

With 24 varsity teams split into four divisions, I think it’d be best if we went through with a division-by-division approach. And at the end, please feel free to offer your thoughts and to point out some possible storylines that I might have missed.

NVSHL North (current record)
Langley (2-0)
Madison (1-1)
McLean (1-1)
Potomac Falls (0-1)
Battlefield/Brentsville (0-1)
W.T. Woodson (0-1)

Possible storylines: Langley will play six freshmen, including Grant Grieco, Zach Shames, Kevin Diner, Logan Pontell, Evan Sterling and Peter Nam. Ryan Doppelheuer already has four goals for the Saxons, who have posted 10-0 wins over Battlefield/Brentsville and McLean thus far. . . . Madison graduated its leading scorer from each of the past four seasons in Ryan Cass, but the Warhawks return senior center Kyle Headley and junior left wing Justin Nichols, who notched 12 points apiece last winter. The Warhawks made history in 2008-09, winning their first-ever playoff game with a 6-4 victory Briar Woods. . . . Sixteen of the McLean’s 22 players are freshmen and sophomores. . . . W.T. Woodson’s John Loveland led the league in scoring during the regular season last year with 14 goals and 22 assists, but he’ll miss at least the first half of the 2008-09 campaign with mononucleosis. With Loveland sidelined, the Cavaliers will look to Brian Beatson, who scored 21 goals last winter.

Watch him:
G Brett Hatfield, Langley
Be there: Woodbridge-Langley, SkateQuest of Reston, Jan. 15, 6:10 p.m.
Dark horse: Madison … still, knocking off the Saxons won’t be an easy task.
Expected winner: Langley

Stone Bridge (2-0)
Oakton (2-1)
Broad Run (1-1)
Briar Woods (1-1)
Chantilly (0-3-1)
Flint Hill (0-2)

Possible storylines: Stone Bridge graduated Andrew Ansell, Kyle Broadbent and Erik DeLong -- among others -- from a team that made it to the league semifinals, but it’s tough to argue against the Bulldogs’ consistency. Since the NVSHL’s first season in 2001-02, Stone Bridge is 87-14-1 and has won three league titles. . . . Despite finishing 4-6 last winter, Oakton has been attracting quite a bit of attention because of Sam Buck, Sean Miller, Matt Hirsch, Mason Hauser and Dustin Ward-Dahl, who’ve combined for 26 points in the Cougars’ first three games. . . . Broad Run lost a key piece in goalie Sean Thompson but returns a pair of scorers in Michael Bauernfeind and Ryan Ferguson to go along with three freshmen forwards. . . . Chantilly lost Wes Kerbuski and Stewart Bell to travel team commitments but returns Pete Wydler, who has a staggering 14 goals through four games.

Watch him: D Patrick Young, Stone Bridge
Be there: Stone Bridge-Broad Run, Ashburn Ice House, Feb. 12, 6 p.m.
Dark horse: Oakton missed the 2008-09 postseason. The Cougars will likely be there this winter.
Expected winner: Stone Bridge

NVSHL Central
Fairfax/Potomac (Va.) (2-0)
Westfield (2-0)
Herndon (1-1)
O’Connell (0-0-1)
St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (0-0)
Loudoun County (0-1)

Possible storylines: O’Connell, which beat Forest Park in overtime back in late February to claim the NVSHL title, lost most of its team to both graduation and travel team commitments, including defenseman Chris Bond and sophomore Alex Guerere -- to the former. The Knights still return one of the league’s top players in defenseman Kyle Lewis (six goals, three assists) and should not be counted out. . . . Herndon surprised everyone last year by finishing 10-2 but started this season with a 10-0 loss to Forest Park. . . . Westfield, which ousted Langley from the playoffs last winter, is 2-0 with wins over W.T. Woodson (7-1) and Chantilly (10-7). . . . St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes begins its first NVSHL season with Loudoun County on Dec. 18.

Watch him: D Kyle Lewis, O’Connell
Be there: Westfield-O’Connell, Kettler Capitals Iceplex, Jan. 29, 5:45 p.m.
Dark horse: Westfield will challenge O’Connell but can the Bulldogs overthrow the Knights?
Expected winner: O’Connell

Paul VI (2-0)
Woodbridge (1-0)
Centreville (1-0)
Forest Park (1-1)
West Springfield/Hylton (0-1)
Mountain View (0-2)

Possible storylines: Woodbridge returns Tony and Seve Cordova, who combined for 71 points last season. Dylan Talbot (22 points) should also not be overlooked. Along with Forest Park, which reached the NVSHL final last winter, Woodbridge has been one of the league’s most consistent teams, posting a record of 57-11-3 since 2003. . . . Forest Park has a first-year coach in Steve Sherman appears to be loaded with talent. The Bruins will look to junior center Alex Clark, who finished with 24 goals and 20 assists in 2008-09. Assistant captains Tyler Johnson and Jacob Sullivan, two talented wingers, also return. An honorable mention All-Met pick last year, goaltender Eugene Rose (2.67 GAA) is back between the pipes. . . . Centreville played JV hockey last winter but moves up to varsity; the Wildcats won their first game -- a 3-2 decision over Mountain View. . . . Nick Dibiasio already has six goals for Paul VI, which has wins over Mountain View (5-2) and West Springfield/Hylton (8-1).

Watch him: C Alex Clark, Forest Park
Be there: Forest Park-Woodbridge, Prince William Ice Center, Jan. 28, 4 p.m.
Dark horse: Paul VI . . . A lot is expected out of Forest Park and Woodbridge; the Panthers could sneak into contention.
Expected winner: Woodbridge

By Jason Mackey  |  December 10, 2009; 10:22 AM ET
Categories:  Battlefield , Briar Woods , Broad Run , Centreville , Chantilly High School , Fairfax , Flint Hill School , Forest Park , Herndon , Hockey , Hylton , Langley , Loudoun County High School , Madison , McLean , Mountain View , O'Connell , Oakton , Paul VI , Potomac (Va.) , Potomac Falls , St. Stephen's/St. Agnes , Stone Bridge High School , W.T. Woodson , West Springfield , Westfield , Woodbridge  
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