By Grace Mello / USPHL.com
It’s just two more days until the Boston Advantage take to the ice for the start of the 2022-23 hockey season.
They have geared up with “a really good mix of homegrown Lovell Hockey players and recruited players from around the world,” according to Head Coach Dan Szerlip.
The team is very rich in NCDC experience, with several returning players this year that could see them make a deafening noise in a packed and highly competitive North Division.
Coming back to the Advantage this season are forwards Chance Heaphy (’02), Arik Altman (’03), Luke Panchisin (’02), and Ryan O’Donnell (’03). They are joined by defensemen Conor Lally (’02), Ocean Fancy (’04), Tyler Ray (’02), Rocco Bianculli (’03), and Yahor Ramanau (’03). To round it off, returning to the net are both Nolan Mahaffey (’03) and Nick Bevilacqua (’03).
Such a strong pool of returners is something the team will definitely be taking “Advantage” of this season.
Wearing the ‘C’ on his chest this season will be Chance Heaphy. This will be his third season with the Advantage.
“[Chance] has a great work ethic, and is always in a great mood around the rink,” said Szerlip. “He is a vocal leader and holds players accountable.”
Joining him as assistant captains will be returners Arik Altman and Conor Lally as well as newly-acquired Nate Terski (’02). Terski also comes in with NCDC experience from last season.
“He works extremely hard and has been a great veteran presence on our back end,” added Szerlip.
The Advantage are ready to compete this season. Szerlip shares with us just how hard the team has been working on a daily basis, how eager they are to learn, and how impressive they have been buying into the team identity.
The excitement continues when looking between the pipes.
“The biggest difference [between this year’s team, and last year’s] I see, though, is in net,” Szerlip added. “I think we have guys that can not only keep us in games but win games for us in the net.”
As previously mentioned, goalies Nolan Mahaffey and Nick Bevilacqua are donning the Big A jersey once again. Mahaffey finished off the season with the NCDC team after starting off with the Advantage’s 18U team, part of a very deep Midget program run by the organization.
“Nolan was able to solidify wins that helped us make a late push at playoffs,” said Szerlip. “Nick Bevilacqua was our back-up during the covid bubble, and finished his high school career last season at Northfield Mount Hermon.”
The Advantage are keeping things in the family as they have 13 players on the roster this year that have played Premier or Midgets for the organization in the past. Szerlip describes these guys as “tenacious” and “bringing a lot of depth to the lineup.”
This Thursday, Sept. 22, the Advantage will take on the Dineen Cup finalist Boston Junior Bruins. The Advantage will be working to eliminate any and all surprises this season in order to be prepared for as many scenarios as possible.
“I think every team in our division is a playoff team and it’s going to come down to a game or two for who gets in,” Szerlip adds.