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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
After an 11-5-3 regular season earned them a trip to the 2015-2016 state tournament, the Walpole High boys varsity hockey team enters the 2016-2017 season with high hopes, especially after snapping their seven-year tournament win drought with a 3-2 shootout victory over Archbishop Williams.
Returning to lead the Rebels this season are their three senior captains in goaltender James Corcoran, and forwards Owen Hunter and Pat Donovan.
“Our hopes are pretty high,” said head coach Ron Dowd. “We have three solid leaders in Pat, James and Owen, and it helps having a goalie like James come back and give you that anchor in net. He’s a mainstay, and we’re definitely looking to build off of our success from last year.”
Also returning for the Rebels in 2016-2017 will be forwards Cam Martin and Ryan Birch, while Teddy McElaney, Colin Buckley, Luke Donovan, and Michael Timson will solidify the back end on defense.
Coach Dowd also expects several underclassmen to step up and be big contributors for the Rebels this season.
“We have a couple of guys that I’m expecting to a take that leap forward,” said Dowd. “Connor Foley and Danny Savery are definitely two forwards to look out for, and I expect them to be big producers for us as they both step up in all three areas of the ice.”
The Rebels will now look to put last year’s season-ending 1-0 loss to Franklin in the rear view, as they will begin their quest to return to the state tournament on December 10 when they host non-conference opponent Oliver Ames (TVL).