20-in-'12: Monroe-Woodbury hockey
Coach: Paul Bascardi
Last year's record: 17-5-0 (lost to Suffern, 5-0, in the NYS D-1 quarterfinals)
Nick Bickerstaff (senior, defenseman) — Returning starter will anchor the defense with fellow senior Brian Mulligan.
Brian Mulligan (junior, defenseman) — Like Bickerstaff, Mulligan is a returning starter. He had an assist in the Crusaders' 3-2 win over Bethlehem in the championship of Bethlehem Winter Classic on Dec. 29.
Bryan Beach (senior, forward) — Talented senior forward has provided a scoring punch this season, netting a hat-trick in a 7-1 win over Section 1's Mamaroneck on Dec. 23.
Zach Zielinski (senior, goalie) — Two-year starter posted a stellar 1.70 goals against average in 2010.
Names to learn
Dylan Stepnanik (sophomore, forward) — The younger brother of Quinnipiac-bound Jason Stephanik buried a pair of goals in Monroe-Woodbury's 7-1 win over White Plains on Nov. 27.
Mark Tooma (junior, forward) — Gritty forward scored two goals in the Crusaders' 3-2 win over Bethlehem in the championship of Bethlehem Winter Classic on Dec. 29.
Jan. 6 at ETB, 6 p.m. — This will be a good test for both teams. Outside of Suffern, ETB has been the most impressive Section 1 Division 1 team this year.
Feb. 17 at Glens Falls, 1:45 p.m. — The Crusaders will get a run for their money against Section 2's premier Division 2 team. Glens Falls opened the season with a surprising 6-5 win over defending Section 1 Division 2 champ Pelham.
Peter Guastamacchia, goalie, juinor
Nick Bickerstaff (C), defense, senior
Mark Tooma, forward, junior
Matt Calandra, defense, junior
Jacob Pine(A), forward, senior
John Puntasecca (A), forward, senior
John Dunn, forward, junior
John Skarkas, defense, sophomore
Aidan Ludington, defense, freshman
Ian Bernes, forward, sophomore
Zachary Earle, forward, junior
Nick Marotta, forward, senior
Sam Enright, forward, senior
Case Coughlin, defense, sophomore
Harry Hill, forward, sophomore
Bryan Beach (A), forward, senior
Chris Cote’, forward, senior
Brian Mulligan, defense, junior
Dylan Stephanik, forward, sophomore
Dan Vobroucek, goalie, junior
Ryan Fisher, goalie, sophomore
Zack Zielinski, goalie, senior
Greg Helbeck, forward, junior
Eric Tremblay, forward, sophomore
Story of the season
Section 9's preeminent squad lost star senior forward Jason Stephanik, who played part-time with Crusaders last season. The Quinnipiac-bound senior will remain with the New Jersey Hitmen and compete on the junior circuit this season.
On the plus side, talented goalie Zach Zielinski returns for his senior season. The two-year starter posted a stellar 1.70 goals against average in 2010. Nick Bickerstaff, Brian Mulligan and Matt Calandara compose the starting defense. Bickerstaff and Mulligan were starters last season, while Calandara got time as a sophomore. Sophomores John Skarkas and Case Coughlin provide depth.
Offensively, the Crusaders sport a first line of Jake Pine, Bryan Beach and Puntasecca. All three are seniors and give Monroe-Woodbury a solid veteran foundation. The second line features Chris Cote, Sam Enright and junior Mark Tooma.
Tooma has been a pleasant surprise, registering two-goal games in quality wins over Bethlehem, Saratoga and White Plains.
“I think offensively we are pretty good, but defensively we will have to step up,” Crusaders coach Paul Bascardi said. “We have rookies that need to step up because we only have two returning defensemen.”
Stepinac 11 - 1 W
Clarkstown 3 - 1 W
White Plains 7 - 1 W
Saratoga 5 - 2 W
Clarkstown 3 - 1 W
Suffern 6-0 L
Iona Prep 5 - 1 W
Mamaroneck 7 - 1 W
Shaker/Colonie 2 - 2 OT T (M-W advanced in shootout)
Bethlehem 3 - 2 W
Mark Tooma: 9G, 6A - 15 points
Bryan Beach: 7G, 5A - 12 points
John Puntasecca: 7G, 5A - 12 points
Nick Bickerstaff: 8A - 8 points
Sam Enright: 2G 5A - 7 points
Zack Zielinski: save %--92.% | 222 shots | 18 goals against