Cadets driven by need to succeed

The St. Joseph hockey team is eager to finish what it started after playing for a state championship three years running, as the Cadets have fallen short of that goal over the past two seasons.

Last year St. Joseph had a bit of a turnaround, going 18-6-1 after putting up a 15-8 ledger the year before. The 2012 squad dropped a first-round decision to Hamden and last year bowed out to Darien, 5-2, in the Division I quarterfinals.

It was a far cry from winning the Division III state championship in 2009, finishing as runner-up in Division II in 2010 and runner-up again in Division I in 2011. In that five-year span, the Cadets have logged an 85-32-4 record.

Any team coached by Marty Crouse has all the tools in the shed, and this year they may need to build a bigger shed or at least put on an addition.

“This is the most depth we have had in the history of this program,” said Crouse, who is entering his 12th year at the helm and is the only coach the Cadets have known.

“Last year we had a nice turn around after the year before, but I felt we could have gone farther than the quarterfinals.

“We lost some talented players through graduation, but I’m excited about what we have coming back. And the goal is always to reach the state finals.”

St. Joseph will need to find replacements for All-State scorer CK Keator and his 30 goals and 14 assists, along with All-State defenseman Andrew Gore.

Leading the Cadets will be senior captains Ryan Corcoran and Sean Hurley at forward.

Senior forward Dom Sidorczuk, along with senior defensemen Jack Seperack, Vito Roca, Alec Crispino and Tom Schaeffer provide experience.

“We have had good leadership over the past few years,” said Crouse. “But we didn’t have the kind of depth that we have this year. We will be able to compete with anyone.”

The strength of the Cadets will be in a defensive unit that can go eight deep.

Junior Justice Cook, sophomore Connor Hurley and freshman Andrew Van Etten and William Gilbert will join up Seperack, Roca, Crispino and Schaeffer.

St. Joseph will have two very capable goalies in the net with junior Christian Furce and junior transfer from Shelton Dylan Batterson.

“We have the kind of depth to put together four solid lines,” Crouse said. “The first three lines I wouldn’t hesitate to use anyone of them as our number one line.”

The first line that coach Crouse will look to is an all-senior line of Hurley, Corcoran and Sidorczuk.

The second line is equally effective with juniors Dom Derosa and Colin Powell, along with 5-10 freshman Adam Usinger.

The third line is made up of sophomore Nick Disabella and junior Landon Gabriele, along with juniors Chris Kirven and Filippo Petrini.

“Usinger is the best freshman player I’ve seen in years,” Crouse said. “He can be a special player if he continues to work hard and stays focused.”

St. Joseph will get the season under way tonight at 5 against Guilford at the East Haven Rink.

On Saturday the Cadets will be at Bennett Rink in West Haven for a 5 p.m. matchup with Xavier of Middletown.