Head Coach: James Murphy, First Season
Record last year: 6-12-0
Division/Classification: Class A South/Public C
Home Rink: Howell Ice World
OPENING DRAW: Brick Township said goodbye to legend this summer…well, sort of. You’d have a better chance of scoring 10 goals on opening night than keeping the legendary coach Bob Auriemma away from a Brick Township hockey game. But for first time in 54 years, the Dragons will be without the winningest coach in New Jersey State History behind the bench, as the torch was officially past in September to former Brick Township defenseman and longtime varsity assistant James Murphy, who will lead a new look club — one that watched conference standouts, captains and leading scorers JT Maloney and Michael Mooney walk at graduation — into the new year, and try to keep the winning tradition of this stories program alive.
DIVISION RIVAL: Southern Regional aims to sustain success in 2017-18
THE PRICE IS RIGHT: Hunter Price has been one of the most skilled two-way defensemen in the Shore Conference since he entered the Brick Township program as a freshman. However, he’s seemingly been resigned to more passive, defensive-minded role in this system. As a senior that just won’t do. With his skating ability, vision and positioning, Price — who skates with the New Jersey Jr. Titans 18U program and is garnering looks from organizations at NAHL level, including the New Jersey Titans — is more than capable of taking over a game at both ends of the ice, and as he prepares to enter his final scholastic campaign, the Dragons will need this senior leader to pick his spots and attack when the puck is on his stick.
DIVISION RIVAL: Jackson Liberty enters 2017-18 with dynamic trio
DEFENSIVE END: Joining Price in the defensive end is an small but talented crop of pivots that provide Brick Township a top three blue liners that can skate with just about anyone in the Shore Conference. Justin Iannarone — who skated at the 18UAA level with the Brick Hockey Club in the pre-season — showed his belief in the ‘team concept’ a season ago, sacrificing time at his defensive post to move between the pipes when an injury left the Dragons with a natural goaltender on the roster. Though he recorded impressive victories over Brick Memorial, Rumson-Fair Haven and Toms River North, Iannarone is proven commodity on the blue line, and his strong performance will be pivotal for Brick Township.
Dave Malaniak impressed in his freshman campaign, as the lanky, athletic skater emerged as another two-way threat for the Dragons, posting four goals and five assists. Malaniak continued that type of dual-threat effort with an outstanding fall season — 16 points on seven goals and nine helpers in 16 games — for a Brick Hockey Club 16UA outfit that finished the regular season undefeated at 19-0-0, and will be competing in the NJYHL playoffs in March.
DIVISION RIVAL: Toms River South & East join forces in 2017-18
OFFENSIVE ZONE: In his junior season Noah Reiss finished as the Dragons third-leading scorer with seven goals and 13 assists. As a senior, the Brick Hockey Club 18UAA skater will be counted upon for larger contributions, but his grinder-type skillset is worth more than just point-production. Reiss — younger brother of former Dragons great Andrew Reiss — is far less flashy than his older brother was, but there are certainly similarities between the siblings’ hands. However, Reiss’ willingness to give up the body for his team by blocking shots or taking a hit to make a play is unrivaled, and what’s more, it’s the sort of gritty play his teammates will feed off.
Joining Reiss up front are classmates Ken Fortino (5g, 7a) and Jordan Kirchner (Jersey Penguins 18UA), as well as a pair of emerging forwards with immense skill in junior Spencer Rozell (5g, 9a) — who skates at the 18UAA level with the Jersey Shore Wildcats — and sophomore Zach Rozell (6g, 6a), who was a Brick Hockey Club teammate of Malaniak’s in the fall, and registered 40 points in 18 NJYHL games. Juniors Damian Boanfide (1g, 1a) and Kadin Hickman will also see more ice time in 2017-18.
IN THE CREASE: Junior backstop Billy Kleissler will return to the crease after suffering through an injury-plagued sophomore campaign that saw him make just four starts. He is the favorite to be in the crease on opening night, after spending the spring in goal as Brick Township’s lacrosse keeper.
IMPACT FRESHMEN: Dylan Jannarone will play prominent minutes from the start on the Brick Township blue line after playing at the Bantam A level for the Brick Hockey Club, as will winger Kyley Toye — daughter of Brick Township Wall of Fame inductee and Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute Hall of Famer Cindy Acropolis-Toye — after playing the fall season at the Bantam AA level with the Brick Hockey Club. Classmate Anthony Senk, who spent the fall with the Dragons football program, is also expected to play impactful minutes.
CALL TO THE HALL: Bobby Acropolis inducted into NJ High School Hall of Fame
CLASS A SOUTH ALIGNMENT
Toms River North