Head Coach: Joe Pelliccio, Sixth season (46-36-6)
Record last year: 15-7-1
Division/Classification: Class A Central/Public C
Home Rink: Winding River Skating Center
OPENING DRAW: The Golden Eagles soared to the most successful season in the program’s five-year history last year with berths to both the Shore Conference and Public B State Tournaments on the back of an 103-point season by senior captain and state scoring leader Michael Mania, and career years by classmates Dale Schweighardt, Jonas Mueller and Travis Grady, not to mention netminder Riley Jakubczak and defensemen Pat Kelsey, Josh Nelson and Riley Mangold…In short, Central Regional has a lot of skill and leadership to replace in 2017-18, but the personnel to do it.
DIVISION RIVAL: Freehold Boro looks to ‘Core Four’ in 2017-18
SUPER SOPHOMORE: This past July Dan Klutkoski represented the Mid-Atlantic Region at the Hockey Night In Boston Sophomore All-Star Tournament, sharing a roster with fellow second-year Shore Conference standouts Will Hilfiker (CBA) and Jacob Liebross (Freehold Township). His inclusion in the showcase speaks to the skill this young winger owns, as does the team-leading 35 points on 17 goals and 18 assists he put up in 20 NJYHL games this pre-season with the Toms River Blackhawks 16UA program. Klutkoski will have a much larger role in the Central Regional offense this year, and should greatly improve upon the three goals and three helpers he registered as a freshman.
OFFENSIVE ZONE: Alongside Klutkoski, senior centerman and team captain Sean Hughes (Jersey Penguins 18UAA) will be tasked with taking the reigns of the Golden Eagles offense after posting career-highs a season ago with 31 points on eight goals and 23 assists. Junior wingers Gabe Forlenza (4g, 4a), Matt Condello (8g, 3a) and Kyle Schweighardt (1g) will also be looked upon to provide more of a punch up front.
DIVISION RIVAL: Central Regional enters 2017-18 off winningest season in history
DEFENSIVE END: Jacob Mathieu (1g, 7a) was a productive two-way defenseman for the Golden Eagles as a junior, and after scoring eight goals from the blue line this pre-season for the Toms River Blackhawks 18UA outfit he’ll be looked upon to lead this year’s defensive corps. Classmate Nick Gavin (1a) and sophomore Anthony Mastriano — another capable two-way pivot who has come up through the Blackhawks organization — will need to play more meaningful minutes in 2017-18.
IN THE CREASE: Senior netminder Thomas Kampf didn’t see a lot of time in the crease last season, but when he was in the game the netminder impressed. Kampf made three starts as a junior, pitching a pair of shutout against Class A Central rival Red Bank Regional, and secured another victory in the Winding River Holiday Tournament by steering aside 30 of 32 shots in a 3-2 triumph over Toms River South.
FRESHMEN TO WATCH: A skilled winger who is expected to make an immediate impact, Patrick Price enters Central Regional after coming up through the Igloo Jaguars program, and is currently playing at the Triple A EJEPL level. Freshman netminder Nick Bilinski — who has skated with the New Jersey Jr. Titans and Jersey Shore Wildcats programs — will push Kampf to earn time in the crease.
CLASS A CENTRAL ALIGNMENT
Red Bank Regional