JewishHoopsAmerica
Yeshiva League Hockey 2010-2011 Preview
Updated: 2010-11-06 21:06:23
Yet another hockey season gets ready to unfold before us in the MYHSHL Yeshiva Hockey League! This season's festivities kick off in Westchester tonight, officially marking the opening of the 2010-2011, the 32nd in MYHSHL history. When we left off, DRS, TABC, HALB and Moriah were raising the varsity, JV and junior high trophies respectively, celebrating one of the most wide-open seasons in MYHSHL, MYJHHL and HAYMISH history. As this season begins anew, 52 teams in 8 different conferences in 4 different leagues all embark in their attempt to bring home Yeshiva Hockey's highest honors. In what has become a yearly tradition, JewishHoopsAmerica gives you its take on what to expect for the upcoming season.

VARSITY

Please note the following change to the varsity league for the upcoming season:
WESTERN CONFERENCE: Hillel is no longer a member of the varsity league. The conference will run with 8 teams, but will otherwise be unchanged. Each team will still play 14 games and will play each member of the conference twice. The following is a complete and accurate picture of this year's varsity alignment.

Eastern Conference
D.R.S.
Flatbush
HAFTR
HANC
Magen David
North Shore
Rambam
Solomon Schechter Long Island
Westchester

Western Conference
Frisch
Kushner
MAYHS
MTA
Ramaz
RTMA
SAR
TABC

TOP 3: Coming off of a stellar run to the finals, TABC will hold the #1 rank entering the 2010-2011 season. The group will feature the same squad that dominated the JV league two years before. Returning for TABC, are several of its main contributors last year, including top defensemen, AJ Fuchs and Ari Miller as well as two of the league's best goaltenders in seniors Yoni Levine and Mordy Dubin. Dubin, taking over in place of Levine following a concussion mid-way through the season, helped TABC fight its way back to the championship game. TABC will not be at a loss for offense this year, as seniors Yoni Stone and Sammy Schwartz will be joined by the leaders of last year's TABC JV Champions, juniors Etan Zecher, Eitan Bardash, and Donny Fuchs. Right behind the Storm are last year's champions, the DRS Wildcats. After finally removing the monkey from their backs, this year's senior class, led by the stellar offensive trio of Dovi Orlofsky, Alan Fries and Daniel Genachowski are out for another crack at the hardware. The seniors will be joined by juniors, Avery Englander, and Michael Fruchter on defense, however, it remains to be seen if the defensive corps will have improved enough to overcome the inconsistencies that plagued them in the JV championship against TABC for the last two years. Rounding out the top 3 is SAR. This will be the last shot for Aron Lichtschein and Co. to reign in the championship that so many expected them to have at this point. Once again joined by seniors Eitan Harczstark, Max Kane and Jason Cogan, Lichtschein and the Sting will need to play catch up very quickly on the learning curve as it will need to look to key juniors Etan Grosinger and Eitan Bar David (sure are a lot of good hockey players named Etan/Eitan...) to fill in several areas where the Sting are lacking. The big question is how SAR will adapt to the loss of Joey Katz, depleting an already slim defensive group. Depending on how the JV season goes, you may see Howie Falkenstein reach down to call up emerging sophomore Matt Landes to ease the pressure and allow Lichtschein to spend time scoring goals instead of keeping other teams off the board.

Two teams to watch:
#4 Ramaz- The sleeper pick of the top 5, the Ramaz Rams will definitely be a team to follow this season. This year will mark the coming of age of what was a mostly junior-run team last year that was able to surprise several teams, including, eventual West champion, TABC. Returning for the Rams are the stellar offensive tandem of Brett Hoffman and Sam Lassner, two of the league's leading clutch-scorers, as well as Manhattan's newest skyscrapers, defensemen Zach Fein and Jerry Klaristanfeld. Goalie Ariel Katz proved his worth down the back-stretch last year and, with several games under his belt, should be more than formidable in a West that is somewhat lacking in the "team-scoring" department, but high in the "individual stars" department. As long as the team does not stay as predictable as they have in past seasons, look for them to score a few upsets on the way to a very interesting playoff season.

#6 Magen David - A word of caution to the rest of the East: These are your usual Magen David Warriors, only they aren't. This Magen David team will still be the physical, hard-nosed Brooklynites that everyone expects them to be. However, be ready to consider them amongst the league's elite if the secondary scoring comes alive. Last season was a one man show as Aaron Caba put on clinics, racking up over 20 goals for the Warriors. This year he returns with a solid supporting cast, including emerging net-minder Albert Mamiye. Cabasso, Mamiye and several other Warriors combined to surprise even the biggest of skeptics, pulling in this year's Camp Dovid championship, with Cabasso walking away with a ton of hardware, and Mamiye with several victories. The only question, as stated before, is whether or not the secondary scoring will come alive. The team should hold their own defensively, however, for the team to truly push ahead, it may need overcome its own worst enemy, themselves. If the Warriors can play as a team, and keep themselves from being too physical, the Warriors could be looking at a surprise playoff run, leaving some of the top teams in ruins along the way.

One big question mark: How far will HAFTR fall after the embarrassing semi-final loss and the loss of most of its team?

After spending two year at the top of the charts, HAFTR finds itself barely hanging on to a top-10 slot, starting the season of ranked #9. Despite that, HAFTR will still find itself fighting for the #3 spot in the East, along with #8 HANC and #11 Rambam. The Flames will need to call on the limited experience that its seniors received last year when the team, stocked with recent graduates, seemed destined to sweep their 4 years for the first time since the 2003 graduating class. Seniors Zach Sher, Noah Weinreich, Zach Finkelstein and Marc Harman will be joined by juniors Eric Lifshitz and Daniel Resnick, but will need to work hard to allow Shlomo Leibtag to get settled in net, because, as Leibtag goes, so will the Flames. Expect four solid fights against HANC and Rambam to determine playoff seeding, however, the Flames will need to exceed all reasonable expectations to make up for last season's semis collapse.

Best of the Bubble: Each conference will feature several bubble teams that will fight for the last playoff spot but not too much more. In the West, #10 Kushner, after years of depending on Max Moskowitz's stellar goaltending, will need to rely on its offense to win the games this season. Led by, arguably, the best player in the league, senior Zack Ratzker, along with brother Jake, a sophomore, the Cobras should score well, however, given how integral Moskowitz was to this team in the past, the void in net may be too big to catch the higher teams. However, this team could easily surprise #7 Frisch, much in the same way that it did last season, if the Cougars can't overcome the goaltending issues of their own. Beyond Kushner, the West is a wasteland, even without Hillel, look for #14 RTMA and #16MAYHS to, once again, bring up the rear. The East should provide for a little more bubble drama as, beyond the middle three of HANC, HAFTR and Rambam, #12 Flatbush and #13 North Shore will vie for the final East spot. Each team is led by competent seniors, namely Ezra Mosseri (Flatbush) and Josh Mogilner (North Shore). North Shore can gain the edge in this battle if goalie Ethan Zisholtz can steal a few games for the Stars, however, it may not be enough come February.

OPENING VARSITY RANKINGS (FR: Final Ranking from last year)
1. TABC (FR:2)
2. DRS (FR:1)
3. SAR (FR:5)
4. Ramaz (FR:7)
5. MTA (FR:4)
6. Magen David(FR:8)
7. Frisch(FR:6)
8. HANC (FR:10)
9. HAFTR (FR:3)
10. Kushner(FR:9)
11. Rambam (FR:13)
12. Flatbush(FR:11)
13. North Shore (FR:12)
14. RTMA(FR:15)
15. SSLI(FR:14)
16. MAYHS (FR:16)
17. Westchester (FR:17)



JV

Please note the following changes in JV for the upcoming season. There are three team changes in JV this year. In a reversal from last year, North Shore is back in the East while Kushner has excused itself from the JV league. In place of Kushner will be Hillel. The East will feature 8 teams, while the West will still have 7. The following is a complete and accurate depiction of what the conferences look like for the upcoming season with new teams designated by an asterisk.

Eastern Conference
DRS
Flatbush
HAFTR
HANC
Magen David
North Shore*
Rambam
Solomon Schechter Long Island

Western Conference
Frisch
Hillel*
MTA
Ramaz
RTMA
SAR
TABC


TOP 3: Yet another runner-up holds the top ranking, as the DRS Wildcats find themselves at #1 in JV to begin the 2010-2011 season. DRS comes into the season looking to build on the experience gained in last year's championship loss to TABC. The Wildcats will have major contributions from both its classes, returning sophomores Jake Perlow and Zach Fagin, fresh off of captaining their respective teams to the Camp Dovid finals, a battle won by Perlow's team. If those five days in Mogen Av are any indication, DRS will be an extraordinary offensive team, but will, once again, need to rely on the quick maturation of its freshmen to shore up the defense. Currently, Josh Friedman and Tyler Peller will hold down the fort in front of either sophomore Chesky Kwestel or freshman Yonatan Kirstein, however, the two will need to find some relief from the defensive leaders of last year's MYJHHL champion HALB team, Sammy Rauch and Yonatan Goldberg. Assuming that the two can grow into the JV game, the inclusion of Elan Tanen and Avi Genachowski should solidify this team's return ticket to the big game. Expect a huge argument, however, from the TABC Storm, who, by the slimmest of margins, carry the #2 slot. The returning champions will no doubt feature the best backline combination in sophomore Yosef Robin at the netminder position and Benjy Shulman and Championship MVP, Oren Strich on defense. However, with virtually all of last year's offense coming the current juniors, the JV team will need to find formidable offensemen, and fast. Vying for the top roles are sophomores Yehuda Avner, Gabi Stone and Leor Leben as well as a handful of, arguably, the top freshman class in the league. However, whether or not freshmen like Jono Weitschner or Rafi Wind can contribute on the JV level may not be determined until the playoffs as the JV West will not hold much of a challenge for the Storm, given the dropping off of the rest of the conference. As controversial of a pick of TABC at #2 is, the same could be said for HAFTR at #3. The JV Flames, rejuvenated by the inclusion of the vast majority of the Junior High team that many predicted to go to (and as many would tell you, rightfully, should have) the championship last season, could very well be the surprise pick of the season. Sophomore Jordan Schreiber will be joined by Camp Dovid Jr. MVP, freshman, Adam Schreiber as well as Zack Karp, and Jordan Gellman, as well as Camp Dovid Junior Breakout player, sophomore Justin Merkin, to set up a superb roster in front of goalie Sammy Davidman. The big question for the Flames is whether the lack of JV experience will keep this team just shy of their championship goal, as it has for this group that has fallen just short the last two junior high semis, dropping both to HALB in OT. If the Flames can overcome their past, it isn't out of the realm of possibility to see a HAFTR- DRS championship this February.

Two Teams to Watch:

#4 Rambam- Behind DRS and HAFTR lies a Rambam team that has struggled in the past, but should flourish with some of the additions made to their squad this season. Sophomores Jeremy Bock and goalie Chanan Levy will gain some much needed offensive help from freshmen Eli Lava, Akiva Hochbaum and Liam Eliach. The main core of the freshman class should set up for an interesting season in 2011-2012, however, as the rest of the league will find, this season will pretty much belong to one of three teams. In the interim, Rambam will need to find a way to cure its defensive issues to maintain this ranking. If not, look for MTA to overtake the distinction as "Best of the Rest" for JV 2010-2011.

#7 Hillel- Yes, this from the same preview that touted last year's newest team, Kushner, before Kushner went and messed with the squad, but this is one that actually may turn out as planned. Due to last year's absolute lack of interest by the older classes at Hillel, the younger class was able to gain quite a bit of experience in the varsity level that should resonate for their JV squad this year. The major plus for Hillel is that, unlike any West team other than TABC, Hillel has a solid goaltender. Aaron Bailey surprised many at Camp Dovid this summer, yielding only 6 regulation goals in as many games. Also raising several eyebrows was the play of sophomore Joe Epstein. If Epstein can keep his cool, he could find himself as a major contributor to this team's success. However, if he decides to play his own game, look for Hillel to have some trouble getting the W.

One Big Question: What is going on in the West? (Or, is the West giving the "thumbs down" to JV?) Only a year removed from having epic battles between #2TABC, #5MTA, #8 Frisch and #10 SAR, this year's West will pretty much be a shell of that from just over 8 months ago. MTA lost the main core of the semifinal team that took DRS to Triple OT, and can also add sophomore Eitan Rosenfeld to the list, as all are headed to the MTA varsity team. Rosenfeld's departure to varsity may be the biggest blow to the team's championship hopes as several of this year's Lions have made great strides in preparation for the upcoming season. Sophomore Menachem Mermelstein enjoyed a brilliant Camp Dovid, pulling in the JV Breakout award, as did Rami Greenspan, who is likely to be in net for the Lions this season. With Rosenfeld, this team is a contender, without, they'll be just a step below. Continuing the trend, Frisch's team will also be without several of its key players from last season, including its top two sophomores who will now be playing elsewhere. Neither Ezra Gontownik nor David Lasher will be suiting up for the JV Cougars this season with both potentially heading to varsity, and their departure has left Frisch scrambling to make up for what was only expected to be the loss of juniors Matt Povman and Yoni Winfield. This is yet another case of "what if." Both Gontownik and Lasher have the ability to turn this team into a dominant offensive powerhouse, yet, the loss of both and with no solid goaltender in sight, Frisch could easily find itself having to claw their way to a few victories this season. Finally, while SAR has not lost any of its sophomores to the varsity team, Howie Falkenstein is apt to make a move if itís needed. Last year, the Sting brought up Etan Grosinger from their JV mid-season and are likely to do the same with top-defenseman Matt Landes, pretty much the only solid aspect of this year's JV club. With Landes, SAR is a marginal team. Without Landes, forget it. They may, in truth, be a shade better than Ramaz at this point, however, the #10 ranking is pretty much in anticipation of this move.

Best of the Bubble: The above question pretty much answers this one as well. The only new name out West to add is #9 Ramaz, who will need to throw together several spare parts to make themselves formidable, but stand to benefit the most by a Matt Landes call-up. Neither Ramaz, SAR, nor Frisch have a solid goaltender in net, making for some interesting, if not unspectacular battles between the 3 of them for the last two slots. Out East, look for #6 Magen David to wrap up the playoff spot, with some help from several decent freshmen. #12 Flatbush, #13 North Shore, #14 HANC and #15 SSLI pretty much tell the story that is the back-end of an East in a league in desperate need of some more competitive balance.

OPENING JV RANKINGS
1. DRS (FR:2)
2. TABC (FR: 1)
3. HAFTR (FR:9)
4. Rambam (FR:8)
5. MTA (FR:3)
6. Magen David (FR:6)
7. Hillel (FR:NR)
8. Frisch (FR:4)
9. Ramaz (FR:10)
10. SAR (FR:7)
11. RTMA (FR:11)
12. Flatbush (FR:12)
13. North Shore (FR: NR)
14. HANC (FR:5)
15. SSLI (FR:13)

JUNIOR HIGH
More to come on Junior High once the individual seasons get underway.
PRE-SEASON MYJHHL RANKINGS
1. HALB(FR:1)
2. HANC(FR:7)
3. NSHA(FR:5)
4. YCQ(FR:10)
5. HAFTR (FR:2)
6. Flatbush(FR:8)
7. Har Torah(FR:3)
8. Magen David(FR:4)
9. ASHAR(FR:6)
10. Westchester(FR:9)
PRE-SEASON HAYMISH RANKINGS
1. Moriah (FR:1)
2. Kushner (FR:3)
3. Yavneh (FR:2)
4. Ramaz (FR:6)
5. RPRY (FR:5)
6. Noam (FR:4)
7. JEC (FR:8)
8. YNJ (FR:7)
9.SAR (FR:9)
10.Hillel (FR:10)


By: jhockeyamerica


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