Successful teams need good leadership and the Railers got that from the team’s two captains – forwards Colin Roe and Joey Lizotte.
“Our coaches put in a real good system and we followed it,” said Colin Roe. “Plus, they gave us positive criticism. Also, more than half the guys on the team are from Massachusetts so we kind of knew each other. A couple of us had played together.”
Then, there was the obvious. “We knew we were facing teams with older, stronger players, so we spent a lot of time in the gym and our practices were high energy,” Roe says.
“We knew we were facing teams with older, stronger players, so we spent a lot of time in the gym and our practices were high energy”
“I think we did a great job recruiting a team of players with an aptitude for a very specific team culture. We had great leadership by our Captains Colin Roe and Joe Lizotte, and the group of guys that we had really wanted to be together, to be a team, Addesa III said. “Another factor was that these kids really wanted to be developed as players. They were willing to set aside some of the things that had made them successful players in the past at lower levels, and commit to doing things our team’s way. They put their egos aside and were able to put the team first.”
Roe, who led the team in scoring with a 26-21-47 line, plays a hard-nosed game and got better every week. He was named a first team All EHLP New England Division performer.
Lizotte (5’4”, 130lb) is a durable, hard-working forward who has great speed. He put up an impressive 18-16-34 line.
The leadership of Colin and Joe on and off the ice was passed on to each player throughout the locker room,” Bertoni said. “They came to the rink each night with a smile on their face willing to learn.”
“They came to the rink each night with a smile on their face willing to learn.”
02 defenseman Tyler Anastasi, who Addesa called a great competitor and a very key part of the team, was named the EHLP Defenseman of the Year. Anastasi was a key component of the Railers offense as well, finishing up as the team’s second leading scorer (17-22-39).
One of the Railers best lines all season was the unit of Cameron Blanchard centering twin brother Ethan Blanchard on the right and Jayden Blackburn on the left. All are outstanding skaters.
“Every week Jayden got better and better,” Addesa said. “We called the Blanchards ‘Old Reliable’. They were great on the penalty kill, relentless, hard-working. Every goal they scored was a big goal.”
Charlie Addesa (9-17-26) was another guy who put the team’s success first. The team’s best face-off man, Addesa also moved back to the blue line when needed late in the season and did a terrific job.
One of two players who played in all 44 games, forward Vaughn Gillen put up a highly-respectable line of 15-14-29, playing both center and left wing.
“Vaughn is big and strong and scored a lot of timely goals,” GM Addesa said. “A lot of his goals came from high-traffic areas.”
Despite missing six weeks due to injury, Evan Vassilovski was able to put up 20 pts in 32 games. He also improved defensively during the year.
“Evan was clearly one of the most talented players on the team,” Addesa said. “He plays the center position with a lot of grace.”
And despite more injury and illness, the Railers were able to get great goaltending throughout the campaign, although the rotation at the end of the season was different than it was to start the year.
Ryan Warren – EHLP Goalie of the Week in November, 2019
Two of the first players the Railers signed were goaltenders Ryan Warren and Marshall McKallip. They quickly showed that they were two of the top netminders in the league. McKallip came down with a case of mono and was out for over three months. In late-November, Warren suffered a serious groin injury and was not able to return to the lineup.
So, the EHL team’s back-ups, Topias Maki and Curtis Briggs, came to fill in, and eventually became the team’s goalie tandem to finish the season. Maki had a brilliant 1.57 gaa and .944 save percentage, while Briggs furnished a 2.40 gaa and .916 save percentage as the two basically split time in the nets.
Three forwards who contributed in a big way to both the EHLP Railers and the EHL Railers team were 2000s Shawn MacTavish, Luca Filocamo, and Hayden Goldstein.
Addesa and the team’s coaching staff are already hard at work building next years’ roster and excited about how much success the Railers can have in 2020-2021 after seeing what this group accomplished in year one.
“I know we were young and maybe there is something to be said for younger guys being a little more malleable, Addesa III said. “What I do know is that by having this young group in our first year we are set up to build and grow and have developing and experienced players be part of our organization for a couple of years, continuing to learn the game before they all go on to play in college. It is an exciting time as we look to the future growth of our program.”