The best of friends always find a way to stay together. Just ask a pair of former West Haven High hockey stars.
High school hockey may have ended for Brendan Serenson and Pete Richetelli, but that has not stopped the lifelong friends from playing together. With the hopes of playing in college still fresh in their minds, the pair has connected again in Junior hockey.
Playing this past season for the Connecticut Rangers, Serenson and Richetelli recently concluded their Junior hockey days, losing in the second round of the postseason.
While the loss may be bittersweet, it is also a new beginning for the pair as collegiate academics and hockey now await.
For Serenson, the goalie will take his talents to Roger Williams College where he will study Business Management and stop pucks in goal.
“I have already taken some classes online,” Serenson said two years removed from high school. “I was not really sure what I wanted to do (after high school). I thought I knew. I knew I wanted to keep playing hockey. I wanted to play at a higher level. I wanted to play Juniors to see where that would take me. I’m happy with where I’m going.”
Richetelli, who finished with 95 career points in high school and had 72 points this year for the Junior Rangers, will face a big decision in where his college days will take him. He is still in the process of determining where that path will be.
“Long term, I would like to play four years of college,” Richetelli said. “It is definitely a little different. I want to play as long as I can and enjoy it.”
While each were All-State selections in 2017 at West Haven, both Richetelli and Serenson found out the difference in speed of the game from high school to Juniors relatively quickly. Serenson had to get used to the play in front of him, while Richetelli had to pick up his pace to keep up with his opponents.
Not only were game speeds different, but so to were practices. Both believe that transition helped their overall games.
“The speed is the biggest difference,” Richetelli said. “It took a couple of games to adjust. Everyone works hard and fast. It pushed you to the limit.”
Serenson had two solid seasons in Juniors as he played for the Junior Wolfpack out of high school, posting an .890 save percentage and a 4.00 goals against average. Moving over to the Rangers his second year, Serenson posted similar numbers for a team which advanced to the second round of the postseason.
Richetelli was the opposite side of the ledger as his responsibility was to put the puck in the net. The former Westie obliged as he had 14 goals and 25 goals for 39 points his first year, and 28 goals and 44 assists for 72 points this past year.
“I think I was more adjusted this year,” Richetelli said.
Richetelli, who started looking into Junior teams his senior year of high school, quickly decided on Junior hockey after being approached by Jim Hankel. While undecided on a college, Richetelli knows the next level is more of a job than recreation.
“It is definitely more of a job,” Richetelli said. “In Juniors, everyone has a role. If you mess up, they will sit you. You have to work hard or you will not play.”
Said Serenson, “I feel Juniors helped me. It made me develop as a hockey player and as a person. I made great friends, and I learned what it takes to be successful as a student and an athlete.”
While Juniors helped both raise their game and their success level, it also reunited the All-State players from West Haven High.
“It was good to get to play with Pete again,” Serenson said. “It was nice. We have been playing together so long. It was great to have a friend there. I knew he had my back everywhere and on the ice.”
What was also nice for the lifelong friends was their ability to share their experiences with both families as each have been by the other’s side since they started skating.
Said Richetelli, “It meant a lot to play with Brendan. We have played together since youth hockey and all through high school. We were able to go on road trips and spend a lot of time together. We got to do that with our fathers too, so that was special to do one last time.”
For the lifelong friends, they are finding out the next level is a business. They are also proof you can have fun and still work hard.