Boys hockey: Junior forward Oliveto will anchor Spartans top line

There's no truth to the suggestion that Anthony Oliveto will center his hockey team's top line because he shares his Italian heritage with his head coach.It doesn't hurt, though.

Rochester Mayo's Anthony Oliveto (20) carries the puck through the neutral zone during a game last season. The junior forward is the top returning scorer in Rochester this season.

There's no truth to the suggestion that Anthony Oliveto will center his hockey team's top line because he shares his Italian heritage with his head coach.

It doesn't hurt, though.

"He's a kid who really looks good so far, looks bigger. You know why? Lots of pasta," Rochester Mayo head coach Lorne Grosso said with a laugh.

Pasta aside, Oliveto's skill and strong all-around play make him Rochester Mayo's No. 1 center.

His 43 points last season are the most for any returning player in Rochester this season.


Oliveto is a rarity at Mayo, a junior entering his third season on the varsity. The Spartans coaching staff recognized Oliveto's talent level before he got to high school and knew he had to be in the varsity lineup as soon as possible.

"We saw him two years ago in the summer before his freshman year," Grosso said. "I said 'who's that kid?' He passes well, shoots well, skates well and he sees the ice so well. We knew he would play on the varsity right away."

That Oliveto is bigger and stronger this season will only make him more difficult for opponents to contain. He has looked right at home in the Spartans' varsity lineup for two seasons. He was the team's fourth-leading scorer as a sophomore, when he recorded 16 goals and 26 points. Last year, playing alongside 100-career-point scorer Logan Haskins and Ethan Moore, Oliveto thrived, scoring 26 goals and adding 17 assists.

If he matches his point production from a year ago, Oliveto will go into his senior season with more than 100 career points. But he's not looking that far ahead. Mayo has 12 seniors who want to go out on a high note, as does their coach, Grosso, who will retire after this season, his 50th with the Spartans program.

"It's definitely a little different, but we have a lot of guys who will step up and fill those roles," Oliveto said of becoming a leader this season. "I'll try to be a leader like those guys were for me when I was younger.

"And we definitely want to make it a special year for (Grosso) and send him out in a good way. He's taught me a lot the past two years and I'm still learning from him every day. It's more than just hockey; it's how to be a better person on and off the ice."

Oliveto enters this season with 42 career goals and 69 career points in 53 games. He has three hat tricks, 13 multiple-goal games and 21 multiple-goal games.

He had a strong start to his varsity career, recording four points in his first five games. He finished the season even stronger, with 14 points over his final 11 games. That carried over to his sophomore season, when he was the Spartans' second-leading scorer and had at least one point in 22 of Mayo's 26 games.


"You just have to keep your emotions in check, stay with our systems and not try to do too much by yourself," he said of the advice he'll give to Mayo's younger players. "I'll just try to keep it even. I'm not trying to do too much, just keep it even and play the systems."

Oliveto will have to make one big adjustment this season, moving from wing to the top-line center position.

"We want to be strong up the middle," Grosso said. "We like our centers who can be playmakers and he has such good vision. And he can play both wings if we need him to.

"He'll be on the power play and will anchor his line. He'll really be a leader for us this year."

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