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Final Mass. D1 Top 20: #1 Arlington’s commitment pays off in D1A title

Massachusetts Boys Division 1 Poll

2Central Catholic81763
3Malden Catholic21563
4B.C. High11644
5St. Mary's141872
7Austin Prep31743
11Pope Francis71661
13Catholic Memorial41462
16Arlington CatholicNR1284
17St. John's Prep121282

John Messuri has long been a vocal advocate for staying home and pursuing a common goal with the guys you grew up with. The next step, whether prep school or Junior hockey, can be taken as a post-graduate.

No. 1 Arlington (22-2-2) delivered powerful support for that argument this season. Bolstered by a core group of nine seniors who made the commitment to stay, the Spy Ponders became the third public school in the 27-year history of the tournament to capture the Division 1A championship, knocking off defending champion Malden Catholic in the semifinal round, 2-1, in double overtime before topping Central Catholic in the title game, 2-1, also in overtime.

Messuri is confident the Middlesex League Liberty Division champions will be in the mix again next year – 13 experienced juniors and sophomores return, supplemented by a well-stocked JV pipeline.

No. 2 Central Catholic (17-6-3) came within a win of the program’s first-ever State hockey title under first-year coach Kim Brandvold. The Raiders rolled past No. 11 Pope Francis in a 1A quarterfinal sweep, then bounced B.C. High in the semifinals in OT, 1-0. Sixteen players, including the top six scorers, are eligible to return next winter for the Merrimack Valley Large/Dual County One champs.

No. 3 Malden Catholic (15-6-3) saw its bid for a sixth D1A championship in seven seasons halted by Arlington in the tournament semifinals. Next season projects as one of transition for the Catholic Conference champions – 11 players graduate, taking with them all but 20 of the goals scored this season.

The OT loss to Central Catholic was all that separated No. 4 BC High (16-4-4) from a shot at the 1A title, something of an anti-climatic ending to the Eagles’ season after they survived an epic three-game quarterfinal series against Walpole. The Eagles graduate only six and project to return a clutch of prime-time players.

Following 2016’s 4-3 double OT championship loss to Franklin, No. 5 St. Mary’s (18-7-2) waited a year for another shot at the Division One championship. Their perseverance paid off as a 4-2 win against Framingham produced the first hockey title in program history. Eighteen players could return for 31-year coach Mark Lee.

Much like Arlington, No. 6 Walpole (23-2-1) demonstrated good things may happen when players stay home. The Bay State Conference Herget Division champs did not lose in the regular season and went toe-to-to with B.C. High in a classic 1A quarterfinal series. What next year holds remains to be seen – 14 players graduate.

No. 7 Austin Prep (17-4-3) captured the Catholic Central Large title. Unbeaten until mid-February the Cougars faltered down the stretch and fell in the D1 North Sectional semifinals after being ousted in D1A play-in game by Marshfield. However, only three seniors graduate from the division’s fourth-ranked offense (102 goals).

No. 8 Hingham (16-6-2) had the misfortune of being paired against Arlington in the 1A quarterfinals and succumbed in two games. It will be a radically different team next winter as 16 players graduate.

No. 9 Framingham (16-7-2) surged to the D1 South Sectional title and played for a State title in coach Will Ortiz’s first year. A large contingent of underclassmen returns for the Flyers.

No. 10 Marshfield (19-4-2) graduates 10 from the 1A quarterfinalist that got swept by Malden Catholic. However, a whole lot of firepower could return for the Rams, who ranked third in the division with 106 goals.

Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle joined the HNIB team in 1990 and is a Senior Writer and Director of the Northern New England and Mass/R.I. High School Division camps. An award-winning veteran editor/writer of 35 years experience in the print and digital mediums, he has conceptualized, edited and produced original content and coordinated production for local and global publications and their websites. He holds degrees from Merrimack College and Boston University and won multiple NEPA and NEAP awards during his tenure as Sports Editor of The Daily News of Newburyport and News Editor of The Amesbury News. He is the 2016 recipient of the North Shore Lifetime Commitment From the Community award presented by Moynihan Lumber and is a 2017 inductee into the Newburyport High School Wall of Fame. The Newburyport, MA native resides with his family in Epping, NH. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @kdoyle40.
Kevin Doyle
- 5 days ago