Massachusetts Boys Division 1 Poll
|17||St. John's Prep||12||12||8||2|
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.