Central Mass. Top 10 Poll
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What a turnaround for No. 2 Groton-Dunstable. After not qualifying for the playoffs last season Groton-Dunstable is back on track. The Crusaders are off to an 8-1-1 start and are on the cusp of qualifying for the tournament.
Groton-Dunstable, one of three Central Mass. teams with only one loss, certainly made a statement last week with an impressive 4-1 victory over reigning Central Mass. Division 3 champion No. 4 North MIddlesex. The Crusaders currently sit atop the Roy Conference.
The team remains intent on proving last season was a fluke. They are playing strong two-way hockey and have become a difficult team to play against.
Balanced scoring has been a key. The Crusaders have received offensive production throughout their lineup with 13 players with one or more goals. Ryan Dodge and Chris Lattini top the Crusaders with six goals apiece. Eric Niemoller has popped in five goals, while Rob Hoare and Pat Keating each have four.
Offense is hardly the only factor for success. Groton-Dunstable owns an impressive 0.77 goals allowed per game average. Improved play in its own zone has sparked the surge. Nevin Tardif has played the most games in goal and owns a .979 save percentage. Ben McEvoy is 4-0 and has yielded only one goal this season. Few teams can boast of such a good goaltending duo.
Groton-Dunstable followed up with a 4-1 triumph over Marlborough. Ryan Dodge had two goals in that game. John Langan and Pat Keating also scored and McEvoy made nine saves.
No. 1 Shrewsbury shook off a scare from No. 6 Wachusett with a come-from-behind 5-4 win. Once again, the Colonials turned to a Quinlivan for a spark. Liam Quinlivan’s second goal of the game snapped a tie. Conall Persechino evened the score at four apiece early in the final period. Quinlivan struck for the game-winner 2:11 later. Shrewsbury, which clinched a postseason berth with the win, got a pair goals from Adam Twitchell. Derek DeSouza and James Abbott both celebrated their first career goals last week.
Wachusett is starting to find chemistry among its lines and has shown improvement. Coach Matt Lane has tweaked his lines and it has paid dividends. All three lines produced goals in a 4-1 win over Auburn. John Ruggiero leads the team with eight goals.