EMass Division 3 North will feature just 12 teams. Defending champ Lowell is seeded first. Here’s a look at the 12-team field:
#1 Lowell (15-3-2)
Lowell was easily the best team in the North this season.
Since the last game of the regular season last winter, the Red Raiders are 20-4-2. The top seed should know that seeds don’t matter much at this point, however. They themselves beat Swampscott, last year’s No. 1, en route to their North title.
Junior Thomas Hassett leads the way with 23 goals and 18 assists, and Matthew Asselin (15-11-26), Benjamin Asselin (12-14-26), Brendan DeMarco (13-12-25) and Owen Goulette (7-18-25) have given Lowell quite the balanced attack. Freshmen defensemen Shawn Spring and Keegan Cote have key roles on the blue line in front of junior goalie Patrick Cote.
#2 St. Joseph Prep (13-6-1)
Connor Lewis (4-16-20), Harry Burr (8-9-17) and Jack O’Dea (13-6-1, 2.61 GAA, one shutout) lead the North’s No. 2 into the postseason.
It’s the first year of the cooperative program with Marian, and the team had the best record in the school’s short history. They’ll be making their second straight tournament appearance. O’Dea was named Catholic Central League Division 2 Goalie of the Year.
# 3 Cambridge (13-6-1)
The North is fickle this season, as evidenced by Cambridge’s season. The Falcons steamrolled the top seed, Lowell, 7-0, then lost to the same team, 4-1. Cambridge is easily a contender for the North title and could get Wayland in the first round, a team it’s beaten twice.
A balanced scoring attack features seniors Freddie Gould (25 pts), Myle Paton (26 pts), Barry Walsh (21 pts) and sophomore Thomas McGaffigan (24 pts). Senior Sal Caterina (21 pts) and sophomore Anthony Caterina (17 pts) are a pair of involved defensemen.
# 4 Shawsheen (13-7-0). The Rams got 19 goals and 23 assists from Matt Irwin and are looking to their senior for more production in the postseason. Shawsheen won eight in a row at one point but then closed out the season with three straight losses. Adding scoring punch are seniors Ron Page (25 pts) and Jack Duggan (23 pts). Senior Bobby Mitza should get the call in goal
#5 Lynn (11-5-4). Top-liners Brian Clougherty (junior right winger, 28-34-62), Michael Clougherty (senior captain center, 15-30-45) and John DiFilippo (junior left winger, 25-17-42) certainly make the Lynners a legitimate threat in the North.
Brian Clougherty has had 14 multi-point games, three four-goal games and seven four-point games. He currently has 94 points in his career as a junior including all postseason stats. Brother Michael has had eight multi-point games and is the team’s workhorse and centerman for this line that combined for 149 points in the regular season. He also plays as a top defenseman on the penalty kill. DiFilippo added 10 multi-point games and three hat tricks. He had three shorthanded tallies this year. Junior goalie Jack Gallant has a 9-5-4 record.
#6 Northeast Regional (11-5-4). Northeast hasn’t lost in its last four games and will be a team to watch in the tourney. The team finished third in the Commonwealth Conference Athletic Conference behind Essex Tech and Shawsheen (10-0-0 in the league).
#7 Newton South (10-6-3). Newton South is our sleeper in this tourney. The Lions have had a few results this season that have caught our attention — a 3-2 win over Lowell, a 5-4 loss to Lowell and a 5-0 win over Bourne. Cambridge dropped the Lions twice, so we’ll see which team shows up. But Newton South could easily be last year’s Lowell and run away with the North title. Senior Andrew Pratt and junior Johnny Baker are a pair of solid forwards.
#8 Swampscott (9-5-6). The Big Blue enter the tourney hungry to avoid a quick exit like last year, when as No. 1 seed they lost to Lowell. This time, they’ll face league rivals Revere/Malden in the first round. Swampscott beat (3-1) and tied (2-2) the new D3 entrant. The winner gets Lowell, meaning the Big Blue could get a chance to redeem themselves after last year’s upset.
Swampscott’s Stevie Santanello became the ninth player to get into the 100-point club and leads the team this season with 20 goals and 17 assists. Defenseman and fellow captain Dom Codispoti is right behind at 15 goals and 17 assists while Brett Benoit (12-10-22) and Drew Olivieri (8-14-22) had solid seasons.
#9 Revere/Malden (8-7-4). The aforementioned Patriots head into the D3 tourney as a new entrant to the division. They didn’t lose in their last three games and should, like Swampscott and Lynn, be aided by playing some tough Northeastern Conference competition.
#10 Hamilton Wenham (8-7-5). The Generals burst into the tourney and may be the story of the North. The team went winless last season in its return to varsity status after years at the cooperative level. This is the first tourney berth for the program in 11 years, and it’s only the seventh time in school history they have qualified for the tournament.
They are confident with a solid netminder in Finn Brophy (2.35 GAA, four shutouts). They are battle-tested, have loads of confidence and are riding the momentum of one of the best turnarounds we’ve seen.
Aidan Daly (17-8-25), Cam Vautour (11-12-23) and Jack Greenwald (7-8-15) lead the way in scoring. Seniors Kit Shaw, Jack Gebhardt and Griffin Penn are also contributors.
Coach Robert Ryan said the program has come a long way since its first junior varsity game four seasons ago.
#11 Wayland (9-8-3). Defensemen senior Mike Jones and junior Jack Crowley were All-Conference selections for the team that battled down the stretch to earn a tourney berth. The Warriors went on a six-game unbeaten streak down the stretch to earn crucial points and gain entrance into the postseason.
#12 Latin Academy (10-10-4). The tourney’s last seed heads into action against Lynn in the opening round. Lynn swept Latin this year, so the Dragons will need a strong turnaround to have success in their postseason opener.