EMass. Division III: Race wide open as several teams move up

HNIB Staff
HNIB Staffhttps://www.hnibnews.com
In 1972, two lifetime high school hockey fans started a weekly broadcast of Greater Boston high school games on WBOS-FM (92.9). The duo - Lance LoFaro and Darby Yaeger - called the nightly broadcasts "Hockey Night in Boston". As of late, HNIBnews - over 40 years running - has kept the scholastic hockey world on its feet with its widely-read website HNIBnews.com. In addition to HNIBnews, Hockey Night in Boston runs MassHSHockey.com, and also hosts summer tournaments showcasing the talents of scholastic hockey.

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Eastern Massachusetts Boys Division 3 Poll

RankTeam WLT
1Swampscott1960
2Bedford1293
3Shawsheen1471
4Holliston13101
5Silver Lake1663
6Lowell1434
7Abington1542
8Blue Hills1444
9Norwell1383
10Middleboro/Hull1560

The top two-ranked teams to start the Division 3 South boys hockey tourney last season are now gone from Division 3. The upstart team that despite being ranked No. 16 in Division 3 South roared all the way to the finals – where it lost – is also gone from Division 3.

 

The No. 2 ranked team in Division 3 North heading into the postseason last winter – the team that advanced to the semifinals – is no longer competing in Division 3.

 

Medfield and Medway – the teams that filled the top two slots in Division 3 South – have jumped to Division 2 this winter. Along with them goes the South’s Pembroke, the upstart No. 16 team that went all the way to the South finals before losing to Medway, 6-2; and semifinalist from a year ago Scituate.

 

And there’s Marblehead, the Division 3 state champion from 2011 that lost to eventual Eastern Mass. champion Swampscott in last year’s North semifinal, 4-1. Those Magicians are a Division 3 team no more, also advancing to Division 2.

 

From our final poll for Division 3 from last winter, that’s four out of the top six teams that moved up a division for the 2013-2014 season.

 

What does this mean? The door is wide open in Division 3.

 

Last season, we had Medway (19-3-3) at No. 2, Pembroke at No. 3 at 14-8-5, and Marblehead (No. 5, 18-6-0) and Medfield (No. 6, 18-2-1) all ranked in the top six.

 

Someone has to step in here, we know.

 

As for stepping up, we know the talk of last winter was Swampscott. The upstart Big Blue knocked down some Division 3 giants en route to a meeting with powerhouse Westfield in the Division 3 state finals. Although the Big Blue lost, 4-1, at the TD Garden, we’re keeping them at No. 1 heading into the season until someone proves they’re ready to take the lead.

 

Swampscott lost its share of talented seniors, but they return sophomore sensation Noah Maercklein, a playoff clutch performer, and sophomore goalie Tristan Bradley.

 

Bedford gets the nod at No. 2. Last season, they showed their worth in the postseason once again by ripping through the North and all the way to the finals, where they fell to Swampscott, 3-2. They have been a North contender year after year, and we don’t see that changing this winter.

 

Speaking of a North contender, Shawsheen clocks in at No. 3. They had a long league winning streak snapped by Rockport, but they are still on target for another great season. They made it to the semis last winter.

 

Holliston is the first South team to register into the preseason poll at No. 4. We like what they return, and we like even more than that their postseason run from one year ago, which included a trip to the South semis that ended with a 2-0 setback to Medway.

 

Silver Lake bumps into the No. 5  slot. Silver Lake suffered a defeat in the quarters to Pembroke.

 

Lowell looks strong again and takes No. 6. They were actually the No. 1-seeded postseason team in the North last winter but didn’t win a game in the tourney as they lost to league rival Bedford, 4-3, in a shootout.

 

Abington was red-hot all year along last season. They dropped their first tourney game, though, with a setback to Holliston. We don’t see how Abington slips greatly here, so we’re putting them at No. 7.

 

The South also steals the next three slots – Blue Hills, Norwell and Middleboro/Hull – at Nos. 8, 9 and 10, respectively.

 

Each of those teams had fine seasons in the South, and though they didn’t make much noise in the postseason, we expect them to do so this winter. Keep in mind, Middleboro/Hull was a 15-win team last season before bowing to Scituate in its first tourney game last season.

 

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