Final Massachusetts Division 1 Boys Top 20: Arlington, Pope Francis Are 1A Co-Champs; Belmont, Walpole Share D1 Crown

Kevin Doyle
Kevin Doyle
Kevin joined HNIB in 1990 and is a Senior Writer and Director of the Northern New England and Mass/R.I. High School Division camps. A veteran editor/writer of 40 years in the print and digital mediums, he has edited and produced original content and coordinated production for local and global publications and websites. He holds degrees from Merrimack College and Boston University and won multiple industry awards 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 a 2017 Newburyport High School Wall of Fame inductee. He resides with his family in Portsmouth, NH. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @kdoyle40

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Massachusetts Boys Division 1 Top 20

RankTeam[tooltip text="PR*" gravity="ne"]Previous Ranking[/tooltip]WLT
2Pope Francis316
3St. John's Prep61465
4BC High21554
6Catholic Memorial51086
9St. John's (S)171295
15St. Mary's121383
17Archbishop WilliamsNR1294
18Austin Prep141184

The correct decision by the MIAA to cancel State Championship games and that board’s ensuing declaration that co-champions would be recognized provided a bit of history in Division 1A.

There is no question players, coaches, fans and media alike would have preferred the championships be settled on the ice – anyone who saw the gut-wrenching video of Arlington coach John Messuri informing his team knows this to be so.

The MIAA’s decision meant No. 1 Arlington (19-1-4) became the first public school to win the championship twice in the tournament’s 30-year history. Meanwhile No. 2 Pope Francis (16-5-2) – which had earned its third consecutive trip to TD Garden by emerging from the 1A Loser’s Bracket – finally earned recognition as a 1A champion.

Brendan Doherty of St. John’s (S) carries the puck up ice with Belmont’s Nolan Duffy moving in to defend during MIAA D1 North final. Marauders rallied late for a 3-2 win.

No. 8 Belmont (14-5-5), the Division One North Sectional champion; and No. 11 Walpole (13-8-5), the South Sectional winner, were named Division One co-champions.

When Middlesex League Liberty Division champion Arlington returns to the ice next season, it will carry a 21-game (17-0-4) unbeaten streak. The Spy Ponders lost to Pope Francis two days before Christmas but made their way to the 1A title game with a clean tourney run, defeating Framingham, 2-1, St. John’s Prep, 3-1, and Pope Francis, 2-1, in succession.

Independent Pope Francis won the season’s final 1A game in dramatic fashion, upending SJP in OT, 3-2, in the Loser’s Bracket final on a stellar individual effort by defenseman Jack Kennedy.

As it turned out, No. 3 St. John’s Prep (14-6-4) turned in the best post-season among Catholic Conference teams. The senior-laden Eagles defeated league foes Xaverian, Catholic Memorial and BC High before that knockout loss to Pope Francis.

No. 4 BC High (15-5-4) had its 1A three-peat bid short-circuited by St. John’s Prep but returns a raft of key players next season should they choose to remain.

No. 5 Framingham (17-7-3) played its way into the 1A Final Eight by knocking off Reading and also ousted Xaverian in elimination play. The Flyers played more games (27) than any team in the division.

No. 6 Catholic Memorial (10-8-6), the Catholic Conference champion, struggled in the back half of the season, finishing 4-5-1 in their last 10. The Knights couldn’t contain St. John’s Prep in a 5-2 1A elimination loss after yielding just one goal to the Eagles in two regular-season games.

No. 7 Xaverian (13-6-4) entered the tournament with high hopes but exited quickly with losses to SJP and Framingham.

Belmont, the Middlesex Liberty’s third-place finisher, jumps a whopping 10 spots after four one-goal wins to claim the North Sectional title. The Marauders defeated Andover, 3-2, St. Mary’s 2-1, league foe Reading, 3-2, and St. John’s (S), 3-2.

Independent No. 9 St. John’s (S) (12-9-5) enjoyed a similar ride through the North Sectional until losing to Belmont. The Pioneers popped Melrose, in-town rival Shrewsbury and Westford Academy. They played eight 1A qualifiers during the course of the season.

No. 10 Burlington (15-6-4), the Middlesex League’s Freedom Division champion, played its way into the 1A Final 8 by stopping Hingham, but couldn’t match BC High and Catholic Memorial in consecutive losses.

South Sectional champion No. 11 Walpole (13-8-5), third in the Bay State Conference’s Herget Division, had to win its final three regular-season games to qualify. Once in, the Rebels matched North champion Belmont with four one-goal wins against Braintree, Duxbury, Falmouth, and Archbishop Williams.

No. 12 Reading (11-7-6) lost a 1A play-in to Framingham, then upended in-town rival Austin Prep in the North Sectional but lost to Belmont.

Independent No. 13 Hingham (12-9-3) lost a 1A play-in to Burlington and was eliminated from the South Sectional by Falmouth.

No. 14 Natick (14-3-5) of the Bay State Carey saw its season come to a premature end with a South Sectional loss to Franklin.

No. 15 St. Mary’s (13-8-3) of the Catholic Central Large defeated Central Catholic but got bounced by Belmont in the North Sectional.

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