Girls Prep Top 15
A new era begins in Girls Prep hockey. The two-division format is gone, with all programs now all in the same division, similar to the way things are done on the boys side.
Post-season play will also mimic the way it has been done on the boys side since 2010. There will be three post-season tournaments this year: an Elite Tournament (Chuck Vernon Tournament) consisting of the top eight ranked teams, a Large School Tournament (Patsy Odden Tournament) and a Small School Tournament (Dorothy Howard Tournament). Both the Large and Small tournaments will consist of six-team fields.
So, HNIB News will now feature one Top 15 ranking instead of the usual polls in D1 and D2.
The parity at the top end of last year’s Division 1 field is still in place this winter, with not much separating the teams. It should lead to an exciting season, with the anticipation of seeing how the top D2 programs from the last few years compare in the rankings.
Pre-season #1 Nobles (26-1-5) was one game away from an undefeated 2018-19 season when it fell in the D1 title game to Kent. The key for the ‘Dawgs will be to fill some shoes on the blue line. There is depth an forward and experience in goal, not to mention six D1 college commits on the roster.
Last year’s D1 champion Kent (19-4-0) caught fire at the end of last season and was dominant in the playoffs. The Lions have restocked and will be in the mix again.
#3 Williston (22-2-1) entered the post-season as the top seed in D1 last year, but fell in the first round, a testament to the parity. Expect the Wildcats to contend, especially with six returning defensemen and two returning goalies.
Could this be #4 Tabor‘s (20-2-3) year? The Seawolves bring in an impressive freshman class to supplement a roster that already features five D1 college commits.
#5 St. Paul’s (21-3-4) will be able to play with anyone. Be sure that some talented newcomers have arrived to blend with a good group of returners.
Three of last year’s Division 2 programs debut in the Pre-Season Top 15: Last year’s D2 NEPSAC champion Rivers at #11, Brooks at #13 and Thayer at #15.