Massachusetts Division 2 Boys Poll
Not much has changed at the top of the HNIB News Massachusetts Division II poll. Top-ranked Beverly (13-0-1) has been #1 since the pre-season and the Panthers show no sign of letting up.
Earlier this week, Beverly took down Westford Academy, a tough Division I opponent, and Saturday took care of NEC rival Danvers, 5-2. Senior Graham Doherty had two goals, and with two assists, senior Connor Irving became the school’s all-time leading scorer.
The Panthers will be tested this week, starting with the third meeting of season with Marblehead on Wednesday night. Then, on Saturday night (6:30pm, Larsen Arena) it will be red-hot Winthrop.
Speaking of Winthrop (10-4-0), the Vikings were solid Saturday in a 5-1 win over Marblehead, It was Winthrop’s sixth straight win which moved it up to #7 in the poll.
“We always look to peak around this point of the season,” said Winthrop coach Dale Dunbar. “The last five or six years that has been evident. We focus on specific areas of our game every day and our goal is to get better every day. We take great pride in our team defense and a lot of our success can be attributed to that area. Because of this our record reflects our commitment to each other.”
Senior captain Chris Page (16-13-29) has established himself as one of Division II’s top forwards and drives the Winthrop offense.
“Chris Page is a special person and player and is the hallmark of our team and program,” Dunbar said. “He factors in 95% of our scoring and is the ultimate leader and competitor. His work ethic is second to none and in four years has developed into a premier player and college prospect.”
Merrimack Valley/Dual County II heavies Lincoln-Sudbury (9-1-3) and Tewksbury (10-2-1) stay in the #2 and #3 spots respectively, heading into their second meeting of the season on Wednesday (4pm, NESC). The Warriors rallied to tie Peabody 2-2 this week, and then avenged their only loss of the season with a 3-1 win Saturday over Concord-Carlisle.
The Redmen, coming off a 5-0 whitewashing of Haverhill, will battle Andover Saturday after the L-S showdown.
Defense and goaltending have carried #4 North Reading (9-1-1) all season, and it continued to be evident this week with victories over Masconomet (2-1) and Amesbury (2-0), both key Cape Ann League wins. The Hornets, who have allowed just 14 goals all season, look to keep it going against Saugus and Triton this week.
#5 Plymouth South (9-1-1) continues to churn out victories and as a result, keeps moving up the polls. On the docket are the second meeting of the season with Falmouth (Wednesday), and then a pair of non-leaguers with Old Rochester (Friday) and Sacred Heart (Saturday).
You knew that #6 Canton‘s (5-3-4) slow start was an aberration. The Bulldogs seem to be getting things in gear. Sophomore Matt Lazaro’s 11 goals lead the club. Upcoming this week are Stoughton (Wednesday) and Taunton (Saturday).
Marblehead drops to #8 after the 5-1 loss to Winthrop. All four of the Headers losses are to the Vikings and Beverly. Marblehead takes on Bishop Fenwick on Monday, and then takes on Peabody Saturday after the tussle with Beverly.
#9 Martha’s Vineyard (8-2-1) drops a few spots as they were handled Saturday by visiting Framingham, 6-2. A key EAC matchup with Coyle-Cassidy looms on Wednesday.
A close, 2-1 loss to North Reading drops Masconomet (6-3-2) to #10. The Chieftains have a biggie with Newburyport on Wednesday, and then takes on Lynnfield Saturday.
#11 Medfield (9-2-1) is riding high, after a crucial, 4-3, win over Westwood Saturday gives them a leg up in the Tri-Valley League race. Medfield can continues its success this week against Holliston (Wednesday) and Bellingham (Saturday).
Shutouts are the name of the game for #12 Amesbury (7-3-2). The Indians blanked Danvers (7-0) and Triton (2-0), and dropped a 2-0 decision to North Reading. Pentucket is up on Thursday and Saugus on Saturday. Two wins clinches a post-season berth for Amesbury.
Poll newcomer Westwood (9-3-1) checks in at #13. The Wolverines had a big 2-1 win over Medway this week and get set to take on Hopkinton (Wednesday) and Dover-Sherborn (Saturday).
Rounding out the Division II Top 15 are #14 Medway (8-3-1) and #15 Oliver Ames (5-4-2), who has lost their last three games.