Massachusetts Division 2 Boys Poll
Thanks to Mother Nature, it will be a very busy final week of the regular season for most teams, as the contenders jockey for best seeding position. The final day of the regular season is this Friday, with Division II tournament pairings announced this coming Saturday.
One team looking to make some noise in the post-season is North Reading. The Hornets have enjoyed a stellar campaign at 12-2-2 overall, and hope their defensive style proves to be successful in the post-season.
“I don’t think any coach can say they would have expected to hold a record like ours at this point of the season,” said North Reading coach John Giuliotti. “One thing I did feel confident about was that we were going to be a team that would always compete. This is due in large part from the returning players that I knew were coming back.”
One such returner is senior goaltender Keith Linnane, who in his fourth varsity season has sported a flashy 1.36 gaa.
“Behind every successful hockey team is a good goalie,” Giuliotti said. “Keith has been tremendous for us not only this year, but over the past four years. We have great leadership. Co-captains Tommy Day, Linnane, and assistant captains Shane Driscoll and Jake LaRoche have helped create a positive culture among all the players.
“We are a very balanced team. Our systems are in place to keep things close, while also generating offense from them. The personnel in place this year have really played to the systems and we have been successful in all areas of the ice because of this.”
The Hornets, currently tied for first in the Cape Ann League with Masconomet and ranked #9 in this week’s latest HNIB News Mass. Division II poll, are being led offensively by junior Jared Potter (15-15-30), Thomas Day (6-13-19) and Nick Day (12-7-19). They will have a busy week, playing Oliver Ames Monday in the first round of the Jeff Hayes Memorial Tournament at Gallo Arena, with the second round on Tuesday, and a game with Lynnfield on Friday. A make-up game with non-league Rockport could be played either Wednesday or Thursday.
Meanwhile, at the top of the poll, nothing has changed, as the top six clubs remain the same this week.
#1 Beverly (17-0-1) has league rival Peabody on Monday (2 pm at Peabody) and a non-league game at Weymouth on Wednesday (7:00 pm) in its quest to finish the regular season unbeaten. In their only action last week, the Panthers blanked D-1 foe Mansfield, 4-0.
#2 Lincoln-Sudbury (12-1-4) had its big showdown with Canton wiped out by weather on Saturday. The game will now be played on Wednesday afternoon (2:30pm at Canton). The Warriors will also be in the Newburyport Savings Bank Tournament, taking on Saugus on Tuesday, and then either Danvers or North Andover in Friday’s second round. They did nip Methuen, 1-0, this past week.
#3 Tewksbury (14-2-2) picked up wins over North Andover (5-0) and Boston Latin (4-2). The Redmen close out with a league game Monday with Methuen, and a tough, non-leaguer with Wilmington Friday night (7:30 pm)
Sandwiched around #4 Canton‘s game with L-S wll be an appearance in the Quinn Memorial Tournament, which will see the Bulldogs take on Boston Latin Tuesday (5:00 pm, Raynham), and then either Coyle-Cassidy or Medfield on Thursday. Most recently, the Bulldogs dispatched North Quincy, 4-1. They seem to be playing their best hockey of the season.
#5 Plymouth South (15-3-1) shrugged off a loss to D-1 Marshfield with wins over Nauset (9-2) and Pembroke (4-2). They only have one regular season game left, a Friday non-league date with Bishop Stang.
Marblehead (14-5-0) climbs a spot to #7 after a win over Dnavers (5-1). The Headers will appear at the Newburyport Savings Bank Tournament playing Amesbury Monday (3 pm) and then either Bishop Fenwick or Masconomet on Wednesday. They also will travel to Nantucket Friday for a make-up game postponed from yesterday. Of Marblehead’s five losses, three are to Beverly and two to Winthrop.
#8 Medfield (13-2-3) closes out its regular season at the Quinn Memorial Tournament, where they could see Canton on Thursday. The Warriors first-round opponent is host Coyle Cassidy on Tuesday. Medfield did beat Oliver Ames, 3-1, on Saturday.
Masconomet (11-4-2) moves up to #10. They take on Bishop Fenwick Monday in the Newburyport Savings Bank Tournament, and will meet either Marblehead or Amesbury on Wednesday. The Chieftains close out with Saugus on Thursday (6 pm).
#11 Medway (13-3-2) was impressive with wins over Pembroke (4-1) and Mansfield (5-0) and look to be a player in the D-2 South Sectional. Medway this week is in the South of Boston Shootout taking on Bridgewater-Raynham Monday (8 pm), and either Mansfield or North Quincy on Wednesday.
#12 Westwood (14-4-1) defeated Dennis-Yarmouth in yesterday’s first round of the Farleigh Dickinson tournament and then beat Lynnfield today, 4-1, in the final. The Wolverines have one game left on the slate versus Bourne on Wednesday.
Martha’s Vineyard (12-4-2) drops to #13 after an upset loss to Lynnfield yesterday, and then a 4-4 tie with Dennis-Yarmouth today. The Vineyarders this week will see Bishop Feehan Wednesday (away, 2:30pm) and Nauset on Friday (4:30pm)
#14 North Quincy (9-6-2) hopes to do some damage at the South of Boston Shootout this week, while poll newcomer #15 Milford (10-5-2) has Bellingham, Hopkinton and Blue Hills left on the regular season schedule.