Massachusetts Boys Division 1 Poll
|3||St. John's Prep||3||9||2||3|
Examine the numbers compiled by the teams in this week’s Top 10 and it is clear that defense is the common denominator for their success. Ranging from Braintree’s D1 low (12 goals allowed, 13 games) to St. Mary’s high (27 goals, 15 games) every Top 10 team is allowing fewer than two goals per game.
That rule pretty much held true Sunday afternoon when No. 1 B.C. High and No. 2 Malden Catholic squared off the second time with the Catholic Conference title on the line at a packed Clark Center at UMass-Boston. And, for the second time, they played to a 2-all tie to finish as co-champs. The Eagles built a 2-0 lead through two periods but the Lancers’ junior Sean Wrenn secured the tie with less than a minute to play.
B.C. High had rolled past St. Mary’s of Lynn, 7-1, on Wednesday. Pope Francis visits Clark Wednesday and then the Eagles head to Burbank Arena to take on Reading next Monday. The Lancers dispatched Newburyport, 8-1, and Catholic Memorial, 4-1, earlier. Fairfield College Prep of Connecticut (Monday) and Mount St. Charles of Rhode Island (Saturday) head to the Valley Forum II this week.
No. 3 St. John’s Prep put together a solid week, upending Xaverian in Catholic Conference play, 4-2, then scoring a solid 3-0 road win at No. 15 Archbishop Williams of the Catholic Central Large Saturday night. The Eagles host Catholic Central Large leader Austin Prep in a high-profile game Wednesday then follow up Saturday with another Catholic Central Large foe, Arlington Catholic.
No. 4 Pope Francis, far and away D1’s highest-scoring team with 84 goals (5.6 gpg), returned to MIAA play after last weekend’s trip to Ontario and outscored Norwood and St. John’s of Shrewsbury by a combined 14-1 count. Junior forwards Riley Prattson (16-19-35) and Cam Peritz (13-20-33) continue to drive the attack for the Cardinals, who get a shot at B.C. High Wednesday night and welcome Hingham to The Olympia on Saturday.
No. 5 Austin Prep took control of the Catholic Central Large race the hard way Saturday night — with a 5-4 come-from-behind road win against No. 6 St. Mary’s of Lynn in a game that veered wildly from the defense rules script in the first period. St. Mary’s raced to a 3-0 lead in the first four minutes but AP tied it by period’s end. Junior defenseman and team scoring leader Ryan Verrier notched his 13th goal of the season with eight seconds left to win it as the Cougars climbed all the way back.
Austin Prep follows up Wednesday’s non-league visit to SJP by hosting Archbishop Williams Saturday afternoon. Meanwhile, after an empty week that also included that loss to B.C. High, St. Mary’s looks to recalibrate with league games against an improved Bishop Fenwick squad Tuesday and Matignon Saturday.
No. 7 Burlington climbed two spots despite struggling a bit during a 1-0-1 week. The Red Devils are well on their way to the Middlesex League’s Freedom Division title and match up with Melrose and Stoneham this week.
No. 8 Winchester suffered its first league loss to No. 14 Woburn Saturday night, 2-1, but remains in control of the Middlesex League’s Liberty Division. It’s a busy week for the Sachems, who take on No. 18 Hingham Monday, Lexington Wednesday and Reading on Saturday in a game that will go a long way toward settling the Liberty title.
No. 9 Braintree drops a couple of spots after suffering its first loss. The Wamps’ focus is now on No. 11 Framingham’s visit to Zapustas on Wednesday with Bay State Carey Division title implications. The teams earlier played to a 2-all tie.
No. 10 Reading is on a 5-0-2 run and will look to keep the momentum going against Belmont Monday and No. 16 Arlington Wednesday leading up to Saturday’s Battle at Burbank against Winchester. The Sachems dealt Reading its lone loss, 2-0, on Jan. 9.
GAMES TO WATCH
Wednesday — No. 11 Framingham at No. 9 Braintree, Zapustas, 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday — No. 4 Pope Francis at No. 1 B.C. High, Clark Center, 6:10 p.m.
Wednesday — No. 5 Austin Prep at No. 3 St. John’s Prep, Ristuccia, 8 p.m.
Saturday — No. 8 Winchester at No. 10 Reading, Burbank, 6 p.m.
Saturday — No. 12 Chelmsford at No. 13 Central Catholic, Icenter, 6 p.m.