Mass. Pre-season Division 2 Poll
Last season, one team stood out as an easy choice to pre-season #1 in the HNIB News Mass. Division II Top 15 poll. And that team, Beverly, didn’t disappoint, staying at #1 all season long and eventually winning the state title.
This year, there is a very real chance things will be way different. Any one of a number of teams have the ability to be accepting the MIAA hardware next March at TD Garden.
For now, we will go with Tewksbury (17-4-2) at #1. The Redmen return the bulk of their offensive power, a four-year starting goalie, and several defensemen from last season’s North finalist.
Medfield (18-4-3) had quite the baptism to Division II last winter, winning the South sectional and giving Beverly all in could handle in the title game at Boston Garden. With some talented players back, Medfield starts the season at #2.
#3 Canton (15-5-4) will be quite the force in both the Hockomock League and south region if the Bulldogs can develop a young defense. They certainly have the skill up front and a stopper between the pipes.
#4 Lincoln-Sudbury (13-3-5) is another team that returns the majority of its squad that reached the D2 North semifinals, including several scorers. Bet they will battle Tewksbury tooth-and-nail in the MVC/Dual County II League.
While the four teams above all coming off great seasons last winter, #5 Peabody (5-13-1) endured a sub -.500 season. But with 20 players back, expect the Tanners to have a turnaround campaign.
Like Medfield, #6 Medway (15-5-2) also had quite the first season in Division II from the Tri-Valley League. Armed with one of the top goalies in the division, the Mustangs have the ingredients for another big year.
#7 Masconomet (15-5-2 lost its top scorer, but got a couple of new players in that could make an immediate impact. The Chieftains should be tough in the Cape Ann League.
They may have suffered some huge losses, but defending state champ Beverly (22-1-1) won’t backslide too far. They start the season at #8, but will have to overcome the loss of four senior defensemen, the school’s all-time leading scorer, and a stellar goaltender.
The third team from the NEC in the top ten is Winthrop (15-6-0) at #9. The Vikings return some key pieces including a four-year starter in goal. Coach Dale Dunbar’s defense-first mentality should pay dividends.
Rounding out the D-2 Top 10 is Oliver Ames (14-7-2). The Tigers have one of the division’s premier backstoppers in Jimmy Tierney and a couple of impressive scorers.
* Coming Soon, league previews and Mass. Girls HS polls