Mass. Boys HS Hockey – Division 1 Pre-Season Top 20: Defending Champ Pope Francis Starts Where It Left Off

Gary Demopoulos
Gary Demopouloshttp://www.hnibnews.com
Gary Demopoulos has been covering prep school hockey for the HNIB News for over 30 years, and has been the editor of the HNIB News since 2005. A former sportswriter and news editor at the Woburn (MA) Daily Times Chronicle, he has been the HNIB News' key reporter for Mens Prep School hockey since 1988, as well as womens hockey, both at the prep school and high school levels. for almost 20 years. Gary also helps organize and oversee HNIB's many summer tournaments and festivals for scholastic players.

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Massachusetts Boys D1 Top 20

RankTeam*PRWLT
1Pope Francis2124
2Xaverian1690
3St. John’s Prep2031
4Marshfield2032
5Catholic Memorial1931
6Hingham1545
7Reading1484
8BC High10101
9Franklin1761
10Arlington1562
11Archbishop Williams1391
12Braintree1472
13St. John’s (S)11111
14Wellesley1750
15Central Catholic10111
16St. Mary’s Lynn1373
17Winchester8123
18Needham1182
19Westford Academy9102
20Weymouth1292
>

A great end-of-the-season run resulted in a 2023 MIAA Division 1 state championship for Pope Francis.

While the Cardinals are without a few of the key pieces from that team, they still have great depth, to go along with one of the top defensive units in the state. Pope Francis (21-2-4) starts the season as #1 in the HNIB News 2023-2024 Massachusetts Boys Division 1 Top 20.

After that, there is not much separating the next bunch of teams, which should make for a highly competitive season.

We will go with Xaverian (16-9-0) at #2. A state championship finalist the last two seasons, the Hawks return a bunch of guys who were key contributors, and, perhaps most importantly, return senior Cole Pouliot-Porter in goal.

#3 St. John’s Prep (20-3-1) got hit hard by graduation, but as we all know, coach Kris Hanson and the Eagles will be reloading.

Loads of talent return for #4 Marshfield (20-4-2). If the Rams get solid goaltending, they will be a dangerous bunch with a lot of experience.

#5 Catholic Memorial (19-3-1) is the defending Catholic Conference champion. While the Knights lost a couple of key offensive pieces, they do have a good nucleus of key players back, and they are always able to integrate talented underclassmen into the mix.

Speaking of reloading, that is the name of the game for #6 Hingham (15-4-5), which lost six of its seven top scoring forwards. We’ll know more about the Harbormen after their early season gauntlet that sees them open up with road games against Andover, St. John’s Prep and Catholic Memorial.

#7 Reading (14-8-4) had a great post-season run a year ago and were an overtime goal away from playing at TD Garden. Coach Mark Doherty’s club will have its usual strong defensive game. If the offense can deliver, the Rockets will be tough to beat.

#8 BC High (10-10-1) has been a bit down from their usual lofty standards the past two seasons, but expect that to change this winter with a deep lineup.

Despite losing 13 seniors, #9 Franklin (17-6-0) returns its top four scorers, including Hockomock League MVP Ben Paterson, a defensive anchor, and all three goalies.

Youth will be served at #10 Arlington (15-6-2), where the Spy Ponders need to replace a bunch of talent that has moved on. Be sure that coach John Messuri will be able to accomplish that and keep Arlington in the upper echelon.

With 17 returning players, #11 Archbishop Williams (13-9-1) is ready to take the next step. Solid goaltending play will be key.

#12 Braintree (14-7-2) has been a quarterfinalist the past two seasons. The Wamps will need to replace their top six scorers, and will be without captain Larry Graziano (injured) for a good portion of the season.

Rebuilding the defensive unit and developing a starting goaltender will be top priority for #13 St. John’s (S) (11-11-1). If that happens, the Pioneers will be a tough out.

#14 Wellesley (17-5-0) is looking to build off the success of last season that saw the Raiders win the Bay State Carey Division.

#15 Central Catholic (10-11-1) will look to defend its MVC/Dual County I title.

Rounding out the pre-season Top 20 are #16 St. Mary’s (13-7-3), #17 Winchester (8-12-3), #18 Needham (11-8-2), #19 Westford Academy (9-10-2) and #20 Weymouth (12-9-2).

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