Mass. Boys HS Hockey – Division 1 Top 20: #1 Pope Francis Stands Alone; #2 Xaverian Doubles Up In Catholic Conference

Kevin Doyle
Kevin Doyle
Kevin joined HNIB in 1990 and is a Senior Writer and Director of the Northern New England and Mass/R.I. High School Division camps. A veteran editor/writer of 40 years in the print and digital mediums, he has edited and produced original content and coordinated production for local and global publications and websites. He holds degrees from Merrimack College and Boston University and won multiple industry awards as Sports Editor of The Daily News of Newburyport and News Editor of The Amesbury News. He is the 2016 recipient of the North Shore Lifetime Commitment From the Community award presented by Moynihan Lumber and a 2017 Newburyport High School Wall of Fame inductee. He resides with his family in Portsmouth, NH. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @kdoyle40

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Massachusetts Boys D1 Top 20

1Pope Francis1900
4Abp. Williams21213
5Catholic Memorial6751
7Austin Prep8823
9BC High5550
12Winchester 12732
13Central Catholic17811
15St. Mary's18663
16St. John's Prep13334

Years from now, when the tales of this strangest of all seasons are told, the words of St. Mary’s coach Mark Lee, will apply to everyone who laced them up this winter.

“These kids will be telling their kids about playing during all the COVID-19 restrictions,” Lee told his Spartans after they won the Catholic Central League title Saturday night.

Indeed, this was a season for the ages, played under challenging conditions nobody wants to ever re-visit. In the absence of State Championships, many leagues brought the curtain down with highly entertaining league tournaments.

If there was a single constant amidst the churn of this season, it was this: The unparalleled excellence of No. 1 Pope Francis (9-0-0), which closed with 7-1 and 8-1 wins over Shrewsbury to finish where it started. If not altogether inarguable, it is abundantly clear Pope Francis stood above the pack, outscoring MIAA opponents, 63-9, en route to a plus-54 differential.

No. 2 Xaverian (6-3-3) emerged to double up as both the Catholic Conference’s regular-season and tournament champion, the program’s first titles since the final months of the Johnson Administration in 1968. It was truly a special season for the Hawks, doubly so for coach Dave Spinale, who savored the opportunity to share it with his son Shane Spinale, a Hawks’ senior captain and defenseman.

“We are so grateful that we got to play a season and have playoffs. We are blessed and appreciative of the memories,” coach Spinale said after Saturday night’s win.

No. 3 Hingham (14-1-0), normally an Independent playing in a league setting for the first time in 18 years, accumulated the most wins of any boys’ program in the state. The Harbormen swept past Duxbury, Scituate and Marshfield this week to capture the Patriot League Cup.

It is never easy when your first loss ends your season but that was the fate reserved for No. 4 Archbishop Williams (12-1-3), which fell to St. Mary’s in the Catholic Central Cup title game Saturday. Archies topped Bp. Feehan in the semifinals.

No. 5 Catholic Memorial (7-5-1) pushed Xaverian to the limit in the Catholic Conference title game. The Knights shut down both St. John’s of Shrewsbury, 3-0, and St. John’s Prep, 3-1, before bowing to Xaverian.

In the Bay State Herget, No. 6 Braintree (8-1-2) put together a stellar year with quiet efficiency. The Wamps’ bid to finish unbeaten ended with a 3-2 loss to Natick last Monday but they exacted a bit of revenge with a season-ending 4-1 win against the Redhawks last Wednesday.

No. 7 Austin Prep (8-2-3) had its impressive season end prematurely. The Cougars only two losses were to Pope Francis and Archbishop Willliams.

No. 8 Woburn (7-3-1) finished first in the Middlesex League’s Liberty Division but dropped its final two games, including a 4-1 loss to Burlington in the league tournament.

No. 9 B.C. High (5-5-0) had an uncharacteristically tough go of it in the Catholic Conference this winter, never truly gaining traction.

No. 10 Marshfield (8-4-2) reached the Patriot League Cup final with wins against Plymouth North and Hanover before falling to rival Hingham in the title game. Three of the Rams’ four losses were to the Harbormen.

No. 11 Belmont (7-3-2) of the Middlesex Liberty advanced to Saturday’s tournament title game, only to have it cancelled. Same thing happened last year when the Marauders were readying for the D1 State title game before the MIAA cancelled Championship Weekend at the onset of the outbreak.

No. 12 Winchester (7-3-2) of the Middlesex Liberty knocked off Melrose and Burlington of the Freedom Division to reach the league title game, only to have it cancelled before losing its season finale to Reading.

No. 13 Central Catholic (8-1-1) downed North Andover and Tewksbury to win the MVC 1 Cup title.

No. 14 Newburyport (10-1-1) of the Cape Ann League put together one of the best seasons in program history, sharing the regular-season title with Triton before knocking off the Vikings, 3-2, in the CAL vs, Cancer Tournament title game.

No. 15 St. Mary’s (6-6-3) defeated Arlington Catholic in the semifinals before upsetting Abp. Williams in the Catholic Central Cup championship match.

After bouncing Malden Catholic in its regular-season finale, No. 16 St. John’s Prep (3-3-4) couldn’t negotiate its way past Catholic Memoral in the Catholic Conference semifinals.

No. 17 Franklin (10-2-1) of the Hockomock Kelley-Rex, No. 18 Arlington (6-5-4) of the Middlesex Liberty,  No. 19 Waltham (6-0-3) of the Dual County and No. 20 Reading (6-3-2) complete the final rankings.

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