Mass. Boys HS Hockey – EMass. D3 Early Season Top 10: Hanover Leads Way Again; Goaltending Key For Dartmouth, Lowell

Jim Clark
Jim Clark
Jim Clark joined Hockey Night in Boston in December 2019, and has covered high school hockey in Massachusetts for more than three decades. He also covers high school hockey and is a multiplatform editor for the Boston Globe, and previously spent two decades as high school hockey reporter at the Boston Herald, where he also served as the high schools editor from 2000-06. Clark was honored by the Mass. State Hockey Coaches Association with its William Stewart Award for contributions to the sport in May 2019, and also received the Joel Perlmutter Award for media coverage in 2006. A graduate of UMass, he also spent eight years as sports editor/reporter at the Sentinel & Enterprise in Fitchburg, and has extensively covered high school hockey in Central and Western Mass. as well as Connecticut.

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EMass Boys Division 3 Top 10

RankTeam*PRWLT
1Hanover2131
2Dartmouth1941
3Lowell1384
4Hopkinton2020
5Rockland1094
6Somerset Berkley1650
7Norwell1743
8North Quincy1093
9Cambridge1544
10Shawsheen1491
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Hanover ended the 2019-20 season atop the Hockey Night in Boston News Eastern Mass. Division 3 rankings, having just won the Div. 3 South championship and advanced to the state final against Western Mass. champ Longmeadow, a game that was canceled because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The newly named Hawks won’t get to defend their championship, and other contenders in the division won’t be able to try to knock them off their pedestal. But there will be games this season, in a shortened schedule, and the debates over which are the top 10 teams will continue.

No surprise, then, that Hanover begins the 2020-21 campaign at No. 1. Coach Jonny Abban’s team brings back plenty of talent, led by the dynamic senior captain duo of Manning Morris and Nate DelPrete.

Next in the rankings are the two teams that Hanover knocked off just before its season was cut short last March.

No. 2 Dartmouth lost some of its firepower up front, but the Indians still should be plenty tough to beat with J.P. Kerney in net and J.C. Frates leading the attack.

No. 3 Lowell also has one of the state’s top netminders in Jake Vieira, which should keep the Red Raiders competitive as they face a tougher only-Merrimack Valley Conference schedule.

Hopkinton was poised for a deep tournament run last year before being upset in the quarterfinals. The Hillers lost much of the punch from that squad, but still have one of the top sophomores around in Pavit Mehra to lead the way.

No team in the state has as many returning all-stars as Rockland’s six. All of them will have an impact for the No. 5 Bulldogs in the South Shore League.

No. 6 Somerset Berkley surged to the South Coast Conference crown last year, and the Raiders should be the favorite again led by senior Evan Affonso.

No. 7 Norwell isn’t ready to give up the South Shore that easily, particularly with returning all-stars Sean Ennis, Cole Berglund and Sam Fettuccia.

North Quincy’s senior twin combo of goalie Asher Wines and forward Ben Wines will keep the No. 8 Red Raiders in battles against the tough Patriot League.

No. 9 Cambridge graduated some talent from last year’s North final squad, but Luc Denney returns to lead the offense for the Falcons.

No. 10 Shawsheen should get a battle again from Essex Tech in the Commonwealth after narrowly holding on to the league crown a year ago.

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