Massachusetts Division 2 Boys Poll
Don’t look now, but that team churning up the HNIB News Massachusetts Division II poll is Canton (9-3-4). After a sluggish start to the season, the Bulldogs are now right where they usually sit at this point of the season, as one of the top teams in Division II.
After Saturday’s impressive 5-1 win over Mansfield, the Bulldogs have won six in a row and are now ranked #4 in this latest poll. This is after the team won only one of its first five games.
“Our slow start was due to a combination of factors,” said Canton coach Brian Shuman. “We play a tough non-league schedule. Despite playing well at the start of the season, we just couldn’t find the back of the net with any consistency. We also had a lot of turnover from last season after graduating 14 seniors.”
Now, the team is exactly where Shuman thought it would be at this stage.
“These guys are some of the most mentally tough and hard-working young men I have ever coached,” he said. “Whether it’s a practice or a game, they show up and compete each and every day. And the team gets better every day. These guys are a pleasure to coach.”
Sophomore Matt Lazaro leads Canton with 17 goals and 12 assists. “Matt has been a revelation this season,” Shuman said. “His scoring always comes in big games.” Senior captain Ben Lodge has chipped in with 12 goals and 15 assists. John Femia is solid with a 4-15-19 scoring line.
“On the blue line, the senior trio of Tony Francescon, Andrew Howlett and Austin Zannino have logged a lot of minutes and played exceptionally well,” Shuman said. “But, our unsung hero may be first-year starter in net, Justin Slocum. He just keeps getting better.”
Canton hosts North Quincy on Wednesday (4:30pm) and then will welcome #2 Lincoln-Sudbury to town Saturday (6:00pm) for a key non-league showdown. Then it is off to the Quinn Memorial Tournament next week.
Meanwhile, #1 Beverly (16-0-1) had a quiet week, downing Methuen, 6-1, in its only action. Another quite weekend lies ahead for the Panthers with just one game, a non-league affair at D-1 Mansfield on Wednesday (7:oopm). Beverly has only two other regular season games next week against Peabody and Weymouth.
Offensively, senior forwards Connor Irving (15-23-38) and Graham Doherty (17-9-26), and junior defenseman Nick Albano (4-27-31) have led the attack. Junior goalie Tim Biarelli has fashioned a 1.38 gaa.
#2 Lincoln-Sudbury (11-1-4) survived a scare Saturday, escaping North Andover with a 4-3 win on a late Matt Jacobs goal. Jacobs leads the Warriors with a line of 16-11-27, while Jacob Sacher is at 8-17-25 and sophomore Eric Holden at 11-5-16. L-S hosts Methuen Wednesday (6:00pm), then has the big non-leaguer Saturday at Canton.
#3 Tewksbury (12-2-2) also holds serve. The Redmen are coming off a 6-0 blanking of Concord-Carlisle. They host
North Andover Monday (8:30pm), and then travel to Boston Latin for a Wednesday night matchup. Junior Ryan Petti (15-20-35) has been stellar up front, while senior Ross Budryk (4-10-14) holds down the fort defensively in front of junior goalie Kyle Paquette (1.09 gaa).
#5 Plymouth South (13-2-1) continues to churn out wins (victories over Sandwich, 6-2, and rival Plymouth North, 4-1, this week) and look to be a factor in the D2 South Sectional. PS is scheduled to play its remaining four regular season games this week, with Marshfield (Tuesday), Nauset (Wednesday), and the Spartan Cup (Friday, Saturday).
Winthrop (12-5-0) creeps up a spot to #6. The Vikings blanked Revere Wednesday where captain Chris Page (18-17-35) reached the 100-point plateau. Concord-Carlisle (Wednesday, 6:10pm) and at Lynn Saturday (6:30pm) are on the docket this week. Winthrop will close the regular season a week from Friday with a non-league battle with Mansfield. Pat Todisco (9-15-24) and Johnny Orlando (7-11-18) have been scoring leaders as well.
North Reading (12-2-1) drops a bit to #7 after falling to Newburyport. The Hornets rebounded nicely with a 5-2 win over Pentucket, avenging their only other loss of the year. Homes games against Amesbury (Tuesday, 7:00pm) and Rockport (Saturday, 7:00pm) come up before an appearance next week in the Jeff Hayes Memorial Tournament.
#8 Marblehead (13-5-0) cruised this week with big wins over Lynn and Swampscott. The Headers host Danvers Wednesday (5:00pm) and then make a trip Saturday to Nantucket (5:00pm) for a non-league battle.
Newly-crowned Tri Valley League champion Medfield (12-2-2) moves up to #9 after a tough 2-2 tie with rival Medway and an 8-3 win over Hopkinton. The Warriors make trips Monday to Mansfield and Saturday to Oliver Ames before taking part in the Quinn Memorial Tournament over vacation week.
It looks like #10 Martha’s Vineyard (11-3-1) has rebounded in a big way, beating Coyle Cassidy (6-3) and Nantucket (11-3) this week. The Vineyarders, led by Tyson Araujo (18-34-52) and Brian Fraser (22-13-35), are at Somerset-Berkley on Wednesday (3 pm) before participating in the Farleigh Dickinson Tournament this weekend (First matchup on Saturday against Lynnfield).
#11 Westwood (12-3-1) bounced Bellingham on Saturday (5-1). The Wolverines have Ashland Monday (8:30pm) before they head to the Farleigh Dickinson Tournament (first matchup on Saturday against Dennis-Yarmouth).
#12 Masconomet (10-4-12) drops a few notches after falling to Triton on Saturday (3-1). The Chieftains look to get back to their winning ways Wednesday when they host Pentucket (7:50pm) and are at Saugus on Saturday (6:50pm)
#13 Medway (11-3-2), after tying Medfield and beating Holliston (4-0), looks ahead this week to Pembroke (Tuesday) and a non-leaguer at Mansfield (Saturday). After that, it is the South of Boston Shootout next Monday.
#14 Oliver Ames (9-4-2) posted shutout wins over Stoughton (4-0) and Taunton (3-0) this week. The Tigers do have a game tonight at Franklin (8pm) before hosting Whitman-Hanson Wednesday (7:30pm), and then heading to the Jeff Hayes Memorial Tournament this coming weekend.
Making its poll debut this week is #15 North Quincy (8-4-2). NQ has a busy week with games against Whitman-Hanson (Tuesday), Canton (Wednesday) and Quincy (Saturday).
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