The MIAA Division II North sectional is small in nature, with the field consisting of just 11 teams. But with several top teams, it could be the most competitive bracket in the state.
FIRST ROUND – Tuesday, February 25th
Game 1: @ Chelmsford Forum #9 Amesbury vs. #8 Danvers, 7:10pm
Game 2: @Chelmsford Forum #10 Haverhill vs. #7 Marblehead, 5:10pm
Game 3: @Stoneham Arena #11 Revere vs. #6 Masconomet, 7:30pm
QUARTERFINALS – Friday, February 28th
Game 4: @Stoneham Arena Amesbury/Danvers winner vs. #1 Beverly, 7:45pm
Game 5: @Woburn #5 Winthrop vs. #4 Lincoln-Sudbury, 6:00pm
Game 6 @ Stoneham Arena Haverhill/Marblehead winner vs. #2 North Reading, 5:00pm
Game 7 @ Woburn Revere/Masconomet winner vs. #3 Tewksbury, 8:00pm
SEMIFINALS – TBA
FINAL – TBA
Here is a look at the teams by seed.
1. Beverly (18-1-1)
The Panthers have been the top-ranked team in Division II from day one of the season. They are the odds-on favorite to come out of the North sectional. But, the past two years, Beverly has been upset in its first tourney game.
” Most of the players were part of last year’s team,” said coach Bob Gilligan. “It’s a very bad taste. We remember it well. The team has done pretty well with the pressure so far. Hopefully, we can handle it through the tournament.”
Offensively, senior veteran Connor Irving (16-31-47), now the school’s all-time leading scorer, leads the Panthers, along with senior Graham Doherty (17-10-27), Jake Straw (15 pts) and J.J. Bacchini (15 pts). Junior defenseman Nick Albano (7-29-36) is one of the top two-way blueliners around. Junior goalie Tim Biarelli fashioned a solid 1.51 gaa.
2. North Reading (16-2-2)
The Hornets head into the tournament on a hot streak, and their defensive, close-to-the vest style can give any foes fits. Senior goalie Keith Linnane (1.36 gaa) is the backbone of coach John Giuliotti’s club.
Junior Jared Potter (22-19-41) powers the offense, getting help from Nick Day (17-11-28) and his brother Tom Day (9-21-30).
3. Tewksbury (15-3-2)
The Redmen have had a lot of recent post-season success the past few years, and that experience will be a big plus. They are certain capable of emerging from the North.
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Up front, junior Ryan Petti (17-24-41) had a banner campaign, supplemented by the likes of Jack Cash (11-12-23) and Ryan Meade (6-16-22). Senior captain Ross Budryk (6-13-19) is a stalwart on the blue line in front of junior goalie Kyle Paquette (1.13 gaa).
4. Lincoln-Sudbury (12-3-5)
The Warriors edged out Tewksbury for the MVC/Dual County D-II title. The scuffled a bit down the stretch and hope to get back on track for a strong tournament run.
“We certainly have struggled of late, however, I believe with a good portion of our team with experience playing in the states along with our leadership in the locker room will help us right the ship,” said L-S coach Tom Pare. “Also, the excitement of playing in the tournament can rejuvenate a team. The key for success for us is simple. Winning the one-on-one battles, playing as a unit, moving our feet and doing the little things will afford us an opportunity of success in the tournament.”
Junior Matt Jacobs (17-13-30), junior Jacob Sacher (9-17-26) and sophomore Eric Holden (13-8-21) will key the offense. Junior Ryan Dale (8-6-14) keys the L-S blue line.
5. Winthrop (15-5-0)
Keep an eye on the Vikings, who have won 11 of their last 12 games, losing only to Beverly.
Senior captain Chris Page (22-21-43), the NEC North’s MVP this year, powers the offensive attack, along with Pat Todisco (10-23-33) and Johnny Orlando (8-13-21). Junior Ray Feeley (1.70 gaa) should get the call in goal.
6. Masconomet (14-4-2)
The Chieftains are another team that finished the regular season strong and can’t be taken lightly.
Offensively, look for Joe Griffin (10-21-31) and Mike Castro (11-13-24) lead the way. Tyler Costello (7-18-25) is a solid blue liner. Mitch Nekoroski (1.52 gaa) has had a great season between the pipes.
7. Marblehead (16-5-1)
The Headers move up to Division 2 this year. Of their five losses, three were to Beverly and two to Winthrop.
The brothers Koopman: Tom (13-21-34) and Matt (16-18-34) are key offensive players for coach Bob Jackson, along with freshman Braden Haley (9-11-20). Senior Liam Gillis (6-16-22) is a rock on the blue line.
8. Danvers (10-10-1)
A late-season push propelled the Falcons into the post-season, where they have been no strangers over the years.
Matty Flynn and Jay Calcagno will be offensive keys, while Stephen Ganley leads the blueliners.
9. Amesbury (8-8-4)
The Indians started the season strong, but struggled a bit in the second half. Hope is to get things cranked up for the post-season.
Connor Stevens (13-7-20) and Tabor Smith (5-15-20) are go-to-guys up front for coach Chris Kuchar. Sophomore Jake Harlow (2.15 gaa) should get the call in the cage.
10. Haverhill (9-9-2).
The Hillies won their last three games to qualify for the tournament. Look for Tom Maguire (13-8-21) and Josh Goldstein (7-13-20) to be involved offensively.
11. Revere (5-14-1)
The Patriots had to forfeit several early-season games due to the use of an ineligible player, but their appeal was granted by the MIAA which made them eligible for the post-season. They take on Masconomet in a first-round tilt.