Play will begin Tuesday with first round action in what may be the most intriguing sectional bracket, Division 2 Boys South. Sixteen teams have qualified
Here is a look at them as they are seeded:
#1 Medfield (14-1-5): The Warriors spent most of the first half of the season ranked #1 in Mass D2 and for good reason. They are a solid squad, certainly capable of reaching the Garden.
“I think that we (as all teams) will feel the pressure of the moment,” said Medfield coach Toby Carlow. “It is how we handle each game. The keys to our success starts from the back end. We have gotten solid goaltending all season and solid defensive play.”
Medfield can also score, led by veteran seniors Matt Treiber (21-21-42) and John McLean (18-17-35). Freshman Brian Abely (9-18-27) has been a welcome addition. Sophomore Ryan Johnson (12 pts) will contribute. The defense will look to senior Nigel Reiff (12 pts), senior Jonathan Seibel (9 pts) and senior Michael Walsh (8 pts) for leadership in front of senior goalie Matt Malvese.
#2 Bishop Feehan (15-3-2): The Shamrocks, the only team to be Medfield this season, wrested the EAC title away from Coyle Cassidy, which had won it the last 12 years. The team is ready to go.
“I think this team can compete for the title,” said Feehan coach Kevin Dunn. “We will need to protect our own end. Mike Capprini will need to continue his excellent play in the net and we will need to get bodies and pucks to the opponent’s net. The winner from D2 South is going to earn their way to the title. There are many very good teams.”
Junior Kyle Browne (17-9-26) and senior captains Mike Geraghty (10-15-25) and Brendan Barrera (6-15-21) will lead the offensive attack. Juniors Jack Callahan (13 pts), Connor O’Brien (11 pts) and Kevin Jezard (1o pts) add quality depth. Juniors Sean Dunphy (19 pts) and Josh Nelson take care of things in the defensive zone. Capprini is a veteran presence in goal.
#3 Canton (14-2-4): The Bulldogs had another one of their excellent seasons, losing just twice. A key to coming out of the D2 South Sectional could lie up front.
“Defensively and in goal, we have been outstanding this year,” said Canton coach Brian Shuman. “But, goals have been hard to come by at times. Hopefully we can get some consistent scoring in the playoffs.”
That scoring would come from the likes of seniors like Bobby Mullaney, Matt Lazaro, Jim Jenkins and Seamus Pecoraro, as well as junior Shaun Kirby. Juniors Jackson Maffeo and C.J. Martin have excelled on the blue line, while senior Justin Slocum has done the job between the pipes.
#4 Westwood (12-4-4): The defending state champion Wolverines got off to a bit of a slow start, but have really turned it on in the second half and will be a team to watch.
“We went into the season knowing the beginning might be a bit bumpy but we felt we have a group that can contend with anyone in the South,” said Westwood coach Mike Welby. “I think the team has progressed nicely, culminating in an undefeated second half.”
Senior Nick Conway (18-12-30), junior Sam Murphy (8-11-19) and senior John Clancy (6-9-15) have stood out up front for Westwood. Defensemen R.J. Messineo (16 pts), a senior, and Mike Swirlbalus (19 pts), a sophomore lead the defense in front of senior goaltender Ned Murphy.
#5 Pembroke (12-4-4): The Titans had a breakout season that saw them win the Fisher Division of the Patriot League. It will be interesting to see where they fit in this rugged bracket.
Offensively, Pembroke has a balanced attack with no less than eight players scoring in double digits led by the junior combo of Zach Simpson (27 pts) and Cam Judkins (25 pts). Senior Joe Birolini and sophomore Shane Murphy have each amassed 18 points. On defense, seniors Billy Hickey (17 pts) and Dan Bowen (14 pts) have done the job. In goal, it will be junior Justin Pijanowski.
#6 North Attleboro (12-4-4): The Red Rocketeers had one of their best seasons in a while and will face Taunton in a first round game, the same team they beat in their final regular season game.
“We need to keep our style of hockey, maintain good positioning, play unselfish hockey and take advantage of scoring opportunities when presented,” said NA coach Steve Snizek. “The players need to play solid hockey in all three zones. The key to success of our season has been to play as a ‘team’ or ‘unit’ rather than as individuals.”
Up front, NA spreads out its scoring. Juniors Erik Clements (13-8-21) and Zach McGowan (10-11-21) are the team’s scoring leaders, following closely by sophomore Jason McNeany (8-11-19) and senior Andrew Casson (9-9-18). Andrew Wissler has 17 points. Junior Paul Baker, Paul Yeomans and Vincent Zammiello form the defensive nucleus. Freshman Ryan Warren should get the call in goal.
#7 Medway (12-5-3): The Mustangs have been amongst the leaders in D2 South all season and will be right in the middle of things. Coach Chris Ross is expecting quite a battle in the bracket.
“I think the D2 South region is exceptionally strong this year,” he said. “Each team has different strengths as well which makes the playoff race even more interesting this year.”
One plus for Medway is they still have Mike Purnell in goal. The senior racked up seven more shutouts this season, giving him 23 for his career. “Mike Purnell has redefined the position of goaltender for the Medway program,” Ross said.
Juniors Andrew Diebus (11-14-25) and Jake Tomsik (7-13-20). Junior Cole Fisher and freshman Jeremy Curley have 14 points. Defensively, sophomores Dominic DiFonzo (1o pts) and Colin Curley (12 pts) have had solid seasons.
#8 Coyle Cassidy (12-7-1): The Warriors aren’t coming into the post-season on a high, having lost five straight games against strong competition. But, the playoffs are a new season.
“We would have the same message for our players if we had a five-game winning streak,” said Coyle coach Darrell Borges. “It is what it is but our next game is the most important one. We are 0-0-0 just like every other tourney team. As long as we play our game, compete hard with strong discipline, we will make a run.”
Borges will look to his seniors to guide the fortunes, tri-captains Robbie Holyoke and Cody Perry up front, with Kyle Lothrop, and tri-captain Hunter Jones on defense. Junior blue liners Cam Patota and Joe Gill should have key roles.
#9 Plymouth South (9-5-6): A late season five-game winning streak had a big role in the Panthers qualifying for the tournament once again.
Seniors C.J. Gustafson and George Thurston, along with sophomore Sean Colbert, will be offensive leaders for coach Mike McCosh.
#10 Scituate (12-8-1): Things looked bleak in the early-going for the Sailors, who proceeded to go on a 10-2-1 streak to qualify for the tournament and get the tenth seed.
Senior David Sheehan in goal will be key for Scituate, along with junior defenseman Cam Francis and forward Mike Norton.
#11 Taunton (13-9-1): It is the first tournament appearance in a long time for the Tigers, who pumped home 106 goals during the regular season.
Leading that barrage was senior forward Tyler Pietrzyk (26-27-53). Junior Zack Albert (29 pts) and sophomore Jakob Roberts (19 pts) chipped in as well. Junior defenseman Mike Volkmann (4-23-27) senior David Perry (3-11-14) and Nick Terry (6-9-15) got involved offensively as well. Three goalies saw action during the regular season.
#12 Oliver Ames (10-9-1): The Tigers had to replace 14 seniors that moved on, yet still had enough to make the post-season. Seven freshmen dot the roster, and most made contributions.
“We need to stay focused on the little things that make the difference in a game, win battles and make good decisions offensively and defensively,” said coach Mark Homer. We need to be consistent for all three periods and in all three zones.”
Sophomore Owen Gallagher (9-17-26) has blossomed into a serious scoring threat. Senior Matt Mancini (15-9-24) and sophomore Eric LeBlanc (5-12-17) join Gallagher as offensive leaders. Freshmen Max Ward (9-3-12) and Cullen Gallagher (6-7-13) can chip in. On defense, junior Jared Costello (8 pts) will be key. Sophomore Zack Walsh will be in goal.
#13 North Quincy (10-9-1): The Red Raiders have a tall task facing defending state champion Westwood in the first round, but they are a team not to count out.
“I know the boys are ready for this challenge and I know playing in the Patriot League all season really helps them prepare for this moment,” said coach Matt Gibbons.
Leading the way for NQ will be senior captains Kevin Mock (14-12-26) and Tim Glynn (6-13-19), and juniors Hunter Phillips (7-14-21) and Austin Lee (8-10-18) up front, and senior captaind Matt McDonald (8-10-18) on the back end.
#14 Sandwich (7-8-5): The Blue Knights qualified at the very end of the regular season and hope to give Canton a battle in a first round battle.
Senior Matt Brooks (15-7-22) is the team’s leading scorer. Sophomore Cole Tobin (14 pts) and senior Brady Doherty (13 pts) are right behind. Senior Craig Hatfield will be in goal for Sandwich.
#15 Quincy (9-10-2): By virtue of their second place finish in the Patriot League Keenan Division, the Presidents are in the post-season and look ahead to a first round date with Bishop Feehan.
Junior Pat Quirk (7-10-17), Dan O’Leary (3-11-14) and junior James O’Leary provided the bulk of the offense for coach Ted Walsh. Captian Owen Lynch and Griffin Lynch are key blue liners. Senior captain Chris Connelly gets the call in goal
#16 Dedham (5-13-1): The Marauders may be the final seed with a sub-.500 record but they can’t be overlooked, having played the vast majority of their games against D1 clubs.
“We will need our leaders to step up and have big games,” said Dedham coach Joe Huff. “Our guys that have been producing for us need to continue producing in the post-season.
Forwards looking to produce are senior Robbie Chiozzi (16 pts). Steve McDonagh and Ben Dean. Senior defenseman Tommy McCarthy is a key player, as he also scored 16 points.