Massachusetts Division 2 Poll
*poll updated 12/28/14
Teams to Watch: North Attleboro, Milford
In the pre-season, Westwood coach Mike Welby intimated that his club had the potential to be very good, and would be right there with Medfield and Medway in the Tri-Valley League race.
As we head into New Year’s, the Wolverines stand at a perfect (5-0-0), a record which already includes wins over both Medfield and Medway, and a recent 5-2 conquest of D2 South power Canton.
Westwood moves all the way up to #3 in the latest HNIB News Mass. Division II poll.
A huge key to date has been the play of senior goaltender Chris Dyson.
“Chris has been with the program for the past few years and has patiently waited for his opportunity which has come thsi year and he’s making the most of it so far this season,” Welby said. “He’s had plenty of support from his defensive corps in front of him, too, which has helped Chris get acclimated more quickly.”
In conjunction with Dyson’s play has been the overall defensive zone play, including the forward lines. The team is minimizing scoring opportunities and taking away shooting lanes.
“Every player has been willing to get down and block shots,” Welby said. “Guys like Chris Eldridge, Mike Riley, Joe Reissfelder, Owen Foxx and Sam Murphy in particular have done good at sacrificing the body to block shots.
The Wolverines play Division 3 foe Shawsheen on Tuesday, then have a hiatus until January 10th, when they host defending Division II state champion Beverly.
“The kids realize that in order to keep things going we need to put the time and effort in all facets – practice, games, preparation, etc. – and continue to make the other sacrifices off ice in regards to discipline,” Welby said. “Although everyone is happy with our start, we all realize that we haven’t won anything yet, and in order to do so, we need to continue to work hard and be committed to improving at practice and at games.
“It has been a fun start to the season.”
Even though they both lost to Division I teams this past week, the MVC/Dual County II’s Tewksbury (4-1-0) and Lincoln Sudbury (4-1-0) will hold down the #1 and #2 spots in this latest poll.
The Redmen were impressive with wins at the Maine HS Invitational over Gorham (4-2) and Portland (10-0). And Colin Quinn registered six goals in an 8-4 win over North Andover. Up next is Concord-Carlisle (Jan. 3) and Bedford (Jan. 7).
The Warriors came out on the short end of a 3-2 loss to improved Waltham. Goalie Derek Ashe has been impressive to date, as has defenseman Ryan Dale. L-S takes on Norwell (12/30), North Andover (1/3) and Wayland (1/7).
#4 Winthrop (3-0-1) has allowed just two goals all season, a testament to their defensive play and the play of veteran senior goalie Ray Feeley. The Vikings head to the Kasubuski Classic, where they draw Melrose on Monday, and either Peabody or North Reading on Tuesday.
#5 Medfield came up short against Westwood, but the Warriors appear ready to go on a streak. They have a couple of Rhode Island foes (Monday/Tuesday) in D1’s Barrington and Burrillville.
Canton (2-2-0) drops a few slugs to #6 after losses to Franklin and Westwood, but expect them to rebound in a hurry. The Bulldogs did roll past Beverly, 7-3, in a non-league affair. Mansfield is next up on January 3rd.
#7 Peabody‘s (1-1-1) only loss was to Lincoln-Sudbury in a close game, and they tied Winthrop, who they may meet again in the Kasasbuski Classic, where their first round opponent is North Reading.
#8 Medway has a loss to Westwood, but has won its other two starts. Like rival Medfield, they are in Rhode Island as well, battling Cumberland (Monday) and Barrington (Wednesday).
Another unbeaten team is #9 Coyle-Cassidy (4-0-0). Tuesday the Warriors host Taunton, and then on Saturday have D1 opponent Needham.
Plymouth North (4-0-0) is also unbeaten, coming off a solid 4-0 conquest of Bishop Feehan. New head coach Tim Drew has his club playing well.
Rounding out the first in-season Top 15 are #11 North Reading (2-1-0), #12 Beverly (3-2-0), #13 Masconomet (2-2-0), #14 Oliver Ames (1-1-1) and #15 Boston Latin.
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