Eastern Massachusetts Division 3 Boys Poll
First things first: We were wrong.
In our annual preseason poll, we put defending champion Swampscott on top. And we also had Shawsheen, traditional powerhouse in these circles, at No. 3.
And why not? The Big Blue had a Big Season last winter. First North title. First Eastern Mass. title. A well-played game — albeit a defeat – in the state finals to Westfield.
And with Shawsheen – why not move up the Rams when giants like Marblehead, Medway and Medfield departed Division 3 for the greener pastures of Division 2?
Well, December was kinda rough for each team. As of Dec. 29, Swampscott is 1-3-1, while Shawsheen began by losing three of four. So, in our first in-season poll, each of them didn’t make it.
For the top spot in this week’s poll, we’re going South to No. 1 Cohasset, where the Skippers began the season with four straight wins, outscoring their foes, 22-6. That included a 3-2 win over our No. 15 preseason team, Rockland, and a 6-3 triumph over always-tough Hanover.
Cohasset has been led by senior forward and captain Terence Doonan, who clocks in with 11 goals and six assists through seven games. Freshman forward Cole Joslin has added six goals and seven assists, while senior captain forward Colin Whalen has five goals and four assists. Liam McHugh, a sophomore, and senior Brandon Winn have split the goaltending duties.
At No. 2, we’re going with Bedford, unbeaten after four games and the last team standing in Swampscott’s path last winter in Division 3 North. They’ve beaten solid teams – Dracut, Weston, Dover-Sherborn and Lexington, and they will get a chance at revenge when they host Swampscott Dec. 30. Coach Peter Dion’s team has been led by junior captain forward Brendan Flynn (five goals) and senior forward Brennan LaGrassa (four goals).
The only other unbeaten in Division 3 as of Dec. 29 is Northeast Regional out of Wakefield, but we’re not convinced enough to give them No. 3 because of their schedule so far.
At No. 3, we’ve got Holliston, which lost to Medway in the South semifinals last year, and this year, they are looking pretty explosive with four-, five-, six- and seven-goal games. Senior forward Tyler Perry has six goals and three assists, and classmate and forward Drew Ballenger has scored five times.
At No. 4 is Hanover. We’re super impressed with the quick start after the Indians did not make the postseason last season. They had significant injuries last year, but this season through five games have 24 goals and have only allowed 13. Scoring has been balanced, led by seniors Matt McDougall (4-2-6) and Mitch Beard (3-5-8).
By virtue of its perfect 4-0-0 start, we’ll slot Northeast at No. 5. Their last two wins have been impressive – 4-3 over Everett and 7-4 over hot-starting Lynn.
Ashland comes in at No. 6 after winning four of its first five. Noah Ball’s hat trick did the trick for the team in its last victory – 5-0 over East Boston as Ashland won the Deep Freeze Tournament.
One of the early surprises of the season is No. 7 Watertown (4-1-1). Last year, the team was 10-10-2. But this season, the Red Raiders have only lost once in six games, and their only loss was a 3-2 setback to Division 1 Arlington. Watertown’s latest win was a 10-0 drubbing of St. Mary’s of Westfield.
Bishop Stang, at No. 8, has started strong. The team only had three wins last season but has won three already this winter – its only loss a 3-2 setback to Plymouth South. They have wins over Dartmouth, Greater New Bedford/Old Colony and Dennis-Yartmouth.
No. 9 Wayland and No. 10 Lynn round out our first top 10. Wayland rebounded with three straight wins after a season-opening, 6-0 loss to Matignon. It had a convincing 5-2 victory over Lowell and a 9-0 romp over Nauset.
Lynn, meanwhile, is led by Mark Brazell (7-5-12), Ryan MacDonald (2-8-10) and Tony Uva (5-1-6) and has scored 26 goals through five games. Its victories include a 6-1 win over Swampscott and a 7-1 decision over Salem.