Massachusetts Girls Division 1 Poll
* Updated 1/19/14
Sure the Beverly/Danvers girls hockey team had been very impressive this season with its powerful offensive attack. But, some could say that the Panther hadn’t played any top-echelon clubs on its schedule and wanted to see them against the iron.
Saturday, they got their chances, travelling to Lynn to take on St. Mary’s for the first time in the program’s history. If anybody didn’t believe in Beverly/Danvers (9-0-0) before, they should now, as they went into hostile territory and defeated St. Mary’s 3-2. Eighth-grader Julia Nearis, the state’s leading scorer, had all three goals.
The win moves the Panthers up to the #7 spot in the latest HNIB News Mass. D-1 Girls Top Ten.
“Whenever you can get a win over the top program in women’s hockey, that is huge,” said Beverly/Danvers coach Brian Seabury. “We still need to improve, but it is big for our confidence. We had outstanding efforts from so many players. What a great team win. All of our players have put the work in and its nice to see them get rewarded.”
With her three goals, Nearis now has a 29-18-47 line in just nine games. “Julia is a terrific goal scorer, which is a luxury to have,” Seabury said.
There is no rest for Beverly/Danvers, who travel to Andover for a Monday night game (7:30pm). Both team will honor the memory of Colleen Ritzer, the sister of Andover player Laura Ritzer and an admired teacher at Danvers HS. In support of her legacy and passion for teaching, all proceeds, including a 50/50 raffle, will go to the Colleen Ritzer Memorial Scholarship Fund.
Beverly/Danvers hosts Lexington on Wednesday, and then next Monday, January 27th travel south to take on #1 Duxbury in a huge contest at The Bog (3:40pm).
Duxbury (7-0-1) continues with the top ranking. The Dragons blanked Canton, 3-0, on Saturday for their third consecutive shutout. Duxbury will have an interesting week traversing some Division II powers, starting with #3 Westwood on Monday (3:40pm, The Bog) and then travelling to #1 Falmouth on Wednesday (7:00 pm) for the first of two games with the Clippers. On Saturday, Duxbury takes on #6 Whitman-Hanson/Pembroke (5:50pm, The Bog).
Reading (8-1-2) moves into the #2 spot. The Rockets were very impressive in a 3-0 vanquishing of Woburn this past Wednesday to take control of the Middlesex League Liberty Division. They also knocked Watertown/Belmont from the ranks of the unbeaten on Saturday, rallying from a 2-0 deficit to post a key 4-2 win. Reading has a huge ballgame Monday hosting team nemesis Acton-Boxboro (3pm, Burbank Arena).
Speaking of Acton-Boxboro (7-1-0), the Colonials inch up to #3. A win over the Rockets could really send them on a run. On Wednesday, A-B has an intriguing non-league matchup, hosting four-time defending New Hampshire state champion Hanover (7;30pm). The Colonials have outscored their opposition by a 42-13 margin this year.
Quietly, #4 Austin Prep (6-1-1) has been slowly moving up the polls. The Cougars had two impressive wins this week, blanking Winchester, 5-0, and downing Hingham, 4-1. They have allowed only six goals all season. They get set to battle league rival Archbishop Williams on Monday (11am, Stoneham Arena).
#5 Arlington Catholic (7-2-1) appears to have righted itself as the Cougars posted a pair of shutouts, including a big 3-0 win on the road over rival St. Mary’s. AC also strong-armed Fontbonne, 4-0. The week ahead sees in-town rival Arlington on Monday (4:00pm), and home games with Notre Dame of Hingham (6:00pm) Wednesday and Andover (8:00pm) on Saturday.
Woburn (8-2-0) drops down to #6 after losing to Reading, and then slipping past Stoneham, 3-2. The Tanners travel to Billerica on Monday (7:10pm) and need to be ready for that one, then are off until Saturday when they play host to a good Watertown/Belmont squad.
#8 St. Mary’s (6-2-2) fell back to earth this week with those back-to-back losses to Arlington Catholic and Beverly/Danvers. But never count out the Lady Spartans. They have a three-game week, starting with Lexington Monday (1:00pm, The Edge Sports Center), Fontbonne on Thursday (4:00pm, Shea Rink) and at Winthrop/Lynn Saturday (6:30pm).
#9 Barnstable (4-1-3) has a key clash Monday with Division II’s top club – Falmouth (7:00pm) after battling Dennis-Yarmouth Sunday night. The Red Raiders also host Sandwich (Wednesday) and Notre Dame of Hingham (Saturday) thsi this week.
Big game this week for #10 Andover (6-2-1) include the Monday battle with Beverly/Danvers and Saturday’s clash with Arlington Catholic.