Mass. HS Boys Hockey: Division 2 Pre-Season Top 10: Tewksbury Starts On Top, Ex-D1 Teams Will Change Landscape

Jim Clark
Jim Clark
Jim Clark joined Hockey Night in Boston in December 2019, and has covered high school hockey in Massachusetts for more than three decades. He also covers high school hockey and is a multiplatform editor for the Boston Globe, and previously spent two decades as high school hockey reporter at the Boston Herald, where he also served as the high schools editor from 2000-06. Clark was honored by the Mass. State Hockey Coaches Association with its William Stewart Award for contributions to the sport in May 2019, and also received the Joel Perlmutter Award for media coverage in 2006. A graduate of UMass, he also spent eight years as sports editor/reporter at the Sentinel & Enterprise in Fitchburg, and has extensively covered high school hockey in Central and Western Mass. as well as Connecticut.

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Massachusetts Boys D2 Top 10

RankTeam*PRWLT
1Tewksbury820
2Norwood730
3Walpole532
4Canton1101
5Newburyport1011
6Masconomet921
7Gloucester630
8Mansfield560
9Longmeadow1001
10Dartmouth731

Division 2 in Massachusetts boys hockey takes on a significantly different look this season with the introduction of the new statewide tournament format. Not only are there some traditional public powers that have dropped down from Division 1, but mixing in schools from Central and Western Mass. will make things interesting for the Hockey Night in Boston News rankings throughout the season.

One thing that hasn’t changed is that Tewksbury remains a D2 power. The Redmen finished last year’s abbreviated season at No. 3, but many coaches expect them to be the team to beat out of the gate – and with that, they start the season as HNIB’s No. 1 squad.

Norwood already has gotten off to a strong start, winning its division in the season-opening Jim Gormley Cup, and the Mustangs check in at No. 2.

Right next door off Route 1, Walpole starts the season at No. 3. How the former Division 1 teams acclimate themselves in their new surroundings will be one of the things to watch all season, and when last we saw the Timberwolves in the postseason two years ago, Ron Dowd’s squad was named D1 co-state champion.

Last year’s No. 1 team to finish the season, Canton, starts the new year at No. 4. The Bulldogs entered the season still with only one loss overall over a span of three seasons, and while they’ve lost a lot of firepower, they still should be one of the best in the Hockomock.

Newburyport is another former D1 team, but the Clippers certainly have experience in D2, splitting back-to-back state finals in 2009 and ’10. Moving back down after winning the Cape Ann League, the Clippers should be strong again.

A pair of Northeastern Conference contenders take the next two spots. No. 6 Masconomet and No. 7 Gloucester could jockey for position all season, but the teams don’t meet on the ice until early January.

No. 8 Mansfield also moves down from D1, and Hornets coach Mike Balzarini returns a veteran squad with his top two lines, three defensemen and starting goalie back to battle in the Hockomock.

As mentioned before, how will Western and Central Mass. fit in the picture? We will see with No. 9 Longmeadow, the 2020 D3 co-champion which already has ventured east for the Jim Gormley Cup and has a handful of other games outside the Pioneer Valley.

No. 10 Dartmouth moves up from D3, where the Indians have been one of the stronger programs in recent seasons and have an experienced team to attack an independent schedule.

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