Mass. HS Boys Hockey – Division 4 Top 10: Norwell New No. 1 As Early Results Scuttle Rankings

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 D4 Top 10

RankTeam*PRWLT
1Norwell3300
2Sandwich1311
3Nantucket5220
4Stoneham4030
5Winthrop2020
6Shawsheen8300
7Fitchburg/Monty Tech9200
8WatertownNR130
9AshlandNR220
10Latin Academy10211
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Entering the 2021-22 season, expanding the Hockey Night in Boston rankings to the new Division 4 figured to be a challenge. Not only were there going to be comparisons of programs that never before had skated at the same level, but some of those teams were going to be facing widely different competition.

Two weeks into the season, nothing has changed that assessment, but a lot has changed in the rankings.

Norwell is no stranger to HNIB rankings, and the Clippers move up to No. 1 after sweeping past Hopkinton, Abington and North Quincy by a combined 21-1 score.

It was tough moving Sandwich down a spot to No. 2 – after all, the Blue Knights tied Marlboro and lost to Hanover, a pair of D3 powers.

And what to do with Nantucket? The Whalers beat Dennis-Yarmouth and Martha’s Vineyard, but lost twice to Sandwich. And few teams made a big argument to move up, so the Whalers actually climb to No. 3.

That’s because a pair of teams HNIB expected – or expects – to be serious D4 contenders, have stumbled out of the gate. No. 4 Stoneham is 0-3, but all three losses were to D1 powers in the Middlesex League (Belmont, Woburn, Winchester). The guess here is the Spartans are in for a market correction, and soon.

The same is true for No. 5 Winthrop, which has losses to Danvers and Lynnfield, both in the D3 rankings.

No. 6 Shawsheen is up a couple of spots after a 3-0 start, wins over Methuen, Minuteman and Rockport.

No. 7 Fitchburg/Monty Tech took care of St. Bernard’s and Oakmont so far in its 2-0 start.

The same principles for Stoneham and Winthrop also applies to No. 8 Watertown. The Raiders also have struggled against Middlesex Liberty competition, but had little trouble with Everett/Revere in its most recent game.

No. 9 Ashland nearly cracked the preseason list, and while the Clockers are 2-2, both losses are to D2 teams, including a 4-2 effort against unbeaten Norwood.Latin Academy holds on to the No. 10 spot, and the Dragons could be there for a bit – they are off the ice until at least Jan. 12.

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