Massachusetts Division 2 Boys Poll
Top-ranked Beverly (7-0-0) is coming off a championship in the Cape Ann Savings Bank Tournament, where the Panthers defeated Marblehead, 6-4, in the title game. It certainly wasn’t easy, as Beverly needed to rally from a three-goal deficit to post the win.
Graham Doherty scored the game-winner with 1:32 left in regulation, and defenseman Nick Albano, whose earlier goal tied the game, sealed matters with an empty net goal.
“I told the boys that we had plenty of hockey left to play. They need to keep their composure and do not panic,” said Beverly coach Bob Gilligan after his team fell behind 3-0. “We had a quicker forecheck and tightened up more in our own end.”
The Panthers were set to host Canton tonight in a tough non-leaguer and then have a rematch Saturday with the same Marblehead club. Connor Irving leads the attack with 13 points (7-6), while Albano has a 1-11-12 line.
“We are very happy with our record, but we know we have a bullseye on our back,” Gilligan said. “We have to stay focused and hungry for every game. We can play a lot better in all phases, especially the power play. We need to be more disciplined in our end. I am a stickler for defensive coverage.”
#2 Tewksbury (4-1-1) had a solid showing at a Christmas Tournament in Maine, going 2-0-1 overall. The Redmen did fall to North Andover, but own a solid win over Division I Chelmsford. Ryan Petti has been key up front for Tewksbury, which visits Concord-Carlisle this Saturday.
#3 Oliver Ames (2-0-1) has been off since a 3-3 tie with Canton back on December 21st. And, the Tigers don’t get back into action until January 4th, when they play King Philip, coach Mark Homer’s old club.
Lincoln-Sudbury (4-1-1) moves into the #4 spot. L-S is coming off a nice win over Franklin and a tie with Division I Waltham. Tomorrow, they battle league foe Boston Latin on the Fenway Park ice (10:15am), then host Acton-Boxboro on Wednesday.
Marblehead vaults all the way to #5. The Headers gave top-ranked Beverly all it could handle, and also has beaten Danvers and Gloucester. Matt Koopman has been a key forward and Liam Gillis leads the blue line. Marblehead was to host Nantucket today before the rematch with Beverly on Saturday.
Canton (0-1-1) has yet to win this season, but has played just two games, losing to Franklin and tying Oliver Ames. The Bulldogs get to tangle with Beverly tonight and then travel to Medway for a New Year’s Day tilt.
#7 Amesbury (3-0-1) took home the title at the Hillies Christmas Tournament, knocking off Stoneham in the final. Right behind is Cape Ann League rival Masconomet (3-1-1) at #8. The two teams face off on Wednesday, January 8th at the Valley Forum in Haverhill.
#9 Martha’s Vineyard (3-1-0) took a Christmas Week trip to New Hampshire that started with a pair of wins, including one over NH Division I pre-season #1 St. Thomas Aquinas. They were to face a third Granite State opponent this afternoon.
#10 North Reading is off to an impressive 4-0-1 start, having allowed only eight goals in those five games.
GAMES TO WATCH
Wednesday, January 1
Acton-Boxboro at Lincoln-Sudbury, 4:10pm
Saturday, January 4
Beverly at Marblehead, 6:00pm
Tewksbury at Concord-Carlisle, 7:30pm
Wednesday, January 8
Amesbury at Masconomet, 7:50pm
Winthrop at Beverly, 8:00pm