Massachusetts Division 1 North Preview: 10-team field is stacked

Kevin Doyle
Kevin Doyle
Kevin joined HNIB in 1990 and is a Senior Writer and Director of the Northern New England and Mass/R.I. High School Division camps. A veteran editor/writer of 40 years in the print and digital mediums, he has edited and produced original content and coordinated production for local and global publications and websites. He holds degrees from Merrimack College and Boston University and won multiple industry awards as Sports Editor of The Daily News of Newburyport and News Editor of The Amesbury News. He is the 2016 recipient of the North Shore Lifetime Commitment From the Community award presented by Moynihan Lumber and a 2017 Newburyport High School Wall of Fame inductee. He resides with his family in Portsmouth, NH. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @kdoyle40

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The winner of this Sectional will have to run the gauntlet in order to advance to Championship Sunday on March 18. The field includes defeated 1A play-in teams Arlington, the 2017 D1A champion, and St. Mary’s, the 2017 D1 champion along with Watch List teams Waltham, Newburyport and Austin Prep.

A look at the field by seed:

#1 ARLINGTON (12-6-4)

The defending 1A champion and Middlesex League Liberty Division Spy Ponders return to the North Sectional as the No. 1 seed after their 3-0 1A play-in loss to Pope Francis. Arlington only ventured outside of the league six times and met with mixed success, compiling a 1-3-2 mark in those games.

[one_fifth]
Jack Pinard
Arlington
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Jack Simon
Arlington
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Anthony Messuri
Arlington
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Dara Conneely
Arlington
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Drew Malatesta
Arlington
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Senior goaltender Jack Pinard came up big during last year’s title run and hopes to duplicate that performance as the Ponders re-focus on the Division 1 chase. Junior Jack Simon is the focal point of a defense that has yielded just 38 goals. Top forwards junior Dara Conneely, senior Cully Curran and sophomores Anthony Messuri and Drew Malatesta all played key roles in last year’s championship run.

Anthony Bono
St. Mary’s

#2 ST. MARY’S (12-7-4)

The 2017 D1 State champions return to the Sectional to defend their crown after falling to St. John’s (S), 3-0, in a play-in game. The Spartans registered a couple of high-profile wins during the season, knocking off 1A qualifiers Hingham (5-3) and B.C. High (3-2).

Kyle Ouellette
St. Mary’s

Senior Anthony Bono (12-15-27) and junior Nick Napolitano (11-11-22) lead the offense while junior Damon Maribito (7-8-15) and freshmen Jaiden Moriello (8-7-15) and Brady Carpenter (5-4-9) provide secondary scoring. Eighth-grader Davis Kinne (5-14-19) emerged as a force on the back line. Senior Nico Scalli and junior Kyle Ouellette are tested veterans. Senior Kevin McMullen (2.35 GAA, .912 Save Pct.) got the bulk of the work in goal with junior Joe Purtell (1.98/.915) providing a reliable option.

#3 NEWBURYPORT (12-3-6)

The Cape Ann League champion Clippers return to post-season play after a one-year absence and hope to benefit from a rigorous non-league schedule that saw them take 3-of-4 points from 1A qualifier St. Mary’s and also shut out Winchester, 1-0. Two of their three losses were to 1A qualifiers St. John’s Prep and Andover.

Cole Spence
Newburyport

They will lean on senior goalie Ken Hodge (1.97 GAA, 4 SOs), a four-year starter. Junior Jacob Grossi-Hogg (11-13-24) leads a balanced offense that includes seniors Matt Babcock (8-12-20), Owen Bradbury (9-11-20), Ethan Coir (5-8-13) and Cole Spence (5-7-12) and juniors Pat Leary (8-8-16) and Cade Beauparlant (12 points). Seniors Matt Donlan and Dylan Rogers, junior Thomas Greene and sophomore Declan Sullivan are key defensemen.

#4 WALTHAM (14-5-2)

The Hawks accomplished the one thing no other team was able to during the regular season – defeat 1A favorite Central Catholic, 1-0. It was one of senior goalie Kyle Penton’s six shutouts on the season, to go along with his sparkling 1.41 GAA and .937 save pct. The Hawks also tied 1A qualifier Andover, 1-1.

Gerard Jelloe
Waltham

Sophomore Connor Blanchard (15-13-28) and senior Andrew Miller (12-10-22) emerged as the catalysts on offense. Seniors Declan Reynolds (9-6-15), Luc Dallaire (4-11-15) and Brian Pescatore (12 points) and junior J.T. Logue (8-4-12) are key contributors. Senior captain Gerard Jelloe (3-15-18), sophomore Nic Dallaire (3-7-10) and junior Mike Burke form the core of a defense that yielded just 32 goals.

Jack Lonergan
Medford

#5 MEDFORD (12-4-4)

The senior-heavy Mustangs are the only D1 team in the Northeastern Conference and completed their first season in the league running second behind NEC North champion Danvers.

Their only competition against D1 teams came in the season-ending Cahoon Cup where they tied Framingham, 2-2, and defeated Chelmsford, 3-0. Senior captain Jack Lonergan is an All-League selection. Seniors Harry and Dave Welch have been key performers at forward along with Cole Brennan. Senior captain Gino DeSimone and junior Mike Nestor are staples on a defense that allowed just 29 goals. Senior Will Chouinard mans the goal.

#6 AUSTIN PREP (13-7-1)

The Catholic Central Large champs rolled to a 9-1-0 league record, splitting with 1A qualifier St. Mary’s, but weren’t as successful tackling their usual top-shelf non-league slate. Six of their losses came to 1A participants Pope Francis, St. John’s (S), Central Catholic, Arlington, St. John’s Prep and BC High.

[one_third]
J.J. Harding
Austin Prep
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Alex Maffeo
Austin Prep
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Richard Lyons
Austin Prep
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The offense features an array of skilled forwards, including senior captains Alex Maffeo (11-14-25) and J.J. Harding (11-6-17), senior Richard Lyons (7-15-22) along with junior captain Nick Cafarelli (14-13-27) and junior Kevin Urquhart (8-15-23). Senior captain Max Pineo (11 points), senior Jake Thain (10 points), junior Evan Rago (11 points) and sophomore Will Cohen form the core of the defense. Junior Robbie Farrell (2.26 GAA) mans the goal.

Luke Mix
Winchester

#7 WINCHESTER (12-7-2)

The Middlesex League’s Liberty Division runner-up put together its second straight strong season under Hall of Fame coach Bill Burns. Along the way they shut out South qualifier Xaverian, 3-0, and tied league champion Arlington, 3-3.

Senior captain Jim Kiley (16-19-35) and junior Mike Drew (18-14-32) lead the Sachems’ potent attack. Senior captain Robbie Falso (6-15-21), sophomore Ryan McCarthy (8-7-15) and junior Nolan Butler (6-4-10) have been steady contributors. Freshman goaltender Robert DiVincenzo (1.47 GAA, .941 Save Pct., 7 SOs) has been spectacular. Senior captain Ian Wilson, senior Mark Vaughn, junior Luke Mix and sophomore Mike Martignetti anchor the defense.

#8 BELMONT (10-6-5)

The Marauders finished fourth in the Middlesex Liberty and fared well in limited non-league play. They tied Maine Class A power Lewiston, 2-2, tied South qualifier Catholic Memorial, 1-1, and closed the season with a 3-1 win against South qualifier Braintree.

Seniors have shown the way. AC Steve Rizzuto (18-9-27), captain Connor Dacey (10-15-25), senior Will Domeniconi (18 points) and freshman Ben Fici (9 goals) are the top forwards. Senior goalie Kevin Dacey (1.31 GAA, .953 Save Pct., 4 SOs) has excelled. Senior captain Ben Brody and seniors Dante Cataldo and Nolan Duffy are the core of a lockdown defense.

Darwin Anderson
Melrose

#9 MELROSE (11-8-1)

The Raiders finished third in the Middlesex Freedom race. The forward unit features seniors Shea Champagne, Darwin Anderson and Matt Campagna, sophomores Cam Marks and Andrew Calvert and freshman Brendan Fennell. Senior Charlie Femino and juniors Liam Crovo and Adam Bain are experienced defensemen in front of junior goalie Mark Dewling.

#10 READING (10-9-2)

The Rockets are the fifth of the Middlesex League teams in the draw. After opening the season with a four-game winning streak, they struggled to maintain consistency. They did go 3-1-1 in their last five.

Junior captain Michael Tobin (14-12-26) is the most productive forward. Junior Brendan Donovan (6-11-17), sophomore Sean Barbera (7-9-16) and senior Ryan Gallagher (3-9-12) have been solid. The defense features senior Jack Giuliotti, junior Mike Miele and sophomores Matt Fiorenza (5-5-10) and Matt Gallagher (nine points). Senior goalie Matt Coughlin (2.17 GAA, .915 Save Pct., 4 SOs) gives the Rockets a chance to win every night.

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