The 29th annual Massachusetts Division 1A Tournament gets under way Monday night with two play-in games at The Chelmsford Forum. Patriot League Keenan Division champion Duxbury meets Xaverian of the Catholic Conference at 5 p.m. while St. Mary’s of the Catholic Central Large meets Atlantic Coast kingpin Marshfield at 7.
Duxbury defeated play-in opponent Xaverian, 2-0, on Jan. 26. Marshfield and St. Mary’s did not meet during the regular season.
Play-in winners advance to the double elimination1A Tournament, which gets under way on Sunday, March 3 at Tsongas Arena in Lowell. Monday’s play-in losers return to their respective Sectional tournaments as top seeds. Here’s a look at the four play-in selections, seeded by winning percentage by the Tournament Selection Committee:
The No. 7 Green Dragons boast a luxury most teams don’t have – two standout tournament tested goaltenders in senior captain Nate Romanelli and junior Steve Pisani. They have split time all season with neither playing more than two games in a row. Duxbury led the division in wins (18), ranked sixth in goals allowed (28) and owned a plus-42 differential.
Senior captain Jack Venturelli, senior Jon Campbell and juniors Ben Luscko and Nick Demio are key defensemen for coach John Blake. The forward group features senior captain Jake Brennan, senior James Lawlor, juniors Zach Stewart, Ben Cheney, Friend Weiler, Tanner Smith and Drake Hadley, and sophomore Will Nolan. The Dragons had a 12-game winning streak snapped by 1A qualifier Hingham at last week’s Ferreira Classic.
St. Mary’s (16-5-1)
The Spartans are in the play-in field for the second consecutive year. This time the Catholic Central Large’s second-place club is looking to take the next step. Coach Mark Lee’s team closed the regular season with an impressive 2-2 tie against 1A second seed Pope Francis and ranked among the division’s highest-scoring teams with 77 goals (plus-44 differential).
Junior goalie Joe Purtell has put together memorable campaign with a 1.50 gaa and .936 save pct. to go along with six shutouts. Freshman Davis Kinne (10-9-19) has been a revelation on defense, joined by senior captain Kyle Ouellette (3-9-12) and junior Alex Nazarian on back line protection detail. The forward unit features senior captain Colin Reddy (17-9-26), senior captain Nick Napolitano (12-10-22), sophomore Colby Magliozzi (6-10-16), senior Damon Maribito (5-11-16) and sophomore Brady Carpenter (8-5-13).
The Atlantic Coast Conference champion Rams outscored their league opponents by a silly 42-2 count on the way to allowing the fewest goals (23) in Division One this season. Senior goalie Jack Gatie (1.34 gaa, .929 save pct., 5 SO) anchors the Rams’ all-in defensive approach. Senior Kevin Buckley (3-8-11), junior Jon Jordan (4-7-11) and junior Charlie Kolar (2-10-12) lead the defense.
While no player has scored more than 12 goals for coach Dan Connolly’s club, 16 have scored one or more. Seniors Paul Rorke (12-10-22), Sean Kennedy (6-12-18) and James Kolar (6-4-10); juniors Tim Doyle (8-8-16), Kevin Moriarty (7-5-12) and Max Burum (6-5-11); and sophomore Jake Mastrangelo (7-8-15) provide plenty of options up front.
The Hawks claimed second place in the Catholic Conference and are chasing their first-ever state title in hockey. They will lean heavily on senior goalie James Herring, who logged the bulk of the time and compiled a 2.20 gaa/.912 save pct./2 SO slash line. Senior AJ Scott is a proven back-up. Seniors Matt Joyce (10 points) and Doug Concannon and sophomores Shane Spinale, Andrew Barton and Trevor Connolly form the core on defense.
Coach Dave Spinale’s club showcases one of the division’s highest-scoring trio of forwards in senior Josh Barton (17-20-37) and juniors Matty Ryan (13-20-33) and Ryan Pomposelli (11-16-27), who account for about two-thirds of the offense. Senior John Joyce (6-6-12), junior Eric Wainwright (8-4-12), sophomore Robbie Barletta (15 points) and freshman Jack Silva (4-7-11) add to the mix.