MIAA Boys Division 2 Tournament Preview: Tewksbury, Canton Among Favorites In A Loaded Field Of Championship Contenders

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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The inaugural MIAA Division 2 boys state hockey bracket is loaded with teams that can make a run to the Garden and postseason glory. There are perennial favorites (Tewksbury, Canton), former Division 1 powers (Duxbury, Walpole), and a host of other contenders from across the state.

The action begins Wednesday as Norwood hosts Plymouth South (5 p.m., Skating Club of Boston), and Canton opens its two-time title defense against 2018 champ Plymouth South (5:30, Metropolis Rink). With only 32 teams qualifying, there are no preliminary-round games, so every team has the same five-win path to a championship.

Here is a look at each of the 32 teams, in order of seeding:

Caden Connors Tewksbury

#1 Tewksbury (17-2-0)

The Redmen have been the team in the bracket everyone has been watching since early in the season, and now they have their chance to prove their lofty aspirations from the top perch.

Jason Cooke Tewksbury

Senior defenseman and captain Caden Connors (20-22-42) was the DCL/MVC 2 Player of the Year, and is a dynamic puck-moving two-way blue liner along with junior Nick Dicioccio (5-8-13). Both players were DCL/MVC 2 All-Conference picks.

Matthew Cooke Tewksbury

Tewksbury also has plenty of firepower up front starting with senior captain Jason Cooke (16-12-28), who recently eclipsed 100 points for his career. Both he and sophomore Matthew Cooke (14-13-27) were all-conference, and the Redmen have good depth and balance at forward with seniors Sean Lane (8-18-26), Aaron Connelly (7-7-14) and Cole Stone (4-10-14), and sophomores Tyler Barnes (6-11-17) and Jeremy Insogna (7-5-12).

On top of that, Tewksbury has who coach Derek Doherty believes is the best goalie he’s had in his 20 years – junior Ben O’Keefe (1.30 GAA, 5 shutouts).

#2 Gloucester (16-4-0)

The Fishermen are undoubtedly a team everyone will be watching going into the postseason. The late win over BC High certainly opened some eyes, but Gloucester lost twice to Masconomet in overtime and had another OT defeat against Woburn (which they avenged in the final week of the season).

Jack Costanzo Gloucester

Few teams can match their firepower, as Gloucester’s 115 goals scored are the second most by any team in the state. Sophomore Emerson Marshall (33-27-60) was the scoring leader, but it is all orchestrated by senior captain Jack Costanzo (23-29-52), the Northeastern Conference MVP.

Jack Delaney Gloucester

Junior Jack Delaney has played well when healthy, coach Derek Geary said, and sophomores Brett Cunningham and Colby Jewell are another pair of emerging young talents. Sophomore Nick Tarantino has emerged as the No. 1 goalie “and is playing his best hockey right now,” according to Geary.

“As we focus more and more on defensive responsibilities and faceoffs, we will become the team we know we can be,” Geary said.

#3 Canton (18-2-1)

The Bulldogs started the season 0-2-1 – losses to D1 Lincoln-Sudbury (in overtime) and Franklin – but have stayed the course and rattled off 18 consecutive wins. Included in that stretch was the Walter Brinn Division championship of the Ed Burns Coffee Pot Hockey Classic.

Needless to say, once again coach Brian Shuman’s team is playing its best entering March.

Balanced scoring has been key, with an incredible 16 players notching double-digit points. Sophomore Brendan Tourgee (11-10-21), junior AJ Thomas (15-6-21) and senior Brennan Pecararo (5-15-20) top the list, followed by seniors Eamon Kelly (10-9-19) and Andrew Valkanas (5-10-15), sophomore Brian Middleton (9-4-13), seniors Tommy Phaneuf (6-6-12) and Sam Carlino (6-5-11), sophomore Colin Blake (4-6-10), junior Jeff Chaput (2-8-10), and seniors Billy DeLello (6-4-10) and Eddie Gillis (2-8-10).

Defensively the Bulldogs have been just as stout with seniors Sean Connolly (3-10-13), Jay Kelleher (0-10-10) and Ryan Doucette (0-10-10), and junior James Young (0-10-10). Freshman Colin Davis has emerged in goal.

#4 Masconomet (16-4-0)

Masco navigated what coach Andrew Jackson calls “our most challenging schedule we’ve ever had” by finishing atop the Northeastern Conference.

Sophomore AJ Sacco (19-20-39), an NEC All-Conference selection, has been the driving force of the offense, while fellow all-NEC pick senior Nick Santangelo has been a standout in goal.

Richie Guarino Masconomet

The defensive effort has been led by senior Matt McMillan (4-12-16) and senior defenseman/forward Chris O’Grady (4-13-17). Both were NEC All-Stars along with junior forward Michael Bevilacqua (9-11-20), who has sparked the offense along with a pair of honorable mention picks – senior center Richie Guarino (9-7-16) and senior wing Josh Brann (8-7-15).

Senior Nick Mastrangelo (2.44 GAA) has had a strong season between the pipes.

#5 Duxbury (11-9-2)

The Dragons program certainly has plenty of tournament history, and now they will be looking to start a new chapter in veteran coach Mike Flaherty’s first season behind the bench.

It helps to have solid junior goalie Sam Mazanec (2.06 GAA) as the last line of defense. Junior Aidan Harrington (12-9-21) has been a complete 200-foot player, according to Flaherty, and the Dragons also have been bolstered by hard-working senior forward Brady Glass.

Junior defenseman Brendan Bonner is coming off a strong performance in the Buddy Ferreira Classic and has been a top blueliner along with sophomore Michael Hussey.

Colin Birch

“When we compete at a high level we have been really good,” Flaherty said. “We played a really tough schedule so we think we are ready for the grind ahead of us.”

#6 Walpole (11-7-2)

The Timberwolves hardly can be considered a sleeper as a top eight seed, but coming out of the tough Bay State Conference against mostly D1 opponents – plus their history with the run to the D1 South championship two years ago – coach Ron Dowd’s team certainly can’t be overlooked.

Declan Hunter Walpole

Senior defensemen and captains Colin Birch and Jack Walsh have led what is always a stout defensive system for Walpole. David Pacella emerged among three seniors as the regular starter in goal.

Jason Finkelstein Walpole

The Timberwolves will look to supplement that with a balanced offense led by senior captain Declan Hunter, as well as juniors Jason Finkelstein, Joe Cox and Eddie Jackson.

#7 Norwood (17-2-1)

The Mustangs and veteran coach Chuck Allen figure to be a tough draw for anyone in their path – they already have a win against Walpole, and their only losses came in back-to-back games (Medway, Milton) in mid-January. They’ve gone 12-0-1 since.

Myles Kidd Norwood

Senior captain George Tolman and alternate captain Kyle Leger lead a strong defense in front of solid senior goalie Ethan Barrows. Sophomore Eddy Carroll and freshman Anthony Riccardi also patrol the blue line.

Norwood has been driven offensively by a solid top line of senior captain Myles Kidd, alternate captain Bryan Metayer, and freshman Tom Martin. Seniors Jack Curran, Jonathan Desmarais and Dan DiBlasi, and juniors Kevin Broderick, Conor Lydon and Sean Dittmeier are other forwards to watch.

#8 Newton South (12-6-2)

The Lions got red-hot down the stretch, going 7-0-2 in their final nine games, with the two ties against D1 opponents Waltham and Wellesley.

Ryan Quirk
Newton South

Junior Dylan Zukowski has been a big part of that for coach Chris Ryberg, posting a 1.94 GAA and .924 save percentage with seven shutouts. Zukowski has been supported by a steady group of defensemen.

Nathan Cohen Newton South

Ryberg also likes the play of his top six forwards. Seniors Ryan Quirk (11-20-31) and Nathan Cohen (11-13-24) play different styles, which Ryberg says is a tough matchup for opponents.

“Our strength is definitely up front,” Ryberg said. “We feel we have two first lines, team speed and a power play that is rounding into form.”

#9 Silver Lake (16-5-0)

On the 50th anniversary of the program, the Lakers matched the most wins since the split with Pembroke more than 15 years ago, but they would like to continue to add to that total now that the playoffs have arrived.

Senior defenseman Aiden Dunphy (7-28-35) has driven both the offensive and defensive efforts for coach Dan Scott, while the offensive lines has been sparked by senior captains Mark Kelleher (20-9-29) and Sam Dilley (9-15-24), as well as senior alternate captain Brett Evans (13-10-23). Senior Gavin Sampson (7-5-12) also has provided some scoring touch.

Senior Peter Bond (2.21 GAA), a four-year starter, has carried the team all season from his goaltending position.

#10 Newburyport (11-7-2)

The Clippers are a young team with only three seniors, but one has been the clear leader of the team. Senior captain Jon Groth (15-26-41) “has been outstanding leading the way all season, both on the scoresheet and with his leadership skills,” according to coach Paul Yameen.

Helping Groth up front have been junior forward Zack McHugh (12-5-17), a strong, physical forward, as well as hard-working sophomore Cane Brennan (6-10-16).

Junior captain Max Puleo (3-7-10) has been the rock on defense, getting huge minutes each game while protecting the crease manned by junior goalie Jamie Brooks (2.03 GAA, six shutouts).

With a win and a tie vs. St. Mary’s, as well as recent wins over Shrewsbury and Andover, the Clippers have proved to be battle-tested against tough competition.

Bobby DeFeo Wakefield

#11 Wakefield (10-9-1)

The Warriors have a bit of a chip on their shoulder and something to prove after battling through the tough Middlesex League all season.

Dan Mailhoit Wakefield

Senior Joey O’Brien (13-14-27) centers a top line with junior left wing Matt Elwell (10-11-21) and junior right wing Bob DeFeo (2-9-11). The second line of seniors Ryan Rossini (3-3-6), Dan Mailhoit (2-3-5) and freshman Nate Brissette (5-1-6) add scoring depth.

The strength of coach Mike Geary’s team is on the back end, led by senior defenseman Evan Simoneau (1-5-6) and junior Joe Colliton (5-1-6). Senior Mike Parent (4-4-8) is another solid defender.

In goal, senior Gabe Brissette has emerged late in the season, backed up by senior Jon Guida.

#12 Dartmouth (14-4-1)

The Indians continue to carry the program’s momentum from the run to the D3 South championship game in 2020, and now are looking ahead to making a splash in the D2 statewide tournament.

Dartmouth features a top line of seniors JC Frates (40 points), Damien Medeiros (45) and freshman Aidan Cruz (35), with seniors Cullen Larrabee and Nick Howarth also contributing.

Coach Mike Cappello says the team has been anchored by its top three senior defensemen, starting with Reid Martin (35 points), plus Josh Nelson (15) and Luke Canniff (8). “They have been leaders on and off the ice,” Cappello said.

Backing them up has been standout sophomore goalie Ashton Machado (1.75 GAA), who posted five shutouts, including in both games of the recent Spartan Cup victory.

Cam Quigley Quincy

#13 Quincy (11-7-2)

The Presidents are “going into the postseason feeling good about our team,” according to coach Ted Walsh.

And for good reason. Junior captain and defenseman Cam Quigley (19-16-35) was selected as Patriot Fisher MVP and was a league all-star along with senior captains Will Martin (11-15-26) and Joe Hennessey (5-16-21) at forward, and senior Lukas Lamonica (3-6-9) on the blue line. Senior captain Timmy Kelly (4-5-9) has been a strong complement riding left wing on the top line with Hennessey and Martin.

Senior captain Zach Galligan (1-5-6) has been another solid defenseman for Quincy. Senior Danny Freeman (2.73 GAA) has been strong in goal.

“The chemistry within the team is incredibly positive, made up of players who pick each other up and truly play for each other,” Walsh said. “We feel fortunate to have this opportunity to compete for high school hockey’s ultimate goal.”

Kevin Norwood Plymouth North

#14 Plymouth North (10-9-1)

Led by top scorer and senior captain Kevin Norwood and his 32 points, the Eagles begin their playoff journey with high hopes. Norwood is part of a top line with senior captain Evan Hallissey and senior Carter Mento, but coach Tim Drew says it has been a team effort, with many other players chipping in.

Evan Hallisey Plymouth North

On a senior-laden team, sophomore Kaden Bono has been another strong player in goal. Sean Matt Vanetta is one of the top defensemen.

“Team defense is what going to make us move forward in the tournament,” said Drew, whose team has wins over Patriot powers Marshfield and Hanover. “When we do the little things we can play with anyone in our league … when we get away from what makes us successful, we struggle as a team.”

#15 Marblehead (9-8-2)

The Magicians overcame a slow start, losing their first four games, and now have some solid momentum built as they hit the home ice for their first tournament game.

Junior Connor Jalbert (13-19-32) has been the clear offensive leader, but the rest of the pack has been balanced with senior Hayden Leveroni (15-7-22), junior Carter Laramie (11 goals), senior captain Eli Feingold (10 goals) and junior Chris Locke. Senior captain Aidan Ryan has been another top forward.

A big key, according to coach Chris Wells, will be the defensive efforts led by sophomore Hogan Sedky (1-13-14) and senior captain Aidan Jalbert (3-9-12) in front of senior goalie Nick Peters.

“When we decide to skate hard, teams have had a hard time keeping up with us,” Wells said. “As always, I am defensive-minded so I think playoff success needs to start with taking care of your own end and then that will lead to offensive chances.”

Sean Baker Longmeadow

#16 Longmeadow (16-5-0)

The Lancers once again are the top team coming out of Western Mass., but they already have tested themselves against other top teams in the state – four of the losses are to Marlboro (twice), Hanover and Dartmouth.

Coach Jim Joyce will look to senior forwards Sean Baker (captain, 9-8-17), Ian Jarosz (5-3-8), Adam Low (5-3-8), Pat Hefner and Liam Hunt, as well as senior defenseman/captain Robby Croteau (4-6-10) and senior defenseman Nick Medeiros (2-2-4).

Senior Connor Rintoul is in net for the Lancers.

Joyce says Longmeadow’s balance and strong desire will be key factors, and they will need to overcome their youth and lack of size and depth.

Andrew Hodge Algonquin

#17 Algonquin (11-7-0)

The Titans’ record could be a bit deceiving as four of their losses were to Marlboro, the top-seeded team in Division 3 (one in OT).

The balanced scoresheet for coach Greg Cappello has been led by seniors Tommy Hauck, Ben Cotter and Ronan Cushman, all Quinn Conference All-Stars. Seniors Ryan Ogar and Ethan Stiles also have made contributions, along with senior Nicholas D’Angelo, junior Andrew Hodge, and freshman Ryan Magaletta.

Senior all-star Sam Salvi has been the top defenseman and also has provided some offensive support. Senior Ryan Jennings is another blueliner to watch.

Senior Colin Connors, another Quinn All-Star, has stepped up in goal.

Matt Solari

#18 Whitman-Hanson (9-11-0)

The Panthers could be a dangerous matchup in the postseason after battling through a Patriot League that placed all 11 teams in the tournament.

Whitman-Hanson has been carried by its top line of junior alternate captain Matt Solari (17-14-31), sophomore Luke Tropeano (7-17-24) and senior alternate captain John Ward (4-4-8), as well as a top defensive pairing of senior alternate captain Sean Doucette (1-7-8) and senior Robert Hunter (6-1-7).

Eric Dean Whitman-Hanson

Senior captain Erik Dean (2.71 GAA) also has had a strong season for the Panthers.

“We are a team that prides themselves on being a tough team to beat and never stop competing,” said coach Rob Peters, adding that the young squad has been building both for the future and immediate success. “We have remained on a steady climb of being better every day as the season has moved along, and we are really starting to click over the last two weeks.”

#19 Concord-Carlisle (10-10-0)

The Patriots posted their most wins since the 2015 run to the D2 state championship game. To approach that kind of postseason run, coach Rian Murray will rely on a hard-working group with strong leadership.

Sophomore Jay Carter was a Dual County/Merrimack Valley 2 All-Conference selection, and has been one of the top forwards along with a pair of honorable mentions – junior assistant captain Noah Thorpe and senior assistant captain Carter O’Brien. Senior captain Aidan Dowd and senior assistant captain Jack Webster have been solid role players at forward.

Defensively Murray looks to juniors Marcos Braceras and Micah Bennett, as well as freshman Ben Ohanian. Sophomore CJ Bailey and freshman Jason Swaim both have been solid in goal, and Murray says he is confident in either one entering the postseason.

“We feel we have played a very competitive schedule against some of the best teams in the state, which can only help us come playoff time,” Murray said.

#20 Boston Latin (5-9-2)

No team in the state had a season quite like the Wolfpack, who split their first two games before being shut down for more than a month. Finally getting back on the ice Jan. 26, they played 14 more games over a span of 4½ weeks.

“I feel like we are playing our best hockey right now and are excited about our opportunity to play in the tournament,” coach Frank Woods said.

Senior captains Tim McGrath, Shane Sullivan and Ryan Maziarka have been the leaders from the defensive end for the Wolfpack. Juniors Patrick Harnan, Rich Bova and sophomore Aidan Fitzpatrick have been the top forwards. Seniors Luke Young and Aidan Fitzgerald each have spent time in goal.

“Our guys have handled themselves well through a very frustrating time when we had to watch the rest of the state play hockey while the [Boston Public Schools] had us sidelined,” Woods said. “Even with that we have played competitively enough through a tough schedule and have earned the opportunity to play again this week and we’re happy about that.”

#21 Westwood (12-7-1)

“The Streak” continues at Westwood, where the Wolverines have qualified for the postseason for the 39th consecutive time.

“Success for us in the tournament will rely on our team game,” coach Matt Sebet said. “We’ll need to get the goaltending and rely on contributions from up and down our lineup. When we had stretches of success in the regular season that’s how we did it.”

Tom Hamilton Westwood

Senior forward and captain Zach Conway (14-10-24) tops the scoring chart for Westwood, but there has been plenty of balance in the offense. Junior captain Danny Sullivan (7-12-19), senior captain Conor Jacobs (10-8-18), junior Thomas Hamilton (9-7-16), senior Matt Foley (5-9-14) and senior Jonas Braunfelds (7-4-11) all have provided timely scoring.

Regulars on the blue line include senior Ben O’Brien, juniors Paul Dyson, Steven Colantuoni and Kevin d’Entremont, sophomores Ryan Pezzuto, Gavin Cox and David Solomon, and freshman Cole Gustie. Senior Declan O’Leary (1.74 GAA) has gotten the majority of time in goal.

#22 Somerset Berkley (15-3-2)

The Blue Raiders certainly showed how dangerous they can be by ending South Coast rival Dighton-Rehoboth/Seekonk’s long unbeaten streak in February. The teams also played to a one-goal loss earlier in the season.

Senior Max Aguiar, juniors Davis Sullivan and Noah Taylor, and sophomore Luke Gauvin all have provided timely scoring at points this season for veteran coach Kevin Snyder.

Freshman Mason Sullivan also has emerged as a top scoring threat from the blue line.

Backing them all up has been solid sophomore goalie Brandon Silva.

#23 Wilmington (6-13-1)

The Wildcats enter the tournament as the underdog from a seeding and record standpoint, but under veteran coach Steve Scanlon and Co. always can be a tough out at this time of year.

Juniors Nate Alberti (9-7-16) and Mike Daniels (7-8-15) are the top scorers this season, and senior Tristan DiMeco (2-1-3) another solid forward to watch.

Senior goalie Liam Crowley has backboned the defense that includes seniors Matt Vinal (4-4-8) and captain Aidan Murphy (1-3-4), junior Owen White (2-6-8) and sophomore Robby Cyr (0-2-2).

“We are hoping that playing in the always strong Middlesex League will have us battle-tested for the tourney,” Scanlon said.

#24 Beverly (8-11-1)

The Panthers recovered from a tumultuous mid-season stretch, during which coach Greg Fonzi stepped down following an on-ice incident, and punched their ticket to the postseason thanks to a strong showing in the MIAA power ratings out of the Northeastern Conference.

Matt Mezza

Assistant Jim Sasso stepped into the top spot to finish out the season, and he will lead a Panthers squad sparked by senior captains Matthew Mezza (7-13-20), DJ Bachini (4-14-18) and Cameron Cook (4-14-18). Senior alternate captain Austin Bernard also brings experience to the group.

Austin Bernard Beverly

Senior alternate captain Jaxon Thomas (8-8-16) is the top blueliner.

Dylan Hunter has led the way among a trio of junior goalies that also includes Jimmy O’Connell and Ryan Avila.

#25 North Attleboro (9-10-1)

The Red Rocketeers had a solid season under first-year coach Kyle Heagney, and will be looking to continue that as they begin to navigate the bracket.

A dynamic group of junior forwards – Nik Kojoian (11-24-35), Nick Longa (17-9-26) and Mark Ayvazyan (13-12-25) have been the clear leaders this season. “They make a lot happen on the ice in the [offensive] zone,” Heagney said. “However, we must win in the D zone before we can think of winning in the O zone. We have three very dependable lines that play on both sides of the puck.” Senior Brady Sarro (6-4-10) also cracked double digits in scoring, followed closely by senior Sam Clarke (7-2-9).

Senior captain Austin Comery (0-4-4) has been solid defensively, and senior Anthony Wescott (1-16-17) also has been a big contributor to the offense.

Sophomore Kyle Gruber has been the regular goalie for the Rocketeers.

#26 Westboro (9-7-2)

The Rangers, who had late-season wins over Algonquin and Auburn, and also gave a strong Nashoba team a tough battle in the CMADA Class A tournament, loom as an interesting team among the lower seeds.

Senior captain Will Gravell and senior Danny Marden were Quinn Conference All-Stars at forward for coach Chet Hallice. Senior Anthony Pascale and sophomore Max Aires also have added scoring depth.

The Rangers have a pair of solid defensemen in senior captain Jackson Bohn and junior Braden Duggan. Senior alternate captain Jake Leary is another defenseman to watch.

Dylan Arnold, a senior alternate captain and Roy honorable mention, is the Rangers’ top goalie.

#27 Mansfield (6-11-1)

Coach Mike Balzarini is hoping the balance and experience of his top two forward lines can make a difference as they enter the postseason. Mansfield also will be looking for revenge after falling to Walpole in December (5-1).

Senior captain Kyle Oakley (21-12-33) has been the clear offensive leader on a top unit that also features senior captain Dillon Benoit (12-14-26) and senior Ryan Doherty (5-8-13).

Senior captains Liam Anastasia (2-5-7) and Mark DiGirolamo (5-7-12) are the other top forwards to watch, while the defense has been led by junior Patrick Gormley (2-5-7).

Solid junior goalie Christopher Hormann returns for the Hornets.

#28 Auburn (9-9-2)

The Rockets put together an interesting schedule this season, facing five Eastern Mass. and two Western Mass. opponents (as well as a pair of out-of-state games) as they prepare for the first statewide tournament.

Shawn Bradway Auburn/Millbury

Coach Glenn Bombard will lean on a pair of Quinn Conference All-Stars up front in senior captain Shawn Bradway and senior Dominic DiPadua. Senior Joe Valone was one of the top scorers and a Quinn honorable mention.

The Rockets also are solid on defense with senior captains Dylan Winkelmann and Nolan White, both Quinn All-Stars. Seniors Nate Brown and Evan Beaudette are the goaltenders.

Auburn is the lone co-op program in the bracket, also welcoming players from Millbury, Tantasqua and Shepherd Hill.

#29 Hopkinton (10-10-0)

Scott Hayes took over the Hillers this season and has led the program back into the postseason.

The defense tandem of senior captains Michael Berman and Manoli Barris have sparked the team from the back end all season.

Junior captain Joseph Carrazza is a top forward along with juniors Joe Scardino, Ryan Teitel and Charlie Purpura, senior Callum Greenwood and sophomore Wyatt Iantosca.

Junior Jack Lang has been a workhorse in net.

#30 Plymouth South (7-13-0)

The Panthers certainly got hot at the right time, going 5-1 down the stretch with wins over Plymouth North and Scituate to squeeze their way into the top 32 of the power ratings and punch their postseason ticket.

Senior captain Noah St. Germaine, junior Kenny Thurston (a Patriot League All-Star) and sophomores Sean and Carter McNamara spark the offense along with senior James Kelleher.

Senior captain Logan Graham has led the defense for coach Steve Whyte, helped by juniors James Lopes and Sean Kelleher, and sophomore Caleb O’Brien.

Veteran junior goalie Tristan Holmes will be a key player for the Panthers after also earning Patriot Keenan All-Star honors.

#31 Haverhill (10-10-0)

A strong late-season run in which the Hillies went 6-2 in their final eight games allowed them to reach .500 and qualify for the tournament for the first time in six seasons. Five of their losses were by one goal, including a pair in overtime.

Coach Joe Roberts has six freshmen, including five who got regular shifts, giving him more depth than the program has had in recent seasons. Senior alternate captain Justin Torosian (8-11-19) is the top scorer, followed by junior John Bishop (10-6-16) and freshman Jax Mulligan (3-13-16). Senior captain Brendan Fitzgerald (9-3-12) was second on the team in goals, but had a knack for getting his points at critical times. Roberts also said his captain “did an excellent job firing up the crew both on and off the ice.”

Senior alternate captain Charlie Rastauskas (6-6-12) anchored the defense, and the Hillies have a solid rotating goalie tandem of junior alternate captain Cal Pruett and junior Dylan Soucy.

#32 Melrose (1-18-1)

The Red Raiders certainly will raise some questions for their win-loss record, but they played some close games in the tough Middlesex League – including a tie with D1 Burlington and a win over Wilmington.

Tyler Muse

Coach Vin Mirasolo’s young squad has been led by senior captain TJ Sullivan at forward, as well as senior captain James Haggerty on defense. Junior Joey Smith is a veteran in goal.

Other Raiders to watch include seniors Connor O’Leary (F) and Joey O’Keefe (D), juniors Jason Pino (D), Patrick Cotter (F) and Joey Zarella (F), and sophomores Colin Fahey (F) and Tyler Muse (F).

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