The MIAA Central Mass. 3A tournament features eight out of a possible ten teams, setting up a quartet of quarterfinal games ahead of next weekend’s semifinal round at the Wallace Civic Center.
Top-seeded and defending 3A state champion Northbridge takes on No. 8 Littleton on Monday in the first game of the tournament. That game will start at 7:40 p.m. at the New England Sports Center. The Rams enter with an overall record of 19-1-0, riding an 18-game winning streak. The Rams outscored their opponents by a 98-35 margin in the regular season. Liam Gill led the way for Northbridge, posting a Central Mass. best 53 points during the regular season. Nick Locurto (46 points) and Alex Smith (39 points) also finished in the top five in scoring. Littleton squeaked in thanks to a second-place finish in the Coughlin Conference. Sophomore Maddox Lizotte (13-15-28) had a breakout season for the Tigers. Northbridge beat Littleton twice during the regular season, 8-2 and 4-1.
No. 4 Worcester and No. 5 Lunenburg will play each other on Tuesday at 5:30 at Buffone Arena for the right to take on the Northbridge/Littleton winner in the semifinal round. Luke Evers (15-12-27) and David Brissette (7-19-26) lead the way offensively for the Wildcats while Daniel Sheeran is an impact player on the back end.
The Blue Knights fought injuries all season long, but Lunenburg qualified thanks to a 6-3 win over Fitchburg in their regular season finale. The Blue Knights beat the Wildcats in their only regular season matchup. Nathan Handy had the lone goal in Lunenburg’s 1-0 victory over Worcester this past Monday.
In the other half of the 3A bracket, No. 2 Hopedale (10-5-5) will host No. 7 Oakmont Regional (7-7-6) at Horgan Arena in Auburn on Wednesday starting at 5 p.m. The two teams played to a 2-2 draw back on January 20th. Hopedale’s Hunter Dunn led Central Mass. with 31 assists. Charlie Chinian had a team-high 21 goals for the Spartans during the regular season.
The Hopedale/Oakmont winner will face the winner of No. 3 Grafton (11-7-2) and No. 6 Fitchburg/Monty Tech. (8-8-4) in the other semifinal. The teams played once during the regular season, with neither team finding the back of the net in a 0-0 tie. The postseason matchup will take place on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Buffone Arena. Max Beaulac (15-14-28) leads the Red Raider attack while Deron Breen (12-19-31) led the Indians in scoring during the regular season.