New Hampshire Boys D3 Top 6
“Competitive balance” – or a variation thereof – was the phrase used by the majority of coaches we contacted for this poll. Interestingly, it is made up of six of the nine regional schools and/or hockey-specific arrangements that encompass 23 schools.
No. 1 John Stark/Hopkinton (20-1-0) had a year for the ages, finishing undefeated in the division en route to its second straight State Championship. Can the General Hawks make it three in a row? With 16 players returning with varying degrees of experience it’s tough to bet against them.
No. 2 Belmont/Gilford (14-6-0) has always taken pride in consistency that allows the Bulldogs to be in the hunt every year. Starting fast and peaking at the right time will be critical under second-year coach Jason Parent.
No. 3 Berlin/Gorham (13-7-0) has a tradition of excellence that stretches back into the 1940s and includes 10 State Championships. The Mountaineers will learn as they go this winter with a core group of experienced veterans showing the way.
With games against Kennett, Berlin/Gorham and JSH to open the season, No. 4 Pembroke/Campbell will have to remain focused from the outset. With strength in goal and on defense the PAC seems equipped to take on that challenge.
No. 5 Hollis-Brookline/Derryfield (9-10-0) has a stated goal of moving into the division’s Top Five, so that’s where we’ll start them. Back to front, the Warriors are one of the division’s most experienced squads.
No. 6 Monadnock/Fall Mountain (17-4-1) rolled all the way to the State title game last year. For starters, this team is measurably younger than that one. Paying attention to the little details that often determine outcomes will be crucial.