New Hampshire D2 Poll
|4||St. Thomas Aquinas||14||9||0|
In the collective opinion of the coaches, identifying the top two teams heading into this season was clear enough. Choosing a favorite? Not so much.
Riding a hunch here that No. 1 Windham will be motivated to do something memorable in its final D2 campaign before bumping up to D1 next year. Second-year coach Shawn Dunn’s club has abundant experience after last year’s youth movement yielded a semifinal berth. Senior goalie Max Daly is among the best in the division.
Reigning State Champ No. 2 Bow has a well-documented history of excellence under coach Tim Walsh. The thought here is that these Falcons will have a different look, relying on a defense that features stellar junior goalie Nathan Carrier while re-tooling an offense that graduated more than 60 percent of its production.
Could the top pair be destined for a reprise of their 2016 title game, won by Windham? Stay tuned.
No. 3 Dover bounced up, down and all around a year ago. Consistency is the goal under second-year coach Mike Young, who is counting on top-shelf production from a veteran forward group.
No. 4 St. Thomas Aquinas welcomes long-time high school and Junior coach Wayne Sheehan, who brings 20 years of experience to the program. A substantial core group returns from last year’s semifinal team.
Long-time assistant Chris McIntosh takes over as coach for No. 5 Keene. The Blackbirds graduated heavily from last year’s finalist but do return D2 Goaltender of the Year in Myles Ditkoff, a dominant force.
No. 6 Spaulding will lean on a group of proven underclassmen to power the offense as it shoots to move beyond last year’s quarterfinal appearance.
No. 7 Goffstown and No. 8 Portsmouth/Newmarket could both surprise. New coaches are on board at No. 9 Merrimack (Dan Beliveau) and No. 10 Lebanon (Jim Damren). Alvirne (Matt Simpson) and Oyster River (Peter Harwood) also welcome new coaches.