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Wide open race looms in Granite State’s top division

New Hampshire Division 1 Boys Poll

RankTeam WLT
1St. Thomas Aquinas1561
4Manchester Central1650
5Bishop Guertin10120
6Manchester Memorial1740
 HNIB’s informal pre-season poll of coaches clarified this: Division One is as wide open and balanced as it has been for some time. Though lacking a clear favorite, a handful of teams return depth and experience across the board and project as solid bets to be playing deep into March.


No. 1 St. Thomas Aquinas (15-6-1) came within an overtime goal of bouncing eventual State Champion Memorial in the semifinals last season. Coach Andrew Leach’s Saints have proven experience in all phases, paced by senior forward Glenn Wiswell, senior defenseman Niall Foster and junior goalie Zane Angelopoulos.


No. 2 Londonderry (17-5-1) welcomes back a Top 5 goalie in senior Joe McGrath, a Top 5 scorer in senior Eric Coburn and a solid core on the back line as it looks to step beyond last year’s semifinal appearance.


No. 3 Salem (11-8-3) returns depth at forward and strength in the back from last year’s quarterfinal club.  Junior Paul Antkowiak is among the state’s top returning defensemen.


No. 4 Manchester Central (16-5-0) lost significant firepower from last year’s State finalist and will lean on senior keeper Ian Beliveau (2.34, .904 gaa) while the offense forges an identity.


No. 5 Bishop Guertin (10-12-0) returns a group of high-end players. Whether the Cardinals possess the quality depth to mount a championship challenge remains to be seen.


Defending champion No. 6 Manchester Memorial (17-4-0) lost heavily to graduation and Juniors. Coach Mark Putney will look to a group of young forwards to re-tool the attack.


No. 7 Trinity (11-6-2) is thin on experience and must overcome the loss of graduated three-year goalie Ryan Slatky


New coach Joey Lee takes the helm at No. 8 Pinkerton (12-10-0) and hopes to keep the young Astros in the upper echelon. He has the luxury of a veteran forward unit.


How perennial contenders No. 9 Hanover (7-11-4) and No. 10 Concord (6-12-2) fare will be determined largely by the development of underclassmen abundant on both teams’ rosters.

Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle joined the HNIB team in 1990 and is a Senior Writer and Director of the Northern New England and Mass/R.I. High School Division camps. An award-winning veteran editor/writer of 35 years experience in the print and digital mediums, he has conceptualized, edited and produced original content and coordinated production for local and global publications and their websites. He holds degrees from Merrimack College and Boston University and won multiple NEPA and NEAP awards during his tenure as Sports Editor of The Daily News of Newburyport and News Editor of The Amesbury News. He is the 2016 recipient of the North Shore Lifetime Commitment From the Community award presented by Moynihan Lumber and is a 2017 inductee into the Newburyport High School Wall of Fame. The Newburyport, MA native resides with his family in Epping, NH. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @kdoyle40.
Kevin Doyle
- 3 days ago