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WMass Top 10: Minnechaug remains on top despite loss

Western Mass. Top 10 Poll

RankTeamPR*WLT
1Minnechaug11630
2Longmeadow21440
3E. Longmeadow31261
4Westfield48101
5Amherst51513
6Chicopee Comp71053
7Chicopee 61261
8Wahconah81341
9LudlowNR5121
10Belchertown10844

In what could be a tournament preview, No. 1 Minnechaug lost a tight-checking, 2-1 decision to No. 3 East Longmeadow. Ben Wosky, who has been one of the Berry Division’s top forwards, broke a scoreless stalemate and Joe Saracino provided the game-winning goal. Cam Marinai scored for Minnechaug.

The game showcased two of the Berry Division’s top teams and showed just how competitive the Division 3 tournament should be. The top three teams are evenly matched and No. 4 Westfield has been playing well down the stretch as the Bombers are close to clinching a tournament berth.

HNIB-Ad-for-MassHShockey_2016No. 9 Ludlow remains alive in the race to finish fourth in the Berry and claim the final tournament spot. Only one sub-.500 team will qualify for the Division 3 tournament.

The Lions have a chance to tie for fourth place with at least one win in its final two league games. If there is a tie between the two sub-.500 teams that remain alive for fourth-place, the qualifier will be decided via tiebreaker. The tiebreakers include head-to-head matchups, overall winning percentage, winning percentage against tournament qualifiers and a coin flip if all else fails.

Westfield would win the tiebreaker against Ludlow, because the teams are even in head-to-head matchups but Westfield has a better winning percentage. Westfield is finished with its regular-season Berry schedule and Ludlow has one more league game remaining. A win would push the Lions over the Bombers.

In Division 3A, No. 5 Amherst Regional appears to be on track to secure the top seed. The Hurricanes clinched the Fay/Wright Division title following an 8-1 victory over Easthampton.

Fran Sypek

Fran Sypek

Fran has covered hockey at all levels, NHL, AHL, junior, college and high school for the Springfield Republican from 1978-2013. His column "Hockey Talk'' appeared in the Sunday Republican. The hockey beat took him from Maine to Arizona in the United States and from Newfoundland to Alberta in Canada. Fran was the recipient of the Matthew Ryan Award for Outstanding Coverage of High School Hockey and the Janet McCormick Award from the Springfield Olympics. He then shifted from pros to college when the University of Massachusetts restored its program and joined Hockey East. Later, he continued covering the Boston Bruins and the Springfield Falcons. Fran's covered future NHL players from Western Massachusetts in Paul Fenton, Bob Kudelski, Rick Bennett and Bill Guerin. He is a member of the Bessone Award committee, which helps select the top high school hockey player in Western Mass. Fran was a goalie for Holyoke Community College in 1973-74 and graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1977. Fran is currently a free lance writer living in Bondsville, Mass and grew up in Chicopee, Mass, has visited all 50 states, and is an avid photographer.