After a disappointing end to last years state tournament, we find ourselves set to drop the puck on a season with many possibilities. I would like to thank everyone for tuning in for another year of MIAA hockey and hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday. Time to get started:
1: Arlington – The Spy Ponders were the obvious 1 seed in the Super 8 last season, but were denied the chance to compete for the Super 8 championship due to COVID19. Even with their roster subtractions, they deserve to hold the 1 spot in this preseason poll.
2: Pope Francis – Similar story for the Cardinals as they were 1 win away from a Super 8 championship, yet again. Freshman superstar Ryan Leonard lead the way with 24 goals last year winning player of the year on multiple platforms. With the returners for Pope Francis, they should be in the top 5 all season long.
3: St. Mary’s Lynn – With 18 returners, St. Mary’s is going to be one of the more experienced teams in the MIAA. They finished with 13 wins last year and a winning record in the Catholic Central League.
4: BC High: The Eagles 2 year run of Super 8 champions came to an end last year as they fell to St. John’s Prep in the Super 8 tournament. They are still one of the top programs in the state and I expect a good bounce back season from them.
5: Natick: Last year Natick finished 9th in my final top 20 and they return a healthy amount of their roster from last season. Their run in the D1 south tournament did not last as long as they hoped, but they should be considered one of the top public schools going into this season.
6: Xaverian: The Hawks competed well in the Catholic Conference last year and finished third in my last set of rankings. They went 0-2 in the Super 8, but return a good roster and should compete for a top spot again this year.
7: St. John’s Prep: The Eagles were an overtime goal away from being co-champions in the Super 8 last year, as they fell to Pope Francis. Their impressive run saw them knockout Catholic Memorial, Xaverian, and BC High.
8: Burlington: The Red Devils had a great season last year earning a spot in the Super 8 tournament. They graduate a lot a lot of their talent, but the goaltending should remain the same as Joe Trabucco was only a junior last season.
9: Catholic Memorial: It was a weird season for Catholic Memorial last year as they only finished with 10 wins, but went 5-1-2 in the powerful Catholic Conference. Their Super 8 run was short, but they should be stronger heading into this season.
10: Malden Catholic: Two seasons ago, Malden Catholic was scrambling to even compete with anyone, last year they began a strong rebuild that resulted in a young roster that could compete with the Catholic Conference and the some of the other top teams in the state. MC is due for a very exciting season.
11: Framingham: A very impressive season last year was led by great goaltending from Jake Handy, who graduated last spring. It will need to be a complete rebuild in the net as all three varsity goaltenders were seniors. It will be interesting to see if the Flyers can compete again this year.
12: Walpole: The Rebels came out of nowhere in the D1 south last year marching all the way into the state D1 championship. They lose a lot of talent, but look to build off of last years’ experience.
13: Hingham: Hingham fell in the Super 8 play-in game and then fell early in the D1 south tournament last season. They graduate a lot of seniors, but they are always one of the top public school teams in the state.
14: Reading: An overtime loss to Framingham kept Reading out of the Super 8 last season, but just like Hingham, they always have teams that contend with the best in the state.
15: St. John’s (S): The Pioneers ran all the way to the D1 North final last year before falling to Belmont. They return a healthy amount of juniors as they look to build off of last season.
16: Canton: The only non-D1 team to be featured in this top 20 is Canton. They have been an absolute powerhouse in the state these past few years. They outscored opponents 20-3 during last years playoff run that ended with a D2 south championship.
17: Austin Prep: The Cougars would have liked to go further in the D1 North tournament last season, but they return a lot of offensive talent that lead them to a 11-8-3 record last season.
18: Duxbury: The Dragons always have a strong team that competes in the D1 south. They finished 13-7-4 last year.
19: Belmont: The Marauders won the D1 north last year after an impressive run and a championship victory over St. John’s (S). They lose a lot of seniors, but hopefully their younger core can build off of their experience last year.
20: Bridgewater-Raynham: The Trojans were the 3rd seed in the D1 south last year only to meet Archbishop Williams in the first round. They bring in a new coach in Scott Harlow and return top scorer Ryan Concannon and starting goalie Brandon Sinclair.
Best of the rest:
Archbishop Williams, Braintree, Central Catholic, Melrose, Falmouth.