For a long time, the Super Eight match served a singular goal within the Massachusetts hockey panorama, making a separate playoff discipline for premier groups.
The occasion got here to a screeching halt on the onset of the pandemic in 2020, then was eliminated in favor of a statewide match final yr. To the shock of few, the cream rose to the highest with a Div. 1 championship between two Catholic Conference foes. Interesting how that works.
Ultimately, St. John’s Prep (22-3) gained its first state title since 2015 with a convincing 6-2 drubbing of rival Xaverian at TD Garden final March. That evening, senior captain Tommy Sarni sniped 4 objectives for the Eagles. Now they shall try to copy his scoring as they appear to repeat. Expect gamers like Jimmy Ayers, Cole Blaeser, Aidan Holland, Christian Rosa and Will Van Sicklin to steer the cost.
Most are pegging Xaverian (20-4-1) because the candidate to greatest problem St. John’s Prep. It gained’t be such a straightforward activity, because the Hawks graduated 15 seniors from final yr’s group. However, Joe DiMartino (9 objectives, eight assists) and Gavin Moynihan (eight objectives, seven assists) are returning, and poised to supply a spark offensively.
BC High (10-13-1) acquired off to a sluggish begin final season earlier than catching hearth and embarking on a Cinderella run to the Final Four. The Eagles fell quick in time beyond regulation to the eventual champion in St. John’s Prep, however welcome again seven forwards and 7 defensemen. Although standout Ryan Flaherty transferred to Avon Old Farms, the Eagles are nonetheless one of many deeper groups within the discipline together with their counterparts at Catholic Memorial (15-6-1).
For BC High coach John Flaherty, the rules stay the identical alongside Morrissey Boulevard.
“Our goal every year is to win the Catholic Conference,” stated Flaherty. “And put ourselves in a position to be the last team off the ice at the Garden.”
Could one of many publics emerge in Div. 1? There are actually just a few candidates.
Boston Herald Dream Teamer Cam Fici (36 objectives, 11 assists) loved a breakout junior season, and has Belmont (19-2-3) within the dialog to win the Middlesex League together with Arlington (19-5-2). As all the time, Hingham (20-4-1) stays within the hunt with Aidan Brazel (18 objectives, 10 assists) and Chase McKenna (12 factors) main the Harbormen. Other applications to look at embrace Braintree, Marshfield and Pope Francis.
The Div. 2 panorama may see a shakeup as a result of departure of some very proficient gamers. Led by senior Caden Connors (28 assists, 23 objectives), Tewksbury (22-2) captured the state championship final yr. Now the Redmen will put their destiny within the arms of Matthew Cooke (18 objectives, 18 assists) and Tyler Barnes (13 assists, eight objectives).
Canton (22-2-1) ought to be within the combine. The Bulldogs have made three consecutive journeys to the state finals, excluding the COVID season. However, like lots of final yr’s contenders, this system sustained a success with 14 seniors graduating. Senior AJ Thomas (20 objectives, 9 assists) and junior Brendan Tourgee (16 assists, 11 objectives) will shoulder issues offensively, whereas sophomore Collin Davis builds upon his unimaginable freshman marketing campaign in web.
Could Gloucester (19-5) recapture the magic from its run to the Div. 2 Final Four? The Fishermen misplaced over 150 factors of manufacturing to commencement, most notably Jack Costanzo (32 objectives, 32 assists). Colby Jewell (30 factors) will take over on the helm for this system this yr.
Duxbury (14-10-2) welcomed Mike Flaherty to the bench in 2021, and the newly employed coach guided the Dragons on a visit to the Div. 2 Final Four. Duxbury returns a former Herald All-Scholastic in goaltender Sam Mazanec (2.04 GAA, .923 save proportion), with senior forwards Aiden Harrington (16 objectives, 9 assists) and Wyatt Glass (seven objectives, 9 assists) becoming a member of him.
“I’d like to think we can be in contention for a state title,” Flaherty stated. “But there are a lot of good teams in Div. 2 so we have to be on our game every night.”
Masconomet (16-5-2) made the Round of 8 final season, however this yr will mark a brand new period for the Chieftains as Andrew Boepple takes over for former coach Andrew Jackson.
Other colleges to maintain an eye fixed out for in Div. 2 embrace Norwood, Silver Lake and Walpole. Some coaches have additionally picked Newburyport, Plymouth South and Wakefield as darkish horses.
DIV. 1-2 PLAYERS TO WATCH
Jimmy Ayers (St. John’s Prep)
Tyler Barnes (Tewksbury)
Adam Bauer (Belmont)
Cole Blaeser (St. John’s Prep)
Brendan Bonner (Duxbury)
Aidan Brazel (Hingham)
Finn Burke (Catholic Memorial)
Matthew Cooke (Tewksbury)
Collin Davis (Canton)
Nick DiCioccio (Tewksbury)
Joe DiMartino (Xaverian)
Aidan Dunphy (Silver Lake)
Cam Fici (Belmont)
Connor Fryberger (Catholic Memorial)
Wyatt Glass (Duxbury)
Aiden Harrington (Duxbury)
Aidan Holland (St. John’s Prep)
Michael Hussey (Duxbury)
Colby Jewell (Gloucester)
Sam Mazanec (Duxbury)
Chase McKenna (Hingham)
Gavin Moynihan (Xaverian)
Benjamin O’Keefe (Tewksbury)
Cooper Robillard (Tewksbury)
Jake Russell (Arlington)
AJ Thomas (Canton)
Brendan Tourgee (Canton)
Will Van Sicklin (St. John’s Prep)
Jake Vana (St. John’s Prep)
Brendan Zinck (Malden Catholic)