Neutral Zone’s 2018-19 Mass HS All-Stars
This season of Mass HS hockey has been one of the deepest in recent memory and the year was capped off with a thrilling 4 OT Championship Game which BC High won (twice) 2-1. After the game, our scouting staff set out to pick the All-Star Teams for Mass HS, based on the games we have seen over the course of the year. We wrote over 55 recaps on our NZ Mass HS Site and in total watched over 75 different games in person at the rinks.
As many of our yearlong readers know, we saw nearly all of the teams in Division 1 as well as many of the top contenders in Division 2. For our purposes in building this All-Star team list, we dug through prior scouting reports and notes over the course of the season and factored in Super 8 and divisional playoff performances into where we placed each player. We broke the lists into a 1st, 2nd and 3rd Team of All Stars, and even then there were numerous strong players who did not make the cut, including: F Matt Copponi of Mansfield, F Makem Demers of Pope Francis, F John Surrette of Woburn, and other deserving candidates.
We also constructed a grouping of the top freshmen who impressed us over the course of the year. Some of these freshmen could have easily slipped into the 1st, 2nd or 3rd Teams, but we wanted to give them their own section of recognition.
With that said, here is our list:
The top players in the state were not up for much debate amongst our staff. Thomas Kramer and Josh Barton were the two best players that we saw all season and this list reflects that, as does their respective team’s playoff records. We added our only Division 2 player John Hagan to this list after an impressive run by Canton in the regular season and in the playoffs: he has a bright future as a collegian. The defense here was also not up for debate as our staff universally agreed on Will Cohen and Jake Higgins as players with great upside and who see the ice the most effectively. As for the goaltender, there was an even split on who would take 1st Team honors but Jack Gatie was great in the Super 8 taking on a high volume of shots, despite his team finishing on the losing end.
F Josh Barton, Xaverian
F Thomas Kramer, BC High
F John Hagan, Canton
D Will Cohen, Austin Prep
D Jake Higgins, Hingham
G Jack Gatie, Marshfield
Where you celebrate one Kramer, you have to have his twin brothers not too far behind. Collectively Peter and Joseph Kramer are the most dynamic duo in the state and great players in their own rights. We also included Mike Tersoni of Framingham on this list as not only was he the most skilled player on his public school team, but he was a leader and a spark plug.
Defensively, it’s hard to look past Mike Dragon of BC High and Zach Reiser of Pope Francis. Each one of them are adept at jumping up in the rush and creating transition plays. Both of them utilize space very well and found ways to take advantage of coverage breakdowns.
On the goalie front, Robbie Farrell was a star for Austin Prep all season long. His season did not end the way the Cougars expected after such a strong regular season, but his quick reactions and great vision will afford him a chance to play beyond his senior year.
F Peter Kramer, BC High,
F Mike Tersoni, Framingham
F Joseph Kramer, BC High
D Mike Dragon, BC High
D Zach Reiser, Pope Francis
G Robbie Farrell, Austin Prep
You couldn’t have an All-Star team without these three forwards as well. All three of them play vastly different games, but they play it better than anyone in the state. Ryan O’Halloran took another big step forward in his development, pacing the scoring for Burlington and converting more efficiently this season. Will Kenney of Hingham is a bad man: he is big, strong and possesses a heavy shot. During the Super 8, checkers simply bounced off of him because of his size alone. Jon Tavella of Pope Francis is quick, shifty and elusive but he has an innate ability to finish from outside and inside the dots. His offensive instincts are on point and he was one of the main reasons the Cardinals made the Super 8 Final.
Speaking of the Cardinals, Spencer Stewart was an intriguing defender: he has size and strength and acted as a shadow for the opposition’s best players. Luke Mix of Winchester continued to get better each game we watched: he is poised, smart and strong on his stick – he will be great at the prep level.
An up and coming goalie, Robert DiVincenzo of Winchester carried his Sachems to the D1 title game. He already has great size and takes away most of the net by staying on his angles.
F Ryan O’Halloran, Burlington
F Will Kenney, Hingham
F Jon Tavella, Pope Francis
D Spencer Stewart, Pope Francis
D Luke Mix, Winchester
G Robert DiVincenzo, Winchester
In Mass HS, it’s rare that rookies come in and make immediate impacts, but there have been some special ones in recent years: Aidan Connolly of Marshfield, JP Turner of Falmouth and others. These are the ones who stuck out to us in our viewings this year.
Tops on our list is Charlie Dean of North Andover: he may not be getting all the accolades today, but his skillset is quite unique. He has excellent hockey sense and vision to make older players at the D2 level look silly. We were also impressed by Cole Lopilato of St. John’s Prep: he didn’t get a ton of minutes on an upper class-laden team but when he hit the ice he made impact plays with physicality and smart stickwork. Same with Nick Townshend for the prep but we liked what we saw when he got on the ice. Plays heads up hockey with skill. Gavin Havens of Catholic Memorial on the other hand does get a lot of playing time and despite not having great size as a 2004 he worked his way up into the top two lines. He is constantly hustling and gets to the net: a recipe for success.
Defensively the two top rookies from this season were no contest. Declan Loughnane announced himself as one of the best defenders in the state, at any age, this season. He showed great poise, a heavy shot and the skating ability to beat defenders 1-on-1.Davis Kinne, who also played last year as an 8th grader, took a major step forward both with his physicality and his ability to beat defenders going north-south. He was the engine that ran the Spartan offense.Chris Romaine is a DI prospect and 2004 who had his coming out party in the playoffs. Logged some solid time with the third paid and even played some PP in an elimination game vs Xaverian. Smooth player with some size who already should have college options to ponder. Anthony Andriolo played key minutes for the Red Devils and is long with a smooth stride and good stick. Needs some time but we liked him when we watched. Justin Cormier is tough to play against and saw special teams for a rebuilding Waltham squad. Good approach and good sense with some pop.
As far as the goalies it is tough to find players who are given that responsibility in first season. Two who were given that challenge and we liked are Jackson Irving who is competitive, smart and instinctive in the net. Carried the load for SJP and Jack Perry who is mobile, aggressive and tough and stood in here during some tough games for the Hawks.
F Charlie Dean, North Andover
F Cole Lopilato, St. John’s Prep
F Gavin Havens, Catholic Memorial
F Nick Townshend, St. John’s Prep
D Declan Loughnane, BC High
D Davis Kinne, St. Mary’s Lynn
D Chris Romaine, BC High
D Anthony Andriolo, Burlington
D Justin Cormier, Waltham
G Jack Perry, Waltham
G Jackson Irving, St. John’s Prep
NZ’s Honorable Mentions: Nate Romanelli, Duxbury; Jack Venturelli, Duxbury; Jacob Clark, Higham, Trevor O’Brien, Hingham, Dara Conneely, Arlington, Charlie Cook, Concord-Carlisle; Joe Solomine, Austin Pre; Max Pineo Austin Prep; John Surrette, Woburn; Nick Moniz, Woburn; Ben Zaranek Pope Francis; Thomas Milne, Arlington Catholic; Will Jennings, Arlington; Jack Simon, Arlington, Brendan Jones, Arlington, Andrew Malatesta, Arlington; Tony Messuri, Arlington; Kevin Buckley, Marshfield; Matt Lakus, BC High; Aidan Carey, BC High; Chase Congdon, BC High; Hunter Balducci, Framingham; Shane Lachance, Andover; Matty Ryan; Xaverian; Ryan Pomposelli, Xaverian; John Joyce; Xaverian; Dhillon Wilde, St. John’s (S); JT Logue, Waltham; Mike Drew, Winchester, Ryan McCarthy, Winchester; Collin Van Stry, Winchester, Ryan Hart, St. John’s Prep; Ned Malolepszy, St. John’s Prep; Matt Copponi, Mansfield; Makem Demers, Pope Francis; Max Cocchi, Pope Francis; Colin Reddy, St. Mary’s Lynn, Dom Leone, Framingham, Paul Rorke, Marshfield, Dylan Emery, Reading, Donald McCarthy, Lexington
Photo Credit: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images