February 9 – Today marks our fourth in-season poll and now we are getting perilously close to the end of the season. The end of year tournaments are roughly a week away and the Selection Meeting is looming in 11 days down in Franklin at MIAA HQ. As all Mass HS fans know, this has been a very volatile season in terms of wins, losses and ties. No one team has really set the pace: although there are a select few teams who have come away with big wins and stayed consistently in our Top 5. This week there were a lot of the same names from our previous polls but a lot of moving and shifting is going on. Here is how we see things shaking out for Poll 4:
We have a new top team this week! We came close to installing Arlington as our top team in Poll #3, but they further solidified the top spot for Poll #4 with a stellar two weeks, winning four out of their five games. Back near the top is a resurgent BC High, who shrugged off a tough stretch to take down top programs CM, Xaverian and St. Mary’s Lynn (and tying our top seed in Arlington). Next up is familiar Top 5 team Framingham who is having quite a year to this point and is only one of four teams in the state tallying 12 wins. Coming in at four is a big surprise in Natick: the Redhawks have been red hot as of late going 4-0 over the past two weeks and having won eight in a row. Most recently they shut out Framingham and beat a good Shrewsbury team as well. Rounding out our Top 5 is Burlington, who did not lose any games over the past two weeks and is still a top contender for the Super 8, but left some points on the table against Wakefield and Belmont.
Coming in at six is Xaverian who finished the week at .500 going 2-2-0 in their last 5. They are followed by Pope Francis, who moves down one spot, but had a great week, winning the Pope Francis Invitational over Delbarton (NJ) and Bishop Hendricken (RI). At eight we have Austin Prep who are undefeated in their last three but they have a tough test on the way against Pope Francis this week. Movin’ on up are the Harbormen of Hingham who had a terrific week by knocking off Pope Francis and Duxbury while tying Reading as well. At ten we have the Eagles of St. John’s Prep who continue to rack up ties (vs. Andover) while also laying the smackdown on Newburyport 10-1.
The bottom five of Poll #4 continue to be quite volatile with numerous teams jockeying for position. At 11 we have Catholic Memorial, who had an up and down week: defeating Xaverian and a surging Malden Catholic, but losing to BC High. Moving up a couple of spots is Shrewsbury who continues to play well as an independent team. Back in the Top 15 is Duxbury who had a strong couple of weeks at 4-2; with their defense and goaltending, they will be a tough out in the playoffs. Next comes Top 15 mainstay Central Catholic who won three games out of four, including one against a good Waltham squad, but lost last night to an upstart Andover team. Finally, we have our biggest shift with St. Mary’s Lynn moving from the Top 5 down to 15 after a tough 1-3-0 stretch. They have all kinds of talent and athleticism on their roster, but they have found it tough taking on Top 15 teams going 1-2-1 relative to this poll.
Unlike most polls: we like to keep our list to 15, but don’t worry…we also included a section below highlighting The Next Five: teams who just missed the cut. There is a great deal of season left and these are teams you will likely see jump up into our poll at some point if they remain on their current trajectory…
Editor’s Note: We took into account strength of schedule, wins against fellow Top 15 teams and recent record (i.e. games over the last two weeks). We have personally scouted all of these Top 15 teams and all but one of the Next Five as well.
- Arlington 12-1-3 def Reading 2x & Burlington, tie BCH & Pope Francis [4-0-1]🔺
- BC High 10-3-3 def Framingham, CC, SJP, CM, Xav., SML, tie SJP, Arlington [3-0-1]🔺
- Framingham 12-4-2 def Braintree & Pope Francis, tie Xaverian [2-1-0]🔺
- Natick 12-2-3 def Braintree, Shrewsbury, Framingham tie Duxbury [4-0-0]🔺
- Burlington 12-3-3 def Hingham tie Belmont [2-0-3]🔻
- Xaverian 10-4-4 def BC High & CC, tie Austin Prep, Framingham, CM [2-2-0]🔻
- Pope Francis 9-4-2 def Austin Prep, BC High & Arlington, tie Arlington [2-1-0]🔻
- Austin Prep 9-5-3 def CC, Hingham, St. Mary’s Lynn tie Xaverian [2-0-1]🔺
- Hingham 9-4-3 def Braintree, SJP, Duxbury, PF tie CM, SML [2-0-1] 🔺
- St. John’s Prep 8-4-5 def Xav. 2x, Framingham, PF, AP, tie BCH, CM [2-1-1]🔻
- Catholic Memorial 8-4-5 def SJP, BCH, Xav. tie Xav., Hingham, SJP [2-1-0]🔻
- Shrewsbury 11-3-2 [5-0-0] def Framingham [2-1-0]🔺
- Duxbury 11-4-3 [4-2-0] NR
- Central Catholic 10-7-1 def Hingham, Waltham & Pope Francis [3-1-0]🔻
- St. Mary’s Lynn 10-5-2 def Austin Prep, tie Hingham [1-3-0]🔻
The Next Five:
- Braintree 10-4-2 [2-1-1]🔻
- Falmouth 11-6-1 def Barnstable [3-1-0] NR
- Barnstable 10-5-2 [4-2-0] NR
- Waltham 11-5-1 [2-2-0]
- Belmont 9-4-4 tied Burlington [2-1-2] NR