Neutral Zone spent MLK Day 2017 at the O’Brien rink in Woburn, MA for the inaugural Middlesex League/Catholic Conference challenge. Ten teams played five games with the Catholic Conference going 3-0-2. It featured seven of Massachusetts’ top 15 teams by most rankings.
St. John’s Prep handled Woburn; Xaverian beat Reading and BC High blew out Winchester in the first three matchups. The last two games featured the best action of the night with two ties. Catholic Memorial and Arlington ended in a tie in a back and forth, fast game. In the night cap Burlington tied up defending Super Eight Champ Malden Catholic 1-1 in a gritty, hard fought battle.
In our opinion based on just these games we would rank the teams as follows:
- BC High-Big, heavy, skilled team that can play a number of ways.
- Malden Catholic-Lacked offensive creativity but made very few mistakes.
- Arlington-Played the fastest of any team here. Aggressive and in straight lines. Have experience.
- Catholic Memorial-Tough, gritty and good in all three zones. They will only get better.
- St. John’s Prep-Good along the blue line. Skilled but light up front.
- Xaverian-Not much depth and they seemed to wear down through stretches.
- Burlington-The toughest team perhaps here. Very well coached. Patient and opportunistic.
- Reading-Above average public team right now. Must find scoring from their second group.
- Woburn-Solid public school team but overmatched here.
- Winchester-Totally outclassed by a BC High team that could win it all.
Below are players we noticed throughout the day. Profiles below are linked to players’ names. Most players here are new to us at Neutral Zone. Profiles will be updated as we gain more information over time.
We placed each player in a grade category. That grade is for these games only and in no particular order. Grades are in relation to others on this list.
Thomas Kramer #27 (F, So. BC High; 2000)-Kramer is big and balanced. He played all 200 feet. He used his large frame and reach to protect pucks in all three zones. He scored a goal and went about his business. He was just OK in transition and on the rush but his game is built for success below the dots. He needs some work on his first step. We really liked his game and he has a high ceiling. Grade: A
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