NZ Prep returns week #6 with an updated prep poll seeing several new teams enter the Top 10. Since our last poll we have seen every team in the poll lose at least one game with the exception of undefeated Avon Old Farms who securely owns the #1 position and Brunswick coming in at #2; the highest they’ve been ranked since NZ Prep site launched.
1. Avon Old Farms (13-0-1) – Since the tie to Kent in December, Avon has snapped off five straight dominant wins out-scoring their opponents 22-3 in that stretch for a sub 1.00 GAA. They are the deepest and most talented team in the league; they have depth at every position, team speed and can win in a low scoring – tight checking game or win in a high-octane shootout type. Well-oiled machine with three straight Connecticut teams coming up this week: Loomis, Westminster and Choate.
2. Brunswick (14-1-2) – Brunswick continues their hot streak going undefeated since their only loss in November to Loomis Chaffee. They are winning every tournament they are entered in and have scored five or more goals in all of their last five games. The team is clicking on all levels, special teams, even strength, goaltending, team scoring and a balanced attack. This team plays fast, gritty and a selfless, winning brand of hockey that is on an impressive run through December and January. The road will get tougher for them in February as they’ll open against Cushing, Frederick Gunn, Berkshire and Salisbury.
3. Holderness School (14-1-0) – The Bulls were handed their first loss of the season to Lakes Region rival New Hampton which moves them down a spot but since winning the Lawrence Groton Holiday Tournament; Holderness is 6-1-0 averaging over six goals per game in that stretch. The highest powered offense in prep this season averaging over six goals per season with 102 goals in 15 games. They have Brewster and Kents Hill this upcoming week as well as a rematch game with New Hampton on Saturday.
4. Kimball Union (15-2-0) – The Wildcats slid one spot on the rankings after losing to Stanstead this week but prior to that game KUA was on a dominant streak winning 14 straight NEPSHIA games including scoring 47 goals in their previous five games; which is a daunting 9.4 goals per game average. KUA has a versatile team; they have size, speed, depth and forwards who can finish their opportunities.
5. Cushing Academy (15-2-0) – The Penguins have rebounded very well since their holiday tournament going undefeated in the month of January giving up just six goals in six games for a 1.00 GAA in that stretch. This is a team built from the goal out who are finding ways to score and coming off an impressive streak of wins over quality teams in Salisbury, Deerfield and Thayer. They’ll face NMH at home this week and go on the road to Exeter.
6. St. Georges (12-2-1) – St. George’s had their first loss since November falling to Brooks 3-1 at home but have gone 8-1-1 in their last 10 games with quality wins over St. Mark’s and Groton. This team has not lost a game this season when they score 2+ goals. New Head Coach Allie Skelley will play his former school Portsmouth Abbey on Monday and will follow that up with a tough stretch of Dexter on the road and at home against Milton.
7. Loomis Chaffee (10-3-1) – Loomis is 3-1-1 in their last five games but have had a daunting schedule this month and it won’t get any easier as they face #1 Avon and #10 Andover this week. If they can knock off Avon on Wednesday; they’ll have wins over the #1 and #2 ranked teams in the league. The bright side for the Pelicans is they’ll play six of their next seven games at home.
8. Salisbury School (11-4-0) – The Crimson Knights have just one loss since Christmas break which came on the road to #5 ranked Cushing but have five wins, two of which were revenge victories to teams that had beaten them earlier in the season. Salisbury will be tested again this week with Frederick Gunn and Berkshire coming to town and still have a a tough schedule ahead so every win will matter as they head into February. One of the most dangerous teams in prep as they have been ranked in the bottom of the top ten most the season but have the size, depth and discipline to beat anyone in the league.
9. Andover (11-4-1) – Andover is a team that has been hot and cold for stretches; they started the season with six straight wins and then went 2-2-0 at the Flood Marr only to return from school and lose to Choate. They went on to win four straight against four quality teams and looked to be on a run before a tight 1-0 loss to a talented Noble & Greenough squad. They play Winchendon at home before heading to #7 ranked Loomis Chaffee for a big contest that could have playoff implications down the road.
10. Noble & Greenough (10-4-2) – There were four teams that were fighitng for the final spot in the poll but we gave the nod to Nobles because of their number of quality wins including four in their last eight games (St. Sebastian’s, Berkshire, Lawrence and #9 Andover). They are 5-1-0 in their last six games and look to be finding more consistency in their game. They face two teams over .500 in Rivers and St. Sebastian’s this week.
Honorable Mentions: Lawrence, Belmont Hill, Dexter
Photo Credit: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images