Our Week #8 NZ Prep Poll has been compiled after our scouts have had the opportunity to watch each team at least once. Our ranking system is based on pooled reports from our scouting staff and also heavily relying on RPI rankings and record against ranked opponents.
NZ Prep Poll D1 Top 10
1. Tabor: Overall: (15-0-2) D1: (10-0-1) This Week: Wins over Andover, Lawrence and St. Mark’s
NZ’s Take: Tabor is one of the two remaining undefeated teams left in prep hockey. They are playing particularly well defensively allowing just 1 goal or less in 13 of their 17 games. Their goal differential is a +62 which means they are averaging beating their opponents by nearly 4 goals each game. They have some quality wins on their resume including Andover, Brooks, Kent, New Hampton, Westminster and Loomis but their toughest test of the season may come this week against St. Paul’s. The top team in the league but they have two ranked teams coming up on the schedule in St. Paul’s and Nobles which could change things.
2. Nobles & Greenough: Overall: (17-0-5) D1: (13-0-4) This Week: Wins over St. Georges and Brooks
NZ’s Take: Nobles is the other team in the league with an undefeated record. They only rank behind Tabor because they don’t have as many signature wins but they are without question the best defensive team in the league. They have given up only 13 goals in 22 games which comes out to be less than 1 goal per game. They have given up 1 goal or less in 21 of their 22 games including and amazing 10 shutouts. They have several quality wins including Brooks, Exeter, Kent, Westminster and New Hampton as well as ties against Rivers, Westminster, Loomis and St. Paul’s. They have a busy week playing 3 games in 4 days against Westminster, Groton and BB&N.
3. Williston Northampton: Overall: (16-1-0) D1: (14-1-0) This Week: Win over Taft
NZ’s Take: Williston has only one loss on the season which was during the Holiday Tournaments versus Nobles. Since then they are 11-0-1 winning by a combined score of 44-9. Their biggest win of the season so far was in their first week against St. Paul’s, but they’ll face three more ranked teams before the end of the season in Andover, Loomis and BB&N. They are right up there in the same class as Nobles and Tabor.
4. St. Paul’s: Overall: (15-2-2) D1: (9-2-2) This Week: Wins over St. Mark’s and New Hampton
NZ’s Take: St. Paul’s is one of the best team in prep hockey but they are placed at fourth because of their only 9 wins against D1 teams and their 2 losses as the teams above them are undefeated or 1 loss teams with double digit wins against D1 competition. With that being said, there two ties on the season came against #2 ranked Nobles and their two losses were 1 goal losses to ranked teams in Andover and #3 Williston (which came in the first week of the season). What makes St. Paul’s dangerous is that they are scoring nearly 4 goals a game and have beaten some talented teams in BB&N, New Hampton and two ties against #2 Nobles. A contender in the playoffs.
5. Loomis Chaffee: Overall: (11-2-4) D1: (8-2-3) This Week: Win over Gunnery
NZ’s Take: Loomis, like St. Paul’s, has single digit wins against D1 competition; however, they also have wins over ranked teams in BB&N and Kent as well as a tie against #2 Nobles. Undefeated in their last 9 games going 8-0-1 in that stretch outscoring opponents by a 34-8 margin. They had a tough 5-0 loss to Tabor but in their other 3 games against ranked opponents they did not give up a single goal! They’ll face Andover and Williston on the road later in the month which will go a long way in determining their playoff seeding, but nobody would be surprised to see Loomis make a run in the playoffs.
6. Kent: Overall: (11-4-0) D1: (8-4-0) This Week: Win over Hotchkiss
NZ’s Take: Kent got off to great start this season winning 7 straight but then slipped to a 2-4-0 record over their next six games. However, they have played two solid teams in Taft and Hotchkiss in their last two contest and won both by a convincing 12-2 margin. While they have 4 losses on the season, it is of note that 3 of those came against #1 Tabor, #2 Nobles and #5 Loomis and those games were 3-4, 1-2 and 0-2. Kent has Hotchkiss left on the schedule for ranked teams and a tough-to-play-against Westminster but if they can string some wins together late in the season they’ll likely climb the playoff standings.
7. Andover: Overall: (8-4-3) D1: (8-4-1) This Week: Wins over Milton and Governors; Loss to Exeter
NZ’s Take: Andover is an interesting team in that they have played nearly all of their games against D1 competition with the exception of D2 powerhouse Brooks and affiliate program Lawrenceville whom they tied both. Against D1 competition they have posted an 8-4-1 record against a difficult schedule. They have wins against #4 St. Paul’s, which was on the road, and New Hampton. Their 4 losses came against #9 BB&N, #1 Tabor, #6 Kent and Deerfield. They have 4 ranked teams left on the schedule so they have quite a challenge ahead, including the next two games are against #2 Nobles and #3 Williston but if they can win some of those games it could secure a playoff berth and give them confidence going into it.
8. Exeter: Overall: (10-5-3) D1: (5-2-2) This Week: Wins over Brewster, Southfield and BB&N
NZ’s Take: Exeter is coming off a big week picking up three wins including a top 10 opponent in BB&N. They are a talented team and beating BB&N was their first signature win of the season, but they have also had some blunders going 5-3-1 against D2 or affiliate teams and prior to this week going 1-3-0 in their previous 4. They have held teams to a goal against or less in 10 of their 18 games but they’ll need to knock off some teams ranked above them down the stretch in order to lock up their place in the playoffs. They will face New Hampton, #4 St. Paul’s, Winchendon and #7 Andover in the coming weeks which will all have major playoff implications.
9. BB&N: Overall: (9-5-2) D1: (7-3-2) This Week: Wins over Milton and Governors; Loss to Exeter
NZ’s Take: BB&N has had a really tough strength of schedule and have played some of the top teams to close games but have the top three teams in the league still left on their schedule. They had a tough stretch in January going 0-4-2 from Jan 6 – Jan 23 but before then were 5-1 and after then were 4-1 so they have been playing their best hockey as of late. A most recent loss to Exeter set them back a little but if they can prove themselves against the three top teams in the coming weeks BB&N could make some noise and secure a playoff spot.
10. Hotchkiss: Overall: (9-3-2) D1: (6-3-2) This Week: Loss to Kent, Win over Berkshire
NZ’s Take: Hotchkiss is having a great season with only 3 losses on the year, all of which came against ranked competition in #6 Kent (twice) and #3 Williston and they have 2 ties against ranked teams in #5 Loomis and #7 Andover. They will face Kent one more time and Deerfield but despite Taft and Choate being sub .500 teams, they have both proven they can upset ranked teams, so Hotchkiss will have their hands full in the final weeks of the season. If they can keep the momentum going they have a chance to make a playoff spot.
On the Bubble
New Hampton Overall: (12-6-1) D1: (7-5-1) New Hampton has a talented team and they play a tough schedule but their 0-4-1 record against ranked teams and 7-5-1 isn’t quite enough to make the Top 10, but they still have a shot at playoffs and would be a high seed that nobody wants to play against.
Deerfield Overall: (10-6-2) D1: (7-6-2) Deerfield is a solid team who is just missing the poll because of their record against ranked competition 1-3-2 but they were 0-3-1 going into Christmas tournaments against ranked competition and have been 1-0-1 in the second half of the season and are on a 8-2-1 run in their last 11 games. Their last 3 games of the season are against ranked opponents so those games will determine their playoff hopes.
Winchendon Overall: (10-6-4) D1: (5-4-3) Winchendon is a tough team to handicap because they aren’t streaky, they haven’t had many signature wins but they play everyone tough and have proven they can match up against anyone. In their last 10 games they are 5-2-3 with a win over Deerfield and ties to #2 Nobles and #9 BB&N; there losses were against New Hampton and D2 Rivers. Another team with an outside chance of making playoffs but needs to beat Exeter, St. Paul’s and Williston down the stretch.
Photo Credit: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images