Our Week #9 NZ Prep Poll did not show any shake up among the top 7 teams, but after that it was wide open. New Hampton jumped into the poll after defeating Exeter 3-0 and pushed the Lions out. It will be quite a race here in the final two weeks of the season over the bottom 3 teams in the prep playoffs as we see 8 legitimate contenders fighting over those 3 spots. 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: (17-0-3) D1: (10-0-2) Previous (#1) This Week: Wins over Middlesex and Governors; Tie to St. Paul’s
NZ’s Take: Tabor remains at #1 after convincing wins over Middlesex and Governors and a tie on the road against St. Paul’s. Defensively stout the Seawolves have allowed just 8 goals against in their last 10 games. Their goal differential in that span is 43-8 so they are beating teams by over 3 goals per game. They have put together quite a resume with a 4-0-2 record against ranked opponents. They’ll have their hands full this week playing #9 BB&N and #2 Nobles.
2. Nobles & Greenough: Overall: (20-0-5) D1: (15-0-4) Previous (#2) This Week: Wins over Groton, BB&N and Westminster
NZ’s Take: Nobles is a talented squad, and even more defensively sound than Tabor, giving up 1 or fewer goals in 23 of their 25 games this season including 11 shutouts. They have an impressive 7-0-3 record against ranked opponents and will head into another busy 3-game week playing Thayer at home and Andover and Tabor on the road. Another week sweep and Nobles will be the new #1 heading into the playoffs. One of only two teams remaining in the league without a loss on their record.
3. Williston Northampton: Overall: (17-1-1) D1: (15-1-1) Previous (#3) This Week: Win over Choate and Tie to Andover
NZ’s Take: Williston gets through a tough week playing a gutsy Choate team and getting a tie on the road against Andover. They are riding a 14-game unbeaten streak going 12-0-2 in that span and outscoring opponents 47-11. Their only loss on the season came back in mid-December against #2 Nobles, but they’ll have their hands full this week traveling to NMH and then a tough home game against #5 Loomis. Their remaining schedule is difficult but it will be a good test as they head into the playoffs.
4. St. Paul’s: Overall: (16-2-3) D1: (10-2-3) Previous (#4) This Week: Win over Pomfret; Tie to Tabor
NZ’s Take: St. Paul’s proved they belong in the mix among the top teams after tying #1 Tabor 1-1 at home. They followed that up with a convincing 7-0 win over Pomfret. They are 5-0-2 in their previous 7 games with 3 shutouts and outscoring opponents 25-6. They have a tough week ahead playing 3 games in 4 days against #9 Exeter, Tilton and Winchendon.
5. Loomis Chaffee: Overall: (13-2-4) D1: (10-2-3) Previous (#5) This Week: Wins over Cushing and Choate
NZ’s Take: Loomis extended their unbeaten streak to 11 games going 10-0-1 and outscoring their opponents 46-9! Other than their loss to #1 Tabor earlier in the season they have beaten all the ranked teams they have faced and have a tie against #2 Nobles. They will face 3 ranked teams in their final 4 games of the season including #3 Williston and #7 Andover in the next 8 days.
6. Kent: Overall: (13-4-0) D1: (8-4-0) Previous (#6) This Week: Wins over Millbrook and Canterbury
NZ’s Take: Kent looks to have rebounded nicely from a 3-game losing streak mid-season and is now 6-1-0 in their last 7 games with wins over Hotchkiss and Taft during that stretch. Their D1 record isn’t overly impressive but 3 of their losses came against teams ranked in the top 5; two of those games were 1-goal games and the other was a 2-goal game. Kent will face Hotchkiss this week before closing out the season with Gunnery and Westminster.
7. Andover: Overall: (9-4-4) D1: (8-4-1) Previous (#7) This Week: Tie to Williston Northampton
NZ’s Take: Andover has rebounded nicely from a 3-game losing streak beating New Hampton last week and getting a tie at home against #3 Williston Northampton. They have three games this upcoming week against #1 Nobles, Milton and Worcester before closing out the final week against #5 Loomis and #8 Exeter. Their road to the playoffs is the most challenging of their rivals but it also gives them a major opportunity if they can string together wins to secure their spot in the playoffs.
8. Hotchkiss: Overall: (11-3-2) D1: (7-3-2) Previous (#10) This Week: Wins over Taft and Lawrenceville
NZ’s Take: Hotchkiss racked up 2 more wins before heading into a crucial week where they’ll face Kent who beat them earlier in the season and Deerfield. Winning those games could propel Hotchkiss into a playoff position heading into the final week of the season. Only 3 losses on the season and they all came against ranked opponents, 2 of which were Kent who they faceoff against this week. We’ll have a much better idea of their playoff chances after these next two games.
9. New Hampton: Overall: (14-6-1) D1: (8-5-1) Previous (NR) This Week: Wins over Exeter and Brewster
NZ’s Take: New Hampton looks to be making a late push for the playoffs after scorching Brewster and Exeter by a 13-0 margin this week. They have proven they can score goals but in 5 of their 6 losses they gave up 3 or more against. They should be favored the rest of the way and will likely need some luck and to run the table to get into the playoffs as they lack signature wins on their resume.
10. BB&N: Overall: (11-6-2) D1: (7-4-2) Previous (#9) This Week: Wins over St. George’s and Worcester; Loss to Nobles
NZ’s Take: BB&N had a strong week defeating 2 DII programs in St. George’s and Worcester Academy and lost to Nobles at home 2-1. They have another 3-game week this week and will face #1 Tabor and then Lawrence and St. Mark’s. They only have 1 win over a ranked opponent which was Andover, but they have played a lot of ranked opponents tight this season and have proven they can skate with anyone.
On the Bubble
Exeter: Overall: (10-6-4) D1: (5-3-2) Exeter came into the week ranked #8 after beating BB&N at home but slipped this week out of the poll after tying D2 KUA and then losing 3-0 to New Hampton. They have a strong schedule remaining playing St. Paul’s, Winchendon and Andover so if they can string together wins against those opponents, they could squeeze into the playoffs but they’ll need to go on a run.
Deerfield Overall: (11-6-3) D1: (8-6-3) Deerfield is playing their best hockey of the year heading into the final two weeks going 12-2-2 in their last 16 games. They tied Westminster and then got a big win against Berkshire. 3 of their last 4 games of the season will be against ranked opponents so if they can make a run late they could find themselves in the playoffs but it’s an uphill climb.
Winchendon Overall: (13-6-4) D1: (6-4-3) Winchendon extended their unbeaten streak to 7 games going 6-0-1 in that stretch with a win over Deerfield. They don’t have the signature wins of many of their rivals but they tied #2 Nobles and #10 BB&N and had a 1 goal loss to #3 Williston. They have 5 games remaining and they’ll play 3 playoff contention teams in Exeter, #3 Williston and #4 St. Paul’s. Their performance against those teams will likely determine their playoff fate.