Now that we are well into the season, we will be posting Power Rankings every Monday. This past week saw some prime time games with highly entertaining play. We made it to six games and most of it was close action, including a 4-3 overtime win for U-32 over Rutland in a battle of Raiders. Next week has some big match ups including Colchester @ South Burlington on Tuesday, BFA-St. Albans @ Rice Memorial on Wednesday, and Rice @ Colchester on Saturday. Records are for Vermont High School play only.
1. Essex Hornets (5-0-0)
Essex is first in our RPI (rating percentage index) rankings. We saw them handle South Burlington Saturday night in an entertaining bout. As the top team, they are sure to get the most from their opponents in each game. They are a deep team that can skate and outlast teams with their conditioning and ability to roll the lines. They capitalize on opportunities and have an excellent goaltender in Ian Boutin. They have only allowed 6 goals in 5 games played.
2. Mt. Mansfield Cougars (6-1-0)
The Cougars are second in our RPI rankings. They defeated Burlington and Middlebury this week. They are similar to Essex in that they can all skate. However, where Essex has an entourage of scorers, it seems that Alec Spensley and Alex Brown are the major players when it comes to scoring. They have strong secondary scoring as well, and play cohesive as a team.
3. South Burlington Wolves (5-3-0)
Despite losing 7-2 to Essex on Saturday evening, this team has firepower. This game was close until halfway through the third and was almost 4-3 with a lot of momentum for the Wolves. They have moved some pieces around in their lineup and we anticipate that this team will improve as they settle in. They are serious about winning and brought the fight from the start of the game against Essex. They have one of the most difficult schedules which will make them playoff ready when the time comes.
4. Rice Memorial Green Knights (3-1-1)
The Green Knights have two wins over CVU and a tie (tournament loss) with Colchester. We should get some clarity on these teams when they face off again on the 14th. CVU has shown to be a solid team, thus those are solid wins for Rice. We will know more after this week as we aim to catch this team twice.
5. U-32 Raiders (4-1-0)
In what was the most entertaining game that Neutral Zone has seen this season, U-32 came out on top against a Rutland team that doesn’t go away. U-32 lost to South Burlington but bounced back and remained resilient against Rutland. They have a stretch in their schedule where they play Hartford, Burlington, Mt. Mansfield, and CVU within 10 days. This will test the Raiders.
6. Colchester Lakers (5-1-2)
The Lakers are 8th in our RPI rankings. They defeated Spaulding 8-0 then tied them 1-1 just five days later. We will see them in action this week as they have big matchups against South Burlington and Rice Memorial.
7. BFA-St. Albans Bobwhites (2-0-1)
BFA is starting to play more games against Vermont opponents and we will see them in action this week against Rice. We have only seen them once so far this year in a 4-2 win against Spaulding. Defenseman Colby Phelps is an impact player for the Bobwhites with a lot of upside to his game. We will see what they can do as they get into the thick of their schedule.
8. Hartford Hurricanes (4-2-0)
Hartford has gone on a reign of terror since two early season defeats to Essex and Colchester. They have outscored opponents 35 to 12. We will be excited to see their match-ups against Burr & Burton and U-32.
Burlington (5-1-0), CVU (4-4-1), Rutland (5-3-0), Stowe (3-3-0)