With a few weeks to catch up on scores and further focus on evaluations, we have taken the morning to review where the teams stand. It seems that it could be anyone’s game in the Division One world with Rice shutting out Essex recently, while Mt. Mansfield remains red hot and stands at 15-1. Below are our thoughts on some of the top teams in the state.
1. Mt. Mansfield Cougars (15-1-0)
The Cougars are riding a 13-game heater and this train has absolutely no signs of slowing down. Essex holds a narrow edge in the RPI rankings, but we are giving the Cougars the nod here. We would have loved to see them play more D-1 opponents this year, but the road will still be difficult with Missisquoi, Milton and Hartford standing as the last games.
2. Rice Memorial Green Knights (11-4-2)
Rice just defeated Essex in a convincing 3-0 fashion after losing to Colchester 2-1 earlier in the week. The Green Knights have a number of players that can rise to the occasion, including two star freshman. While we only caught the third period of their tilt versus Essex, we feel they looked strong despite the result against Colchester. A reliable goalie in Andrew Libby will give them a serious chance in any game.
3. Essex Hornets (10-4-1)
We saw Essex and CVU face off earlier last week. Essex seems to be improving and allowing their depth to shine. They have a dedicated fanbase that seems to really fuel their fire at home, however, they were blanked by Rice on Saturday. These things happen. The Hornets remain a power house that has the structure and coaching to win another championship.
4. U-32 Raiders (12-2-1)
The Raiders jumped back on the win train after a tough loss to the Cougars a couple weeks back. While the games have been a little closer than we might expect for them, they have the look of a team that will stand a strong chance come playoffs.
5. Colchester Lakers (8-3-5)
They have only won 1 in their last 5, but that includes ties with Essex and South Burlington with a huge win over Rice. Yet another team in the center of the mix for a D-1 title. They can hang around and then attack when it matters most as they have gotten some opportunistic goal scoring from its team.
6. Hartford Hurricanes (13-3-0)
This is a very well coached and disciplined team that plays a fast game. They pose a threat to beat MMU any time, any place, and they are sure to face off at least one more time this year.
7. South Burlington Wolves (8-5-3)
Like any team on this list, we would not be surprised if they end up winning the title. Ever since a tough loss to Essex, they have been in every game and have won three key games. An entertaining team to keep an eye on in the final weeks.
8. Spaulding Crimson Tide (4-9-3)
Despite winning four of 16 games. The Crimson Tide has clearly shown that they can win games and have impact players. With notable wins over CVU, BFA, and Colchester to go with a recent tie with South Burlington, not to mention a close battle with Essex, this team has a chance to do some damage. This team assured us early in the season that they would not go away and were close in these games that they were losing. The beautiful thing is that they will have a legitimate chance to win it all.