Here's the way we rank the contenders.
1. Malden Catholic (13-2-2) – It seems like a safe assumption the Lancers will qualify for the Super 8. The squad bolstered its already impressive resume by knocking off No. 2 St. Mary's.
2. St. Mary’s (13-2-3) – It’s not often teams lose a game and slide up a spot, but that’s precisely what the Spartans did Monday. Prior to this week, the big blemish on St. Mary’s resume was an 8-0 loss to Malden Catholic in December. The Spartans proved Monday that they can, in fact, skate with the state’s top teams in a 3-2 loss to the Lancers.
3. Hingham (10-4-4) – The defending Super 8 champs are playing their best hockey of the year. The Harbormen have won four straight –– including three over squads up for Super 8 consideration.
4. St. John’s Prep (10-5-1) – Colin Blackwell and company punched their ticket to the state playoffs Monday in a decisive 6-0 win over No. 11 Woburn. Their reward? A Thursday showdown with No. 12 Arlington Catholic.
5. BC High (9-4-3) – John Flaherty has done an excellent job in his first year coaching the Eagles, taking the squad from the cellar of the Catholic Conference to a favorite for Super 8 qualification. BC High finishes up its conference schedule Tuesday against Xaverian.
6. Catholic Memorial (7-7-1) – The talent is there, as are the marquee victories. The big question, though, is about the points –– namely, will CM have enough of them. The Knights need five points in five games to qualify for the state playoffs. If they get those, they should be a Super 8 shoo-in.
7. Xaverian (8-5-2) – The last of the Catholic Conference teams in this projected field, the Hawks have work to be done. Tough losses to BC High and Malden Catholic this week could drop Xaverian out of the top 10.
8. Weymouth (14-2-1) – It’d be tough to imagine the Wildcats missing out on the Super 8 tournament after maintaining a top 10 spot for much of the season, but a loss to Needham last week could bring things down to the wire. The committee has a, “What have you done for me lately?” reputation, and a loss to Braintree Wednesday could jeopardize the ‘Cats tourney hopes.
9. Central Catholic (12-4-1) – The Raiders should cruise through the remainder of their schedule until the last game of the season –- a potentially crucial showdown with Weymouth on Feb. 24. A potential play-in game before the play-in games? Could be.
10. Billerica (7-1-7) – It’s tough to imagine a non-Catholic Conference team sneaking into the Super 8, but it’s hard to argue against the Indians. The squad just doesn’t lose, and a 1-0-1 record against Central Catholic helps, too. A Merrimack Valley Conference/Dual County League title would probably provide the biggest boost, though.
The next 11 (in order): Woburn, Arlington Catholic, Reading, Needham, Braintree, Cathedral (Springfield), Marshfield, Austin Prep, St. John's (Shrewsbury), Winchester, Barnstable
Several reporters and editors contribute updates, news and analysis to the High School Sports Blog.
- Bob Holmes: A Reading resident (Go Rockets!) and Boston College graduate, Holmes is the Boston Globe High School Sports Editor. We remind you now that his weekly picks are often made in jest so everyone just calm down when he picks against Everett for 11 straight weeks. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHolmes.
- Craig Larson: A native of West Springfield (Leo Durocher anyone? Tim Daggett?) and Curry College graduate (a proud Colonel!), Larson is the sports editor for the Globe's regional sections: South, West and North, as well as a frequent contributor on the college beat. Abington to Xaverian: it all starts with the schools. Have a compelling story idea? Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeLars.
- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our winter correspondents:
- Emily McCarthy | @EmilyMcCahthy | BPS correspondent
- Jake Fischer | @GlobeFischer | Boys basketball
- Michelle Fenelon | @michfenelon | Girls basketball
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Boys hockey
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls hockey
To reach the high school sports department, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.