The calendar finally says February and that means the Super 8 hockey tournament is just around the corner. With the selection meeting scheduled for Feb. 26, the Globe starts today with a look at who will make it, what the seeds might be, and who’s on the bubble.
1. Malden Catholic (9-2-2) – There are few certainties among this Super 8 list, but one of them is that Malden Catholic is the most talented high school team in Massachusetts. MC’s Hockey East-bound top line of Mike Vecchione, Brendan Collier, and Ryan Fitzgerald have combined for more goals this year (41) than six of the teams on this top 10 list.
2. Catholic Memorial (7-5-1) – After the Lancers, everything gets murky. The thinking here is the Knight’s struggling offense (2.846 goals per game) is more due to bad puck luck than a lack of finishing skill. At the same time, CM missed on multiple point-blank chances against Malden in a 1-1 tie last week, and some guys might be gripping the sticks a bit too tight.
3. Xaverian (7-3-1) – The Hawks can skate with any team in Massachusetts, save for perhaps the Lancers –– we’ll get our answer to that when the teams square off Wednesday. When Xaverian hasn’t been able to outskate and outwork opponents, goaltender Dave Michaels has been a savior, as was the case in a 3-2 win over CM on Jan. 15.
4. St. John’s Prep (7-4-1) – Preseason, everyone wanted to know how far Harvard-bound Colin Blackwell could carry the Eagles. The supporting cast may not be what Chris Serino is working with in Malden, but Kristian Hanson’s squad is plenty skilled, evidenced by its 5.167 goals per game.
5. Weymouth (12-1-1) – The Wildcats have emerged as the Bay State Conference’s top squad, and solidified their standing as a Super 8 contender by knocking off Hingham 5-2 on the Harbormen’s home ice. Still ahead on the Weymouth schedule: Needham, St Mary’s, Braintree, CM, and Central Catholic.
6. St. Mary’s (9-1-3) – The Spartans have emerged as the Catholic Central’s strongest squad, evidenced by a 6-0-3 league record. St. Mary’s is veteran-laden and plays well within coach Mark Lee’s system, and are backed by Donald Hesse (1.660 goals-against average) in net.
7. Central Catholic (9-3-0) – After struggling to a 1-3 start, the Raiders have gone 8-0 in January, including big wins over No. 11 Arlington Catholic and St. John’s Prep. With perhaps the easiest schedule left of any team on this list, it’s up to Central Catholic to keep its collective foot on the gas for a potential Super 8 appearance.
8. Hingham (6-4-4) – The Harbormen have slid hard since knocking off Malden Catholic on Jan. 15, having dropped contests to No. 10 Reading and Cathedral (Springfield) and settling for a tie with No. 17 Marshfield. Hingham didn’t do itself any favors in a 5-2 loss to Weymouth Monday night, either.
9. BC High (7-3-3) – Only once, in 2008, have all five Catholic Conference squads qualified for the Super 8. This year could easily become the second. The Eagles are just two points out of second place in the league, and a resume highlighted by a 3-3 tie to MC and a 2-1 win over Xaverian.
10. Reading (9-3-1) – The Middlesex league is incredibly competitive right now, and the Rockets are standing out primarily on their out-of-conference resume, highlighted by a 2-2 tie with Arlington Catholic and a 3-2 win over Hingham. Reading’s forecheck is a force to be reckoned with, and the team’s highly aggressive style forces opponents to make quick decisions on the breakout –– not a strength on most high school hockey squads.
Bubble watch: Arlington Catholic, Braintree, Woburn, Wakefield
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.