The picture is finally starting to come into focus.
Nearly a month into the high school hockey season, we’re finally getting a sense of what’s going on around the state. Contenders are starting to emerge, pretenders are beginning to falter, and what we viewed as marquee wins or losses two weeks ago have either been reaffirmed or quietly fallen by the wayside.
Without further ado, here is an explanation of this week’s Globe Top 20 for boys’ hockey, which includes a new team in the top spot.
1. BC High (6-0-2) – What a week to be BC High forward Patrick Kramer. The junior from Bridgewater dished out four assists in a 5-3 win over three-time defending Super 8 champion (and last week’s No. 1) Malden Catholic, gave a verbal commitment to play hockey at Merrimack College, scored a goal to help bring his team back from a 2-0 third-period deficit to tie Bishop Hendricken (R.I.), and now his Eagles have reached the apex of the Globe Top 20. We’d like to think the latter means the most to him.
2. Malden Catholic (6-1-0) – Gone is the 15-game win streak, which fell at the hands of the top-ranked Eagles, but the Lancers will get (at least) one more shot at their league rivals in early February. For now, MC faces three games in six days starting Saturday with the Delbarton School from New Jersey.
3. Cathedral (Springfield) (8-1-1) – Since losing to Archbishop Williams Dec. 21, the Panthers have averaged nearly seven goals per game. Juniors D.J. Petruzzelli (11-18--29) and Peter Crinella (15-11--26) are hot on the trail of 50-point campaigns.
4. Austin Prep (5-2-2) – The Cougars seem to have turned the corner after going 0-2-2 two weeks ago, hanging six on Archbishop Williams before thumping Bishop Fenwick, 11-0. If and when they hit their stride, early-season woes should be all but forgotten.
5. Arlington Catholic (6-0-1) – A 3-3 tie on the road against No. 4 Austin Prep and a 4-2 win over No. 6 Central Catholic say quite a bit about the resurgent Cougars. The rematch against AP Jan. 25 – potentially with the pole position in Catholic Central on the line – should say even more.
6. Central Catholic (7-1-1) – The senior line of Lloyd Hayes (4-14--18), Corey Webber (6-11--17), and Alex Lester (8-7--15) has been one of the better lines in the state since the calendar flipped to January. That success will have to carry into Wednesday when the Raiders host No. 3 Springfield Cathedral.
7. Catholic Memorial (6-1-0) – Aside from the 2-1 loss to Framingham, everything has gone well to this point for Bill Hanson’s Knights. However, they’ve yet to hit the meat of their schedule; seven of eight Catholic Conference bouts still remain.
8. St. John’s Shrewsbury (6-2-1) -- The Pioneers have had a nice turnaround from their 7-11-4 campaign a year ago, but they have yet to notch a marquee win on the season. Come time to select the Super 8 field, they will need one or two for the resume.
9. Xaverian (6-1-2) – The Hawks fell behind No. 2 Malden Catholic, 5-1, before mounting a spirited comeback, ultimately losing 5-4 Saturday evening. Freshman goalie Aidan Murphy (2.14 GAA) is only going to get better.
10. Marshfield (6-3-0) – The Rams lost three straight to Top 10 teams earlier in the season, two of which came by one goal. However, the line of senior Dave Cataldo (8-8--16), junior Pat Shea (6-13--19), and sophomore JoJo Carbone (5-11--16) firmly places Marshfield as one of the best public school programs in the state.
11. Reading (6-2-1) – The amount of turnover the Rockets faced this season had them destined for a down season. Instead, they are comfortably nestled atop the Middlesex Liberty Division – again. Goalie Ian Lapham (2.22 GAA) has had a lot to do with that.
12. St. John’s Prep (3-4-1) – The Eagles are 0-3-1 in Catholic Conference play, but picked up a meaningful point by tying No. 9 Xaverian 5-5 last week. They are a solid team on defense (led by quad-captain Ean Mendeszoon), but replacing the offensive production of Brian Pinho wasn’t going to happen overnight.
13. Milton (8-1-0) – A 4-1 loss to Walpole finally put an end to the Wildcats’ perfect season, but they still hold the top spot in the Bay State Herget and average nearly four goals per game.
14. Winchester (3-2-4) – The 3-3 tie against a hot Reading team this past Saturday could be a bad sign for teams in Middlesex Liberty. Considered one of the best public schools in the state coming into the season, Winchester has what it takes to make a run in the season’s second half.
15. Burlington (4-1-3) – Three of the last four games have ended in a tie for the Red Devils – all against teams that are .500 and above – but they haven’t allowed more than three goals in a game since a 6-1 loss to Reading nearly a month ago.
16. St. Mary’s (Lynn) (6-4-1) – Goalie Bailey MacBurnie (1.55 GAA) has been the difference-maker for the Spartans, who are averaging only a hair north of two goals per game on offense.
17. Archbishop Williams (3-3-1) – A 3-2 win over No. 3 Springfield Cathedral is a distant memory at this point as the Bishops have dropped recent contests to No. 16 St. Mary’s (Lynn), No. 8 St. John’s (Shrewsbury), and No. 4 Austin Prep. They have three games to get back on track before hosting No. 5 Arlington Catholic at the end of January.
18. Beverly (9-0-1) – They might be the best team in Division 2, but a 1-1 tie against one-win Canton hurts. Junior defenseman Nick Albano (3-16--19) has been a nice blue line complement to forward Connor Irving (10-13--23).
19. Wilmington (5-1-4) – Ties against Burlington and Watertown and a 4-1 win over Melrose have put Steve Scanlon’s team in the thick of the Middlesex Freedom hunt.
20. Medfield (6-1-1) – The goaltending carousel seems to be working for the Warriors, who are clinging to the top spot in a very competitive Tri-Valley League. Senior Dan Graham, junior Steve Ledogar, and sophomore Matt Malvese have all played at least two games in net.
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.