Wednesday, April 23, 2014

CMass Lax Power Rankings: 4/22/14

St. John's All American Drew Smiley
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

Well, I think we can now say we have two Central Mass front-runners, and both of them reside in Shrewsbury.

Defending Central Mass champion St. John's put on a clinic last week, blasting regional power Grafton and Eastern Mass foe Mansfield by a combined score of 24-7. Meanwhile, cross-town rival Shrewsbury handed Algonquin its first Mid Wach loss in over three seasons, and held the T-Hawks to only one goal in the process. They followed that performance up with a 17-2 drubbing of previously unbeaten Littleton, and a 10-1 dismantling of Grafton.

That sets up a massive showdown this Saturday, as the Colonials will welcome St. John's for a game with definite playoff seeding implications. While Western Mass power Longmeadow is everyone's favorite in the new Division 2 Central/West (and my favorite for the whole state), whoever wins that game will be considered CMass' best chance at getting a team to BU at season's end.

So, since we were delayed by Marathon Monday and an early game on Tuesday, here are your special Wednesday Central Mass Power Rankings.

1. St. John's: 7-0, 0-0 Catholic Conf. D2             Last Week: 1
2. Shrewsbury: 9-0, 5-0 Midland A. D2              Last Week: 2
3. Westboro: 5-1, 4-1 Midland A. D2                  Last Week: 5
4. Algonquin: 5-3, 4-1 Midland A. D2                Last Week: 4
5. Worcester: 5-0, 5-0 Mid Mass. D2                  Last Week: NR

Dropped Out: Grafton (7-3)
In the Hunt: Groton-Dunstable (5-3), Nashoba (3-5)

Like I said, St. John's and Shrewsbury are firmly locked into the top-2 spots, and I wouldn't expect that to change, regardless of Saturday's result (though the Colonials could claim the top spot with a win). Then you have Westboro, coming off a 24-5 thrashing of Hudson. Those are some big scoring numbers, but really they're climbing our rankings based on what those previously above them did last week.

Algonquin and Grafton each dropped a pair of games, though admittedly to elite competition. The T-Hawks remain in our standings because they picked up a nice win over Minnechaug in between defeats.

Grafton lost it's two biggest games of the year so far, falling to St. John's and Shrewsbury by a combined score of 21-2. The Indians have looked dominant against everybody else, but thoughts of them not missing All Americans Tyler Reilly and Bryan Rotatori may have been a bit premature.

Making their Power Rankings debut, and looking for their first ever district playoff berth, is the Worcester Combined team. The Telegram and Gazette's Carl Setterlund did a great story on this team's amazing start, and I suggest you give it a read right here.

In the hunt I don't know what to make of anybody. G-D doesn't have a bad loss on their resume, but they haven't been able to win their big games against the likes of Gonk, Shrewsbury and Westboro. It's largely the same story for Nashoba, who actually lost to G-D by one goal Saturday, but the Chieftains bounced back to beat Tyngsboro behind 19 saves from sophomore goalie Robbie Atwood.

Game(s) of the Week: St. John's at Shrewsbury; Sunday at 3:30 pm (Originally scheduled for Saturday at 11 am)

I discussed the marquee match up between St. John's attackman Drew Smiley and Shrewsbury defenseman Griffin Couture in my post game blog yesterday, so I won't get into that again here. What I will say is the winner of this game will be considered the top team in Central Mass the rest of the way, and have the inside track to a top-2 seed in the Division 2 Central/West district tournament.

These two teams have clearly separated themselves from the pack, and the high-powered St. John's attack should serve as the perfect foil to Shrewsbury's smothering defense. Expect a physical battle, and be sure to check back with me on Twitter for updates of the game in progress.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

GD beat Nashoba 11-6 after Nashoba went up 6-0 in the first 15 minutes of the game.