Monday, April 18, 2016

CMass Lax Power Rankings: Week 3

Trevor McNamara and his Westboro teammates won a pair of pivotal league games last week.
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

You want movers and shakers? We've got two of them this week, as a pair of teams each jumped four or more spots in our weekly Power Rankings, thanks to some statement wins. Meanwhile, our reigning No. 1 continues to dominate its league, but will face even stiffer tests this week.

Without further ado, here is this week's Top-10.

1. Grafton: 4-0, 3-0 Mid-Mass. D3 Central/West

Last Week: Ranked No. 1, defeated Nipmuc 10-5, Northbridge 19-0, and No. 7 Tantasqua 17-1.

The Indians aren't just beating teams, they're killing them, at least according to senior attackman Chase Kapuscienski. Grafton is on a mission to prove it's the best in CMass, regardless of division, but the Indians will also get a chance to test their mettle against some of the best that Division 3 has to offer this week.

A Thursday trip to Weston High to face Cohasset will let us know a little more about the state-wide race in D3, but Grafton shouldn't sleep on a Tuesday road game against a Shrewsbury team that has to be feeling some urgency.

2. Algonquin: 3-0, 3-0 Mid-Wach A. D2 Central/West

Last Week: Ranked No. 2, defeated Groton-Dunstable 14-6, and Nashoba 14-4.

The Tomahawks continue to make short work of Mid-Wach A, but will venture outside the league for three interesting home challenges this week. Tuesday brings Eastern Mass power Acton-Boxborough to town, followed by Hopkinton on Thursday, and Western Mass contender Minnechaug on Saturday.

Win all three of those, and we could be talking about the T-Hawks as a state title contender in Division 2.

3. St. John's (Shrewsbury): 4-0. D2 Central/West

Last Week: Ranked No. 3, defeated Mansfield 14-5, St. Peter-Marian 16-0, and Wachusett 10-6.

The Pioneers continue to impress both offensively and defensively, but maybe the most impressive thing they did all week was shut out explosive Wachusett in the second half of their home game against the Mountaineers. But hey, if you like offense, St. John's has that too, as they put double-digits on a Mansfield team that figures to make the playoffs in D1, and middie Andrew Cox is finding plenty of help in the goal-scoring department.

Whether it's Jack Donahue, Drew Kozub, Evan Radovanic or Jake Morgan, the Pioneers are getting offensive contributions from seemingly everywhere. A big week is on tap for St. John's, as it hosts Westboro Tuesday, then Eastern Mass power BC High on Thursday, all before hitting the road for its annual town rivalry game with Shrewsbury.

4. Westboro: 3-1, 3-1 Mid-Wach A. D2 Central/West

Last Week: Ranked No. 8, defeated No. 6 Wachusett 14-13, and No. 9 Shrewsbury 8-4.

The Rangers defended their home turf last week with two absolutely critical league victories. Trevor McNamara is proving to be one of the region's best attackmen, and goalie Jeff Bernard should be slept on no longer. Westboro only has one game this week, but it's a big one, as they travel to take on St. John's Tuesday.

5. Littleton: 5-0, 3-0 Mid-Wach B. D3 Central/East

Last Week: Ranked No. 10, defeated No. 5 Tyngsboro 10-5, Shepherd Hill 16-8, and No. 4 Marlboro 14-9.

The Tigers are our highest risers of the week, jumping five spots after two big wins against previous Top-5 teams. Junior Griffin Shoemaker was on fire (even by his lofty standards) last week, scoring 21 points (12G, 9A) in three Littleton wins, and the Tigers seized control of Mid-Wach B.

Next up for Littleton are a pair of Mid-Wach A tests against at Groton-Dunstable Tuesday, and home against Nashoba Thursday.    

6. Marlboro: 4-1, 2-0 Mid-Wach C. D2 Central/West

Last Week: Ranked No. 4, defeated Bromfield 10-6 and Fitchburg 20-0. Lost to No. 10 Littleton 14-9.

The Panthers were held to single-digits for the first time all season in a loss to Littleton, but it's hard to see this group being held down long. The young and restless Panthers will be back at it Tuesday at Nashoba, and Friday at Worcester. Keep an eye on the latter, which could end up being a case of "unstoppable force meet immovable object," as the Panthers run up against Worcester's smothering defense.

7. Wachusett: 4-2, 2-1 Mid-Wach A. D2 Central/West

Last Week: Ranked No. 6, defeated Groton-Dunstable 6-5. Lost to Westboro 14-13 and St. John's 10-6.

Yeah, the Mountaineers lost a pair of games this week, but it's hard to drop them too far when one was a one-goal loss on the road against Westboro, and the other came at St. John's, where they played the Pioneers even for a half. Still, the once hot scoring hands at Wachusett seemed to have cooled off a bit the last two games, and they'll hope to get that corrected against Nipmuc Tuesday, then at St. Peter-Marian Thursday.

8. Tyngsboro: 3-2, 2-1 Mid-Wach B. D3 Central/East

Last Week: Ranked No. 5, defeated North Middlesex 11-5, lost to No. 10 Littleton 10-5.

I don't think we can hold losing to Littleton against anybody, as the Tigers are proving to be quite formidable, and you just get the feeling Tyngsboro is one big game away from exploding. The offensive potential is there, led by All-American Kyle Laforge and senior attackman Russ Gillis, but this team has yet to find its groove.

Perhaps the Tigers blow things open this week with a trip to Chelmsford on Tuesday, and a home rivalry game against Groton-Dunstable on Thursday.

9. Worcester: 2-1, 2-0 Mid-Mass. D2 Central/West

Last Week: Unranked, defeated No. 7 Tantasqua 7-6, and Hopedale 7-5.

The Warriors are back to winning with their trademark defense, scoring a pair of big wins in Mid-Mass. Also, don't forget that this attack is still gelling, so it would seem the best is yet to come for Quinn Robert and company up front. A home test against Bromfield awaits Worcester Tuesday, followed by a trip out west to face Agawam on Wednesday, and a huge home game against Marlboro Friday.  

10. St. Bernard's: 4-1, D3 Central/West

Last Week: Unranked, defeated Nashoba 7-6. Lost to Bromfield 8-7.

The Bernardians' normally explosive offense scored just 15 goals in a pair of games last week, but St. Bernard's is shaking its loss to Bromfield off as the result of overconfidence, and the seven goals against Nashoba would have been far more, if not for the superhuman play of Chieftain goalie Robby Atwood. 

St. Bernard's barely edges Bromfield for our final spot, just by virtue of their better record and tremendous offensive firepower, but don't be surprised to see the Trojans jump into the Top-10 if they can upset Worcester on Tuesday.

As for the Bernardians, they'll travel to historic Doyle Field to play Leominster on Wednesday, then return home to face suddenly scrappy Hopedale.

Dropped Out: Tantasqua (7) and Shrewsbury (9).

Also in the Hunt: Bromfield (3-2), Nipmuc (2-2), Shepherd Hill (4-3), Blackstone Valley Tech (3-1), Oakmont (2-2).


Anonymous said...

Some changes coming: 1-5 same teams but some rearranging. 6-10 should see some big changes. Bye bye to some, some new, others drop. Crazy week. Great showings by Gonk, Westb and Grafton!!!

Anonymous said...

Should be interesting. Let's see if it is just Win-loss numbers or if strength of schedule comes into play. Some teams with good records probably couldn't hang with some of the other teams hovering at or just below 500 around the region. Wish there was more cross league or cross league level play. As mentioned above, the top 5 should be the same teams, just with Westb jumping SJS per their convincing victory.
I also think the 1 and 2 are very interchangeable. Gonk/Grafton. Grafton/Gonk. Wachusett still impressing though! Those are top 5. Bottom 5 I'll leave that alone As I am not sure who stays , who goes and who is knew.