Monday, April 10, 2017

Central Mass Lax Power Rankings: Week 2

Tantasqua's senior attack trio of Anthony Law, Ben Beaudry and Mike Frio is off to a hot start.
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

As you might expect, there was tremendous movement from Week 1 to Week 2 in our Power Rankings. Only top-ranked St. John's is ranked in the same spot as last week, as a slew of upsets and close calls shook up our Top-10.

Check out this week's rankings below.

1. St. John's (Shrewsbury): 1-0
Last Week: Ranked No. 1, defeated Worcester 15-4.

The Pioneers made short work of a good Worcester team, and enter Week 2 as a consensus No. 1. Today's matchup with Westboro, a team that beat St. John's a year ago, has lost a bit of its luster, since the Rangers are sitting at 0-3, but Saturday's showdown with Wachusett should be a great one. In between, SJ will take on conference rival St. Peter-Marian.

2. Groton-Dunstable: 2-0, 1-0 Mid-Wach A
Last Week: Ranked No. 3, defeated No. 5 Westboro 18-6 and Oakmont 15-2.

So, apparently G-D can score some goals. The Crusaders exploded for 15+ in their first two outings, and looked equally dominant defensively. The scary thing about Groton-Dunstable's start is just how balanced the Crusaders have been, and they'll need to keep that up in Thursday's showdown against Wachusett, and Saturday's trip east to Watertown.

3. Tantasqua: 2-0, 0-0 Mid-Mass.
Last Week: Ranked No. 6, defeated Northampton 16-7 and South Hadley 16-10.

Speaking of goal-scoring, few teams in the region will be able to put the ball in the back of the net as frequently as Tantasqua. The Warriors knocked off a pair of Western Mass powers last week, and continue their WMass tour at Chicopee Comprehensive today. Tomorrow's game at Nipmuc and Thursday vs Grafton will give us a better picture of where this team stands in its league, and Central Mass as a whole.

4. Grafton: 2-1, 0-1 Mid-Mass.

Last Week: Ranked No. 2, defeated Shrewsbury 13-5 and Westboro 18-6. Lost to Nipmuc 9-8.

Look, Grafton blew away a pair of Mid-Wach A teams in its first week, so I'm not ready to drop the Indians too far for a one-goal loss against a good league foe. That said. the Indians have three league games this week, and will likely need to sweep Northbridge, Tantasqua and Auburn if they want to avoid the unfamiliar position of playing catch up in Mid-Mass.

5. Littleton: 0-1, 0-0 Mid-Wach B

Last Week: Ranked No. 4, lost to Concord-Carlisle 9-8

Hard to knock the Tigers for a one-goal loss against EMass power Concord-Carlisle, so Littleton drops only one spot after a solid showing. Tomorrow's trip to Bromfield gives the Tigers a chance to get back on track, before a suddenly huge Mid-Wach B showdown at Shepherd Hill on Wednesday.

6. Wachusett: 2-0, 1-0 Mid-Wach A

Last Week: Ranked No. 10, defeated No. 7 Algonquin 9-8 and Leominster 11-3.

The Mountaineers scored one of the season's early upsets against Algonquin, but we probably should have seen it coming. This team returns enough talent to play with anybody, and will certainly be in the title race in Mid-Wach A. A huge week looms for Wachusett, who hosts undefeated St. Bernard's tomorrow, then travels to Groton-Dunstable for clash atop the league, then returns home to host No. 1 St. John's.

7. Shepherd Hill: 3-0, 2-0 Mid-Wach B

Last Week: Unranked, defeated No. 8 Tyngsboro 8-5, St. Peter-Marian 15-3 and Nashoba 10-6.

It's hard to sleep on the Rams any more after a hard-fought victory over talented Tyngsboro, and taking care of business against SPM and Nashoba. Shepherd Hill hosts a pair of interesting games this week, as up-and-coming North Middlesex travels to Dudley Tuesday, then we get the previously mentioned game against Littleton Wednesday. Can juniors Anthony Detarando and Tristan Pietz out-gun Griffin Shoemaker and the high-scoring Tigers?

8. Marlboro: 1-0, 0-0 Mid-Wach B
Last Week: Ranked No. 9, defeated No. 5 Westboro 12-9.

I'm not really sure what to make of Marlboro one game in, but they did take care of business against Westboro, and super soph Dom Carter did show he was ready to carry the offensive load (4G, 3A). We'll learn a little bit more about the Panthers this week as they host Oakmont Tuesday and travel to Leominster Thursday, but the rubber really hits the road next week with a trip to St. John's and home game against Tyngsboro.

9. Nipmuc: 1-0, 1-0 Mid-Mass.
Last Week: Unranked, defeated No. 2 Grafton 9-8.

The Warriors have only played one game so far, but man did they make it count. That win against perennial Mid-Mass. power Grafton has given Nipmuc an early leg up in the league, but this week could be even more important, as the Warriors host Tantasqua Tuesday, then travel to Worcester Thursday.

10. Tyngsboro: 1-1, 1-1 Mid-Wach B

Last Week: Ranked No. 8, defeated Leominster 12-6. Lost to Shepherd Hill 8-5.

I have a feeling we're going to look back on Tyngsboro's loss to Shepherd Hill in a few months and not penalize the Tigers very much. That said, this week brings a trio of unique challenges, as they head to Lunenburg for the Blue Knights' opener Tuesday, and will have to hold down young gun Declan Fitzpatrick. Then, the Tigers will hit the road to face scrappy Nashoba Thursday, before returning home for a measuring stick game against Groton-Dunstable on Saturday.

Dropped Out: Westboro, 0-3 (Ranked No. 5 LW), Algonquin, 1-1 (Ranked No. 7 LW)

Don't Sleep On: St. Bernard's (2-0), Worcester (0-1), Nashoba Valley Tech (2-0), BVT (1-0), Northbridge (1-0), Lunenburg (0-0), Hopedale (0-0)

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