Monday, May 22, 2017

Central Mass Lax Power Rankings: Week 8

St. John's celebrated a win over Hockomock champion Franklin, but would that be enough to grab our top spot?
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

We enter the final week of the regular season with much to be determined. While some CMass lax teams are simply trying to qualify for the state tournament, others are hoping to make last-minute editions to their tournament resumes.

Here is how we see the region's 10 best teams (for now).

1. Grafton: 16-2, 10-1 Mid-Mass.

Last Week: Ranked No. 1, defeated Algonquin 18-5, Northbridge 20-9, and No. 9 Hopedale 17-4.

The Indians are still the class of CMass after rolling over Algonquin, to go with league foes Northbridge and Hopedale. Grafton can lock up the Mid-Mass. title outright with a win Wednesday at Auburn, but first host Wachusett in a big inter-league game tonight at 7 pm.

2. St. John's: 13-3, 1-0 Catholic Conf.
Last Week: Ranked No. 2, defeated Franklin 12-11, and Algonquin 11-4. Lost to Longmeadow 8-3.

St. John's scored one of the biggest wins in the state when it edged Franklin last week, and finished the week strong with a blowout of rival Algonquin. Wednesday's loss to Longmeadow probably conceded the top seed in D2 Central/West to the Lancers, but considering Meadow went on to defeat EMass power Duxbury a few days later, I'll say there's no shame in losing to that team.

The Pioneers get two more chances for big out of region wins this week, as they travel to Mansfield tonight and St. John's Prep Wednesday.

3. Littleton: 14-2, 8-0 Mid-Wach B.

Last Week: Ranked No. 5, defeated Marlboro 11-4, Westboro 14-12, and Leominster 12-3.

Littleton got a scare from Westboro, but are still the hottest team in the region, having won an astounding nine games in a row. With their two losses coming by a combined three goals, the Tigers have proven they can play with anyone, and will get a tough road test against surging Nashoba this afternoon, before closing out their regular season at home against rival Tyngsboro Wednesday.

4. Shrewsbury: 12-6, 6-0 Mid-Wach A.
Last Week: Ranked No. 6, defeated Shepherd Hill 13-5, Leominster 15-3, and Wachusett 9-8. Lost to Westfield 13-8.

Speaking of hot teams, Shrewsbury was riding a 10-game winning streak until a setback against explosive Westfield, but the Colonials did still manage to pick up another league win to remain unbeaten in Mid-Wach A play. Shrewsbury can lock up the league title outright either this afternoon at home against Groton-Dunstable, or Wednesday at rival Algonquin.

5. Nipmuc: 14-2, 9-2 Mid-Mass.
Last Week: Ranked No. 3, defeated Northbridge 23-3, Auburn 13-1, and Worcester 13-4. Lost to No. 7 Tantasqua 11-9.

The Warriors were nipped by Tantasqua to start the week, but bounced back with three emphatic league wins, including the game that eliminated Worcester from postseason contention. The slate gets no lighter this week as Nipmuc hits the road for games against St. Bernard's (today), Ashland (Wednesday) and Hopedale (Thursday).

6. Groton-Dunstable: 14-4, 5-2 Mid-Wach A.
Last Week: Ranked No. 4, defeated Marlboro 11-2. Lot to Algonquin 13-9, and Ipswich 12-11 (OT).

The Crusaders hit a rough patch against some tough competition, falling in a close one to league foe Algonquin, and surrendering a late lead against powerful Ipswich. G-D has only one game left, but it's a doozie, as they head to Shrewsbury this afternoon for a massive Mid-Wach A clash.

7. Tantasqua: 13-5, 8-4 Mid-Mass.
Last Week: Ranked No. 7, defeated No. 3 Nipmuc 11-9, Westboro 15-11, and Shepherd Hill 7-6. Lost to Worcester 11-7.

Tantasqua followed its most complete game (a win over Nipmuc) with an emotional letdown against desperate Worcester. Still, the Warriors bounced back to beat Westboro and hold off feisty Shepherd Hill. Tomorrow brings a unique challenge against high-scoring Pope Francis, before the Warriors close out the regular season at Agawam on Wednesday.

8. Hopedale: 12-5, 5-5 Mid-Mass.
Last Week: Ranked No. 9, defeated Worcester 8-7. Lost to No. 1 Grafton 17-4.

Hopedale edged out Worcester to put WooLax on the brink of elimination in an emotional game. This team may not be ready to beat the Graftons of the world yet, but it has definitely shown it belongs against peer programs. The Blue Raiders close out their regular season with three games this week, beginning today against Auburn, continuing tomorrow at Archbishop Williams, and ending Thursday at home against Nipmuc.

9. Wachusett: 9-7, 2-5 Mid-Wach A.
Last Week: Unranked, defeated Worcester 13-12, and No. 10 Nashoba 12-8. Lost to No. 6 Shrewsbury 9-8.

Wachusett nearly had a perfect week, but Shrewsbury managed to win yet another one-goal game against the Mountaineers. No matter, as this group re-enters our Top 10 on the back of wins over desperate Worcester and resurgent Nashoba. Wachusett has a huge one this afternoon at Grafton, then the Mountaineers head to Westboro Wednesday.

10. Nashoba: 9-7, 4-4 Mid-Wach B.

Last Week: Ranked No. 10, defeated St. Bernard's 12-2. Lost to Wachusett 12-8.

The Chieftains came up short against Wachusett, but bounced back with a blowout of a pretty good St. B's squad. With Jack Quinn, Bryce Chaput and Owen Fay leading a now-potent offense, Nashoba has the makings of a tough out come tournament time. The Chieftains get a chance to enhance that resume this week at home against Littleton this afternoon, and at Leominster Wednesday. 

Dropped Out: Tyngsboro (Ranked No. 8 LW, 12-4)

Next Five: Tyngsboro (12-4), Shepherd Hill (10-8), Worcester (8-10), Algonquin (6-10), Blackstone Valley Tech (10-4)

No comments :