- Scott Barboza, Reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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As advertised, here’s our final Super 8 hockey tournament 10-team projection ahead of Saturday morning's selection committee meeting.
Of course, we’d like to hear your input, and feel free to give us your 10-team field below in the Comments field or via Twitter (@espnbostonhs).
1. St. John’s Prep (17-2-1)
Seeding in Version 1.0 Projection: 2
Goal Differential: +63
Why they’re in this spot: Last time out, we slotted the Eagles behind No. 1 Springfield Cathedral. While the teams skated to a 1-1 tie last Saturday, Prep vastly outshot the Panthers, who needed a late third-period goal to come away with a point. Emerging from a 2-1 loss against Central Catholic on Dec. 26, the Catholic Conference champions have been a complete, balanced team deserving of the top billing.
2. Springfield Cathedral (16-1-4)
Seeding in Version 1.0 Projection: 1
Goal Differential: +69
Why they’re in this spot: The Panthers were ticketed for the top spot until the last week of the season. Is there a cause for concern that they dropped three of an available six points during the last week of the season? Well, it’s not time to hit the panic button, but perhaps they’ve lost some momentum. Or, perhaps not having to play to the burden of entering the tournament with an unbeaten record will help them in the long run.
3. Austin Prep (13-1-6)
Seeding in Version 1.0 Projection: 7
Goal Differential: +42
Why they’re in this spot: No team did more to bolster their resume in the season’s final week than the Cougars. AP claimed wins over fellow Super 8 hopefuls Hingham and BC High before walloping Falmouth 9-0 in the Cape Cod Classic championship game – a truly impressive display. The fact that they failed to claim the Catholic Central Large title cannot hurt them at this juncture.
4. BC High (13-3-3)
Seeding in Version 1.0 Projection: 3
Goal Differential: +28
Why they’re in this spot: Truth be told, the Eagles’ loss to AP on the Cape may have cost them the No. 3 seed. What’s more surprising was the manner in which BC High lost that tilt. A typically sound defensive squad was found running around some in the third period. They’ll be sure to tighten up for the playoffs, as they’ve been among the statewide leaders in GAA all year.
5. Reading (16-1-5)
Seeding in Version 1.0 Projection: 4
Goal Differential: +55
Why they’re in this spot: The Rockets move down a spot from the last projection, on an account of AP’s RPI boost from the Cape Cod Classic. That could actually help Reading in the fact that they played potential first-round opponent BC High during the regular season. While the Eagles skated away with a 2-0 victory in the teams’ Dec. 29 meeting, the fact that Rockets skated with them and have a familiarity with BC High’s style of play could improve their prospects at getting through in a three-game series.
6. Catholic Memorial (12-6-2)
Seeding in Version 1.0 Projection: 9
Goal Differential: +40
Why they’re in this spot: The Knights had a mid-season dry spell, but closed with authority with a trifecta of wins over Super 8 Watch List teams in the final week against Braintree, Central Catholic and Xaverian, improving their RPI standing and moving them out of the dreaded win-or-go-home play-in round. Most impressive of all was the Knights’ 4-3 win over Connecticut powerhouse Fairfield Prep in Bridgeport. It might not look as familiar to the committee voters as the aforementioned opponents, but it should be considered A-No. 1 of their marquee wins on the season.
(Play-in seeds, determined by team records):
7. Archbishop Williams (12-4-4)
Seeding in Version 1.0 Projection: 5
Goal Differential: +44
Why they’re in this spot: The Bishops move down into the play-in group on the heels of a performance on Cape Cod that wasn’t what they wanted, only to be deemed by a win over Hingham on the final day of their season – a must have. Archies still shows some lacking in the marquee win department (Chelmsford?), but are propelled by their CCL title and a gut-check win over the Harbormen on the most important day of the year.
8. Central Catholic (13-5-3)
Seeding in Version 1.0 Projection: 8
Goal Differential: +35
Why they’re in this spot: I believe the Raiders are free and clear as the DCL/MVC Division 1 champions. Count their emphatic wins over runner-up Chelmsford as their raison d'être. Still, the committee will have to get over a troubling lack of goal-scoring in the last week, when they scored just two goals in three games, as well as being shut out in back-to-back season-ending losses to rival Andover and Catholic Memorial.
9. Hingham (13-7-2)
Seeding in Version 1.0 Projection: 6
Goal Differential: +40
Why they’re in this spot: Let’s kick off this pick with a preamble.
I’m a devotee of the Showtime drama “Dexter”. For those of you who need an introduction, the main fulcrum on which the story of protagonist Dexter Morgan – a forensics examiner for Miami Metro homicide who is himself a serial killer – works is something he describes as his “Code.” To that notion, I’m going to go ahead and break my own “Code” while making this final bold selection for the Super 8 field. There is nothing that should lead me to pick the Harbormen ahead of their South Shore rivals from Duxbury. The Dragons hold advantages in all the key categories: record, RPI, goal differential and, perhaps most importantly, the marquee win category. Hingham’s stunning lack of a true marquee win against a Super 8-ready team is implausible. Meanwhile, Duxbury can point to an early win against Xaverian. But in truth, the teams are quite even; we witnessed as much in the Cape Cod Classic when the teams played to a 1-1 tie (in the eyes of the MIAA), although the Dragons claimed a victory in the shootout (for tournament purposes only).
So why Hingham? Well, like many of the passion plays told through the eyes of Dexter’s extreme form of Code of Hammurabi justice, I’m going with instinct, or what you might call gut feeling (for those who believe in such things). I’m ignoring what is logical and going with what I’ve witnessed. In not so many words, Hingham should be in. This pick isn’t who could be here, or who will be here – again, I’m breaking my self-imposed code. Perhaps I’m playing into history. After all, the Hingham hockey name carries weight, as does Duxbury for that matter. I think we’ve seen in recent years who the ghost of Super 8 Past can influence things at the table (Needham last year, anyone?). And so I’m breaking my code. I think that Saturday’s tournament selection meeting will play out with a Hingham vs. Duxbury quandary as its focal point – a la last year’s Marshfield vs. St. John’s (Shrewsbury) predicament.
The question now remains whether the selection committee will break its own “code.”
10. Malden Catholic (11-6-3)
Seeding in Version 1.0 Projection: 10
Goal Differential: +20
Why they’re in this spot: A tenth-seed in title only. You can make the case for the Lancers to move into the Top 6 after handing Springfield Cathedral its only loss of the season in their season finale. My take is coming from the perspective that a team’s entire resume should be considered. Also, points in the Catholic Conference should count for something, with Catholic Memorial finishing third in the league standings; I’m going to go with the Lancers as the final representative from the MIAA’s toughest hockey league. Of the teams that precede them in the play-in games, they’re the only shoo-in. Added benefit for hockey watcher’s everywhere: how about a Prep vs. MC first-round matchup in a three-game series? Not too shabby.
As advertised, here’s our final Super 8 hockey tournament 10-team projection ahead of Saturday morning's selection committee meeting.Of course, we’d like to hear your input, and feel free to give us your 10-team field below in the Comments field or via Twitter (@espnbostonhs).