Boston High School: George Sennott

MIAA championship hockey picks

March, 16, 2013
No. 1 Duxbury (21-1-2) vs. No. 2 Falmouth (19-1-2), 11 a.m., TD Garden

Players to watch: Duxbury – F Hannah Murphy, F Marissa Fichter, F Jane Dudley, F Meredith Wright, F Julia Nolan, D Ally Hammel, D Payton Donato, G Rachel Myette; Falmouth – F Alexa Scribner, F Rachel Moore, F Madison Haberl, F Kelly Ferreira, D Hannah Ghelfi, D Alexx Good, G Madison Scavotto.

Breakdown: It is perhaps the most predictable of all of Sunday’s matchups and the most anticipated. The Dragons and Clippers renew a burgeoning rivalry, intensified by last year’s duel at the Garden and invigorated by the fact that either team’s lone loss of the season was handed to them by the other. Duxbury has been playing lockdown defense throughout the playoffs and haven’t allowed a goal in more than six games, including the regular season. The Clippers’ young corps will look to get over the hump, building on a bittersweet experience on the Bruins’ home ice sheet one year ago.

X-factor: Scavotto. As dominant as Duxbury’s defense has been in front of and including Myette, the Clippers are capable of the same. And their sophomore netminder is a big reason why. She could steal one.

Pick: Duxbury, 1-0.

No. 4 St. Mary’s of Lynn (18-3-4) vs. No. 7 Arlington Catholic (17-4-2), 9 a.m., TD Garden

Players to watch: St. Mary’s – F Alison Butler, F Kaleigh Finigan, F Gabby Crugnale, F Madison Molea, D Tatiana Doucette, D Amanda Donahoe, G Lauren Skinnion; AC – F Adrieanna Rossini, F Jess Piracini, F Duggan Delano, F Hayle Rudin, D Melissa Richard, G Megan Messuri.

Breakdown: The Catholic Central rivals meet for the second straight year on championship Sunday and, like their Div. 2 counterparts, also split their season series at a game apiece. Behind the benches, both the Spatans’ Frank Pagliuca and the Cougars’ Maggie Taverna have done work worthy of Coach of the Year honors. St. Mary’s has the feel of a team of destiny, neither a short bench nor nagging injuries all season long have kept the Spartans from returning to the biggest stage, all while dispatching No. 1 Woburn in the process.

X-factor: Rossini. You’d be hard pressed to find a young player in recent memory who has scored more clutch playoff goals than the AC sophomore.

Pick: St. Mary’s, 3-2.

Swampscott (19-5-0) vs. Westfield (18-3-2), 3:30 p.m., TD Garden

Players to watch: Swampscott – F Corey Carmody, F Noah Maercklein, F Nunzio Morretti, D Chris Carman, D Trevor Massey; Westfield – F Sean Spohr, F Mike Santinello, F Anthony Cagliostro, F Adam Collier, F Neil Parrow, D Nate Barnes.

Breakdown: The Big Blue took down defending D3 finalist and South sectional champion Medway (thanks to an OT goal from Maercklein) to advance to the program’s first title game appearance. Westfield returns to the Garden ice after a one-year hiatus after taking a scorched-earth policy to Western Mass. competition, while averaging more than 5.5 goals per game.

X-factor: Swampscott freshman goaltender Tristan Bradley. The first-year backstop has been a key element to the Big Blue’s success, maintaining a 91.5 save percentage through the season.

Pick: Swampscott, 5-4.

Wilmington (20-3-2) vs. Franklin (17-7-2), 1:30 p.m., TD Garden

Players to watch: Wilmington – F Cam Owens, F Brendan McDonough, F Jake Rogers, F Dylan DiNatale, D Brian Pickett, D Cam Collins, G Drew Foley; Franklin – F Cam Curley, F Dennis Pisani, F Aidan Isberg, F Troy Donahue, D Kyle Powers, D Kyle Filbert, G Devon Maloof.

Breakdown: The third of six rematches on the day, after the Wildcats claimed a 3-2 victory over Franklin a year ago on championship Sunday, propelled by a hat trick from Owens. The Panthers will be looking to avoid their third straight fruitless trip to the Garden, having dropped title tilts with Wilmington and Tewksbury. The Wildcats, who had Super 8 aspirations until late in the season, are eying their second straight title.

X-factor: McDonough. He’s been the break-out performer of the tournament and provides a great complement to Owens on Wilmington’s top line.

Pick: Wilmington, 3-2.

Burlington (13-6-5) vs. Marshfield (20-6-0), 8:15 p.m., TD Garden

Players to watch: Burlington – F C.J. Grinnell, F Joe Berardi, F Joey Scali, D Adam Crowley, D Sean Costa, G Derek DeCastro; Marshfield – F Mike Carbone, F Pat Burchill, F Joe Admirand, F Pat Shea, D Matt Burchill, D Trevor Salmon.

Breakdown: While this isn’t another rematch, these teams are no strangers to this stage, with the Red Devils and Rams representing as the last two Div. 1 state champions. Both teams were near .500 squads through the first month of the season, and closed their regular-season slates with momentum they’ve carried over into the playoffs. Both these teams can skate with the best of them, but they also pay attention to the little things in the defensive zone as well.

X-factor: Crowley. I’d expect a defensive struggle in this one and so I’m going with the Red Devils’ blue-liner who always makes his presence felt.

Pick: Burlington, 3-1.

No. 4 Austin Prep (16-1-6) vs. No. 7 Malden Catholic (15-6-3), 6 p.m., TD Garden

Players to watch: AP – F Nolan Vesey, F Bobby Carpenter, F Frankie Candelino, F George Sennott, F Eric MacAdams, D Andrew Cross, D J.J. Layton, G Elijah Harris; MC – F Ara Nazarian, F Mike Iovanna, F Tyler Sifferlen, F Pat Wrenn, F Austin Goldstein, D Casey Fitzgerald, D Nick Rolli, G Connor Maloney.

Breakdown: AP, while short on years, is not short on talent. I think we all knew coming into this season that they were capable of reaching this stage, but it might have been a question of when. The Cougars earned their way to Sunday after dispatching town rival Reading and then No. 1 seed St. John’s Prep in Wednesday’s semifinal. It seems like years ago since there was a time when the Lancers were in jeopardy of missing the tournament all together, but they’ve played the best hockey in the state during the last month.

X-factor: Nazarian. It’s his tournament, the rest of us are just living in it.

Pick: Malden Catholic, 4-2.

Super 8 tournament primer and picks

March, 2, 2013
There are less than 24 hours remaining before the puck drops on the Super 8 tournament Sunday at UMass-Lowell’s Tsongas Center.

So we’re taking this opportunity to break down the final eight. As the tournament takes on a best-of-three format for its first-round matchups this year, we’re taking a look at the head-to-head breakdowns for each series, along with predictions:

Series: No. 1 St. John’s Prep (17-2-1) vs. No. 8 Central Catholic (14-5-3)

Players to watch: Prep – F Brian Pinho, F Tyler Bird, F Andrew Brandano, F Jack McCarthy, F Cam Shaheen, D Brent Murray, G Billy Price; Central – F Lloyd Hayes, F Corey Webber; D Nick Gorski, D Alex Lester, G Colin Soucy.

Previous meeting: Central 2, Prep 1 on Dec. 26.

The skinny: Central fought its way into the eight-team field with an improbable comeback against Hingham in Monday’s play-in game. But they’ll have to be ready to go out of the gate against the top-seeded Eagles. Prep is deepest team in the field — from its forwards to its defensemen — and the Raiders will have to weather the Eagles’ ability to wear teams down by consistently rolling four lines (Claude Julien surely would love this Prep team). The goaltenders will also be under the spotlight in this series with both Price and Soucy making their debuts in taking over for tournament stalwarts David Letarte and Kyle Williams, respectively. The play of both goaltenders has been a strength for their teams this year.

X-factor: Can the Raiders parlay some momentum gained from their dramatic play-in game overtime victory into a Game 1 win against the Eagles? Also, what kind of a factor will Central winger Mike Kelleher be?

Prediction: Prep in two.

Series: No. 2 Springfield Cathedral (16-1-4) vs. No. 7 Malden Catholic (12-6-3)

Previous meeting: MC 2, Cathedral 1 on Feb. 21.

Players to watch: Cathedral – F Peter Crinella, F Dominic Blad, F D.J. Petruzelli, F Johnny Leonard, D Matt Foley, D Jack Williams, G John Liqouri; MC – F Mike Iovanna, F Ara Nazarian, F Tyler Sifferlen, F Pat Wrenn, D Casey Fitzgerald, D Nick Rolli.

The skinny: While the Panthers enjoyed some down time this week, MC set about making a statement in its 9-1 dismantling of Archbishop Williams in Monday’s play-in game. Perhaps no team in the state has been hotter than the two-time defending Super 8 champion Lancers and they’d like to prove that, once again, this is their time of the year. There will be plenty of top-tier talent on the ice when the team’s top forward units face off with Cathedral’s line of Crinella-Artie Potter-Blad opposed by MC’s Iovanna-Nazarian-Sifferlen troika. The key to this series, however, will be which team’s second and third lines come to play.

X-factor: Cathedral goaltender John Liquori. As we saw in the Panthers’ game against St. John’s Prep in the final week of the regular season, he’s capable of stealing points and games for them. He’ll need to be at his best to curb the Lancers’ attack.

Prediction: Malden Catholic in three.

Series: No. 3 BC High (14-3-3) vs. No. 6 Catholic Memorial (12-6-2)

Previous meetings: BC High 5, CM 1 on Jan. 16; BC High 4, CM 3 on Feb. 2.

Players to watch: BC High – F Tom Besinger, F Pat Kramer, F Steve DeForge, F Chris LaLiberte, D Sam Topham, D Ryan Shea, G Peter Cronin; CM – F Liam Coughlin, F Jack O’Hear, F Kevin Hock, F Aaron Clancy, D Dennis Medeiros, D Sean Heelan, G Brandon Collett.

The skinny: Can’t get much better than this, right? Right up there with Bruins-Canadiens. The teams will add another chapter to their storied history in the 50th-anniversary year of their hockey rivalry. While the Eagles claimed both meetings against their Catholic Conference counterparts during the regular season, the play was largely even (minus one second-period outburst in BC High’s 5-1 win in January). So expect more of the same in this series.

X-factor: Liam Coughlin. The Eagles had success neutralizing the rangy center during their regular season appearance, both in the offensive zone and in the face-off circle. But we’ve seen Coughlin (25-16-41) take control at times this season, and he’ll have to do so for the Knights to advance.

Prediction: BC High in three.

Series: No. 4 Austin Prep (13-1-6) vs. No. 5 Reading (16-1-5)

Previous meeting: N/A.

Players to watch: AP – F Nolan Vesey, F Bobby Carpenter, F Jake McKenelley, F Eric MacAdams, F George Sennott, D Andrew Cross, D J.J. Layton; Reading – F Rob Devaney, F Mike Thomson, F Jake Barbera, F Mark Dente, G Evan Morelli.

The skinny: The Battle of Reading is just one subplot to a group of first-round series rife with context. The high-flying Cougars attack will have to break through a sticky Reading forecheck that can give opponents fits. AP does enter tournament having played some of its best hockey of the year in the final week of the season, wrapping up a Cape Cod Classic championship. The Rockets, meanwhile, will gain the fan bases of the rest of the state as the lone remaining public school entrant in this year’s field.

X-factor: Nolan Vesey. Has the potential to be the best player in the tournament. For a young squad such as AP, however, Vesey’s leadership will be vital for their long-term Super 8 chances. He needs to set the tone.

Prediction: Austin Prep in three.

Recap: No. 5 Austin Prep 4, No. 6 Hingham 3

February, 16, 2013

FALMOUTH, Mass. -- No. 5 Austin Prep skated a near-perfect first period against No. 6 Hingham, but it still was almost not enough for the young Cougars.

Hingham scored three times in the third period, but Austin Prep held on to the 4-3 victory in one of four quarterfinals in the Cape Cod Classic at the Falmouth Ice Arena.

The Cougars (11-1-6) needed bookend goals from freshman Jake McKenelley to hold on in the final 6:34 of regulation in an all-important battle of top Division 1 squads looking to impress the Super 8 voters at the end of the season.

“I told them I don’t want to be good in the beginning but I want to be good in the end,” Austin Prep head coach Louis Finocchiaro said. “I want to be mature at the end, I want to be disciplined at the end, but our puck possession was good in the defensive zone, our forecheck was good and we got into the body, we got shots off the cycle.”

The game looked well in hand in the first 30 minutes of play as George Sennott set up Andrew Cross to get Austin Prep on the board at 2:29 of the first period. McKenelley scored his first of two tallies moments later on perfect end-to-end defensive passing that picked up assists for Ryan McDonough and Bob Carpenter and handed the Cougars a quick 2-0 lead after one period.

More of the same in the second as the pesky Sennott set up off the right post just inside the slot and wristed home a rebound from a Brendan Leach slapper off the boards behind the net as Sennott’s stick could not have been in a better place at a better time.

John Grenier was playing well in net for Hingham (12-6-1), including stoning McKenelley on a breakaway with a pretty glove save in the second that would have given the Cougars a 4-0 lead with five minutes to go in the period. But Austin Prep held a 15-8 shot advantage and a 3-0 lead after the first two periods of play.

“We took that next step as in the past we would have given that up and ended up in a tie, but we finished, and we need to build off of that,” Finocchiaro said. “Hingham has a lot of experience, they are well coached, and believe me they are not going anywhere and they will be here for the third period and we will have to battle.”

Finocchiaro was right as Hingham drew their forwards towards the net and pulled their defense up right off the opening third-period face-off and the aggressive play paid dividends.

Only 50 seconds into the first shift, Sam D’Antuono found the back of the net for Hingham’s first goal of the game. The goal was nothing pretty but McKennelly answered for Austin Prep with a carbon-copy goal of his first tally --with assists from McDonough and Carpenter again -- to push the lead back to three goals at the 7:08 mark of the third.

“Ryan [McDonough] gave me a really good pass and I could have hit him back door too but [the defense] kind of went off but it was a really nice pass,” McKenelley said.

The up-front pressure from Hingham was a little too late, but John Carlson and Craig Hildreth would score goals 24 seconds apart to cut the Harbormen deficit to one, 4-3, as plenty of time remained with 6:24 left in regulation.

“Going into the third, we talked a lot about playing desperate because we were disappointed in the first two periods and came out a desperate team,” Hingham head coach Tony Messina said. “We showed signs in the first two [periods] but just not consistent enough and it’s been the story all year long. We needed three full periods today and we haven’t done that in any of the big games we have had.”

So was it No. 6 Hingham coming up short with No. 5 Austin Prep playing not to lose or did the Cougars have the Harbormen figured out just long enough?

“We played phenomenal in the first and second and in the third? We are young and that’s a natural thing to happen,” Finocchiaro said. “It’s something I am expecting but you know what – we finished tonight and that’s a learning process for our team.”

Freshman defenseman Luke McInnis showcased his skills up front and at the blue line with not much to show for it in the box score, but Messina knows he has a gem on defense for a few more seasons.

Luke is the son of former NHL-er and Boston College Hall of Famer Marty McInnis and Melissa Hug, who also starred on the lacrosse field for Boston College.

"[McInnis] is all worried that he hasn't scored a goal all season even though he's been on the Number-One power play unit from the start of the season, but he's proving to be a major asset for us," Messina said. "His mother was a great college athlete and he sure has his father's genes on the ice."

Recap: No. 5 Austin Prep 4, No. 9 Archies 4

February, 14, 2013
STONEHAM, Mass. -- There was no difference between No. 5 Austin Prep and No. 9 Archbishop Williams in their regular season meetings, skating to a pair of ties.

However, Wednesday night’s 4-4 draw between the teams at the Stoneham Arena was enough to net the Bishops their first Catholic Central Large crown since a share of the title in 2009-10.

It was all there for Archies (11-2-4, 7-0-3), which held a 4-1 lead early in the third period. But the Cougars (9-1-6, 6-0-4) came alive in the third period, scoring three goals in a span of two minutes, 25 seconds to pull into a tie.

“You have to be happy that you won the league, but it’s very disappointing,” Bishops head coach Derackk Curtis said.

He added, “Hopefully, we learn from it. You can’t get caught up in it.”

The teams traded goals in the first period (Nolan Vesey for AP and Mike Jessman for Archies), but the Bishops broke loose in the second. Archies claimed its first lead of the game at 2:22 of the second with a power-goal at Jake Reardon tipped home Kyle Leonard’s point shot. Ryan Dunn padded the Bishops’ lead with 22 seconds remaining in the period with Reardon picking up his second point of the game on the assist.

“In the second period, we got back to doing what we do well – taking the body, getting pucks in deep and cycling it,” Curtis said. “I though we carried the play.”

Archies was off to fast start in the third as well with Mike Davis stuffing a shot in shortside on a broken play 1:08 into the period.

AP took over from there. Just 36 seconds later, senior captain Frankie Candelino put the Cougars on the comeback trail and Jake McKenelley brought AP within a goal 24 seconds later.

George Sennott scored the equalizer with 10:52 remaining on a beautiful feed from Vesey (2 points) on the power play.

While the Cougars ultimately couldn’t find the go-ahead and fell short of the league title, all wasn’t lost.

“I liked our effort in that there was no quit and we came back,” AP head coach Louis Finocchiaro said.

Finocchiaro admitted he’d considered pulling goaltender Elijah Harris in the game’s waning moments, searching for the go-ahead goal. But he was content to take the point and take his chances that his team’s resume to date will be enough to gain entry to the upcoming Super 8 tournament.

“We’ll take the point,” Finocchiaro said. “We have a very strong strength of schedule if that comes into effect when they look at us. …

“We have to finish. We have some games in front of us.”

And with that, there’s also the possibility that the Bishops and Cougars could cross paths for the third time this season in next week’s crucial Cape Cod Classic in Falmouth. Both teams will play in the 8-team tournament which features six Top 25 teams and five teams featured on the Super 8 Watch List.

Archies opens the tournament with Waltham in a 5 p.m. faceoff on Saturday, while AP skates with Hingham in a potential Super 8 preview matchup at 3 p.m.

Recap: No. 6 Austin Prep 5, St. Mary's (Lynn) 3

December, 27, 2012

MALDEN, Mass. -- Louis Finocchiaro could be Chris Serino’s most successful coaching pupil. So, it seemed fitting that Finocchiaro’s team notched the first win in the inaugural tournament that honors Serino’s name and memory.

Finocchiaro’s Austin Prep team defeated St. Mary’s of Lynn, 5-3, in the opening game on Thursday afternoon behind a two-goal effort from senior winger Nolan Vesey.

A Saugus native, Finocchiaro played for Serino at Saugus High from 1980-83, where he’s still the all-time leading scorer for the Sachems. He followed in Serino’s footsteps as Saugus’ head coach in 1997 after a stint as an assistant with his alma matter and then later joined Serino’s staff as an assistant at Merrimack College and was on the staff in 2001 when Serino took a leave of absence to battle his first bout with throat cancer.

“Chris was a dear friend of mine,” Finocchiaro said. “We’re excited to be here, in this tournament, and obviously this is its first year, so to get the first win and to be in the finals is pretty exciting.”

The Cougars were paced by a dominating first period where they outscored Spartans 2-0 and outshot them 8-3 (14-3 in shot attempts).

Cam Russo put Austin Prep on the board with a wrister from the left circle that beat Nick Holt short side. Russo’s third-line teammates, George Sennott and Brent Hill, each picked up assists.

Then, with just 58 seconds left in the period, Hill doubled the lead by jamming home a loose puck to Holt’s glove side, his two linesmates again getting helpers.

The Spartans came alive in the second period, however.

Ryan McManus cut the deficit on a power play with 6:46 left on the clock, firing a seeing-eye wrister from the right point that Austin Prep goaltender Elijah Harris never saw and the puck snuck over his left shoulder.

Austin Prep freshmen Jake McKenelley gave the Cougars a two-goal lead back just two minutes later but a pair of St. Mary’s goals in under a minute tied the score.

First, Jordan Manthorne beat Harris with a tough-angle shot from the bottom of the left circle and then Ryan Madden tucked a puck behind Harris from the goal line.

“We had a good first period, we’re up 2-0, and then we just didn’t come out strong in the second,” Finocchiaro said. “We need to learn that we can’t let teams back into the game like that. We have to finish.”

Vesey potted his first of two goals with just 32.5 seconds left in the second period, snapping a shot from in close on the right side that beat Holt over the glove. The senior tacked on some insurance five minutes into the third period when he beat Holt over the shoulder to make it 5-3.

Including the three goaltenders dressed on its roster, 15 of Austin Prep’s 24 players dressed last night were either freshmen or sophomores.

Outside of Vesey’s two tallies, Austin’s other goals came from a sophomore (Russo) and two freshmen (McKenelley and Hill).

“We have a lot of new players and we’re very young,” Finocchiaro said. “So at times, we’ll have situations where we’ll feel our lumps, but it’s a good group. They’re hard workers. We’re still not where we want to be in terms of chemistry, but that will come. There’s still plenty of work to do, we want to be better in our defensive zone, but you also want to be good at the end (of the season) not at the beginning.”

Andrew Cross, a former Lancer defenseman who played on Malden Catholic’s last two Super 8 championship teams, is one of just two juniors on the Austin Prep roster. He was skating in his first game back on Valley Forum ice after transferring at the end of last season and he led his team with three points (3 assists). He’ll face his former teammates in the tournament’s title game Friday. Sennott also finished with three helpers for the Cougars.

Finocchiaro was pleased with the way the Cougars responded after a feisty St. Mary’s team clawed its way back into the game.

After being outplayed badly in the first period, St. Mary’s outshot Austin Prep 11-8 in the second, outscoring them 3-2, before Vesey’s late goals sealed the victory.

“We answered, and that’s encouraging,” said Finocchiaro, whose team remained undefeated, improving to 2-0-1. “After that second where we let them back in the came we could have rolled over and folded but we didn’t. We came back out in the third and took care of business. [St. Mary’s] played really aggressive, really hard.”

Harris was a microcosm of his team, starting strong with some middle-period struggles before closing the door in the third period.

“He made some nice saves,” Finocchiaro said. “There were some funky goals that maybe he’d like to have back – the one on the far left boards and one on the power-play from the point – but he then came back and made some big saves for us down low on their power play, so he rebounded and responded well.”

Austin Prep now battle the host Lancers in the title game at 6 p.m. on Friday. St. Mary’s will faceoff with Hingham in the consolation at 4 p.m.

Recap: No. 6 AP 2, No. 17 Archies 2

December, 16, 2012
CANTON, Mass. – The Catholic Central Large league race is sure to be one of the tightest in the MIAA this season.

That was evidenced in Saturday night’s season opener between No. 6 Austin Prep and No. 17 Archbishop Williams. The Cougars and Bishops skated to a 2-2 tie in a very even game by all accounts.

Each squad saw equal amounts of positives and negatives. Likewise, AP head coach Louis Finocchiaro saw his team’s performance as indicative of where they are at the early juncture of the season.

“We’re still very young,” Finocchiaro said. “Our decision-making, at times, wasn’t what it needed to be. But our compete level is there, I thought the kids competed tonight. They’re a great team. They’re fast, they’re physical. They brought a lot of neutral zone speed against us.”

Archies (0-0-1) held two, one-goal leads in the contest, only to see the Cougars (0-0-1) respond to each tally.

Mike Jessman had the Bishops to a 1-0 lead with 3:41 remaining in the first, but AP answered in the final minute on a Jake McKenelly goal, assisted by Dan O’Toole.

After a scoreless second, the Bishops reclaimed the lead with 11:43 remaining in the game on Ryan Dunn’s blast. Jessman picked up his second point of the game on the assist.

The lead again would be short-lived as Cam Russo knotted the score less than three minutes later with an assist from Matt Morgan.

Quality scoring chances were hard to come by in the final minutes, as Bishops netminder Joe Vinay and Couagars goaltender Elijah Harris volleyed saves back and forth. Archies also had a power-play opportunity for the go-ahead goal in the final two minutes, but AP’s penalty kill unit held the Bishops without a shot.

“To be honest, I think all three of our lines are skilled and pretty even, even down on our third line, we have [George] Sennott, [Brent] Hill and Russo,” Finocchiaro said. “We’ve outshot everybody we’ve played so far, but we’ve been a little snake-bitten early, but if we keep playing like we have, they’ll come.”

Breaking down preseason boys' hockey Top 25

December, 7, 2012
We're taking a further look at our preseason MIAA boys' hockey Top 25 poll, which was released yesterday.

You can find the full poll HERE.

Here's how it all breaks down:

Malden Catholic retains its stranglehold on the No. 1 spot in our poll. The Lancers went "box-to-wire" as the top team in the poll last year and have occupied the No. 1 ranking since midway through the 2010-11 season. MC will again boast a top line rife with Division 1 college talent in Mike Iovanna (UMass-Amherst), Ara Nazarian and Tyler Sifferlen (UMass-Lowell). The Lancers will be looking to fill some holes on the blue line, but are in good company with BC-bound Casey Fitzgerald and junior Nick Rolli looking to make strides in their development. The Lancers also return starting netminder Connor Maloney.

Reading the tea leaves of our Top 10 and projecting how those teams might fit into a patchwork of a Super 8 field (including play-in competitors), you'll find a lot of familiar names. Our top five teams (MC, BC High, Hingham, St. John's Prep and Springfield Cathedral) all made it Merrimack College last year. Moving on, however, we find some new blood moving in. There's plenty of buzz surrounding Austin Prep in the preseason. With a mix of veterans (Nolan Vesey), budding stars (freshman George Sennott, who played last year an eighth-grader) and in-coming transfer talent, the Cougars are poised to make their first Super 8 appearance since 2009-10. Central Catholic should again be in the thick of things with a strong returning core, including potential All-Staters Mike Kelleher and Lloyd Hayes.

From there on, we have a couple of other new entrants with Braintree, who is primed for a Bay State Carey title run, defending Division 2 state champion Wilmington and, of course, there's always Catholic Memorial, which will look to end a two-year playoff drought with a Super 8 appearance.