High schools

HIGH SCHOOL BOYS’ HOCKEY

Sizing up the MIAA boys’ hockey tournament: Can Canton repeat in D2?

Bourne MA 3/10/19 Canton High bench celebrates teammate Ryan Colby's goal against Westwood High during second period action of the MIAA Division D2 South boys' hockey final at Gallo Rink. (photo by Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff) topic: reporter:
MATTHEW J. LEE
The Canton High boys’ hockey team celebrated a number of victories en route to the Division 2 state title last March.

FRANKLIN – The Super Eight tournament was selected and seeded Thursday night at MIAA headquarters, and most of the rest of the boys’ hockey brackets in Eastern and Central Mass. followed Friday morning.

It’s a bit of a departure from past years, when all of the hockey brackets were compiled and unveiled on the same weekend day. Regardless of the time schedule, this year’s tournament should feature plenty of intrigue no matter the division or region.

Who looks Super?

BC High is the two-time defending champion, and the Eagles drew the No. 2 overall seed despite a regular-season loss to No. 3 Pope Francis. The teams battled to overtime on Garden ice each of the previous two postseasons, and while both have to be considered among the favorites to get to Causeway Street again on March 15, they also potentially could line up in a second-round matchup – likely Sunday, March 1 at either Stoneham Arena or Gallo Ice Arena in Bourne.

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However, the action begins Sunday at Stoneham with a pair of play-in games – No. 7 Burlington vs. No. 10 Hingham, and No. 8 Framingham vs. No. 9 Reading. It’s the first time since 2004 that all four play-in teams are public schools.

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Speaking of publics, Arlington became just the second ever to earn the No. 1 seed and will face the Framingham-Reading winner in the quarterfinals. The rest of the double-elimination bracket features three other Catholic Conference teams – including a quarterfinal matchup between No. 4 St. John’s Prep and No. 5 Xaverian, as well as league champion Catholic Memorial lurking as a dangerous No. 6 seed.

In a season that has been defined by parity, this year’s field is as wide open as any in recent memory.

Where is Division 1?

As often is the case, nothing can be determined until after Sunday’s Super 8 play-in games – there are three scenarios each for Division 1 North and South brackets depending on whether each receives zero, one or two of the play-in losers.

Naturally, Burlington, Reading, Framingham or Hingham would be among the favorites in their respective brackets, should they end up there in the Nos. 1 or 2 seeds. But as with the Super 8, the parity of the 2019-20 season means nothing can be taken for granted.

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Natick, which would be the next highest seed in D1 South, just missed a Super 8 play-in berth on the final vote, and the Redhawks could be dangerous after allowing only 29 goals under first-year coach Bill Lacouture. Defending champion Duxbury, which ended the season with a win against Austin Prep, is part of a crowded field of publics. Uncertain matchups will play a big part in how the bracket shakes out.

In the North, St. John’s (Shrewsbury) will be a solid low seed that played a tough schedule, as did each of the three Catholic Central League entries – Austin Prep, Bishop Fenwick and St. Mary’s. Belmont is another solid defensive club, while Melrose is potent offensively.

Can anyone stop Canton?

The Bulldogs were not quite the unbeatable juggernaut as the 2018-19 squad, but still have to be the favorite coming out of D2 South as the top seed again. Plymouth North and Whitman-Hanson are battle-tested from the Patriot League, while the Tri-Valley League group of Norwood, Medfield, Medway and Dedham all could be factors.

Of course, one team already did stop Canton – Lincoln-Sudbury snapped the Bulldogs’ 43-game unbeaten streak just nine days ago, and the Warriors will be a team to watch out of D2 North. Defending champ Tewksbury is the No. 3 seed and also will be a tough out. Top seed Masconomet got a rough draw by having to face No. 16 Stoneham, which qualified under the “Sullivan rule” from the Middlesex League and already beat the Chieftains back in December.

Conquering the Hillers?

Hopkinton shared the best record in the state among all boys’ teams, going 19-1-0. The Hillers are the No. 1 seed in D3 South as they look to repeat as sectional champions and get back to the Garden. The good news for them is that some of the toughest challengers are on the other side of the bracket – particularly No. 3 Hanover and No. 6 Norwell, who could meet in the quarterfinals. But Hanover first needs to get past Patriot Fisher rival North Quincy, the 14th seed which looms as a big sleeper along with No. 9 Bishop Stang.

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The North has been dominated by the Merrimack Valley/Dual County teams – particularly top seed Bedford. But the team that can’t be overlooked is No. 10 Lowell – last year’s sectional champion played in MVC/DCL 2 this year, so the Red Raiders clearly are better than their record. Cambridge and Newton South also could make some noise.

Defending state champion Wachusett is the top seed among the six teams in the D3 Central bracket. The Mountaineers handed Natick one of its two losses. D3 West, which will have only four teams, won’t be announced until Saturday.

Time running out?

Northbridge matched Hopkinton with a 19-1-0 record and the defending Div. 3A champion Rams lead the pack of eight teams in the Central. The six-team D3A West bracket also will be seeded Saturday. Depending on the upcoming MIAA statewide tournament vote, and any subsequent realignment either way, this could end up being one of the last Div. 3A tournaments — at least in its current form.

MIAA boys’ hockey tourney

SUPER 8

Sun., Feb. 23 — Preliminary

Burlington vs. Hingham at Stoneham Arena, 4; Framingham vs. Reading at Stoneham Arena, 6.

TBA — First round

TBA vs. Arlington; TBA vs. BC High, TBA, Pope Francis vs. Catholic Memorial, TBA; Xaverian vs. St. John’s Prep, TBA.

DIVISION 1 NORTH

* The Division 1 brackets will be completed Monday, after the completion of the Super 8 play-in games.

DIVISION 2 NORTH

Seeds: 1. Masconomet (16-3-1); 2. Lincoln-Sudbury (15-3-2); 3. Tewksbury (14-3-3); 4. Marblehead (14-3-4); 5. Triton (14-4-2); 6. North Andover (12-4-6); 7. Gloucester (12-5-3); 8. Boston Latin (11-6-3); 9. Everett (12-7-1); 10. Wakefield (11-6-3); 11. Lynnfield (11-7-2); 12. Winthrop (9-8-3); 13. Wilmington (9-8-3); 14. North Reading (9-8-3); 15. Danvers (9-9-2); 16. Stoneham (7-11-2).

Tue., Feb. 25 — First round

North Reading vs. Tewksbury at Chelmsford Forum, 5; Danvers vs. Lincoln-Sudbury at John A. Ryan Skating Arena, Watertown, 5:30; Stoneham vs. Masconomet at O'Brien Arena, Woburn, 6; Wakefield vs. Gloucester at Stoneham Arena, 6; Wilmington vs. Marblehead at Chelmsford Forum, 7; Everett vs. Boston Latin at John A. Ryan Skating Arena, Watertown, 7:30; Lynnfield vs. North Andover at O'Brien Arena, Woburn, 8; Winthrop vs. Triton at Stoneham Arena, 8.

DIVISION 3 NORTH

Seeds: 1. Bedford (15-3-2); 2. Cambridge (13-3-4); 3. Shawsheen (13-6-1); 4. Essex Tech (11-4-5); 5. Watertown (12-6-2); 6. Latin Academy (11-7-2); 7. Newton South (11-8-1); 8. Somerville (10-7-3); 9. Lowell (9-7-4); 10. Hamilton-Wenham (10-8-2); 11. Northeast (10-9-1); 12. Rockport/M-E (9-8-3); 13. Swampscott (9-11-0).

Thu., Feb. 27 — First round

Hamilton-Wenham vs. Newton South at O'Brien Arena, Woburn, 6; Swampscott vs. Essex Tech at Stoneham Arena, 6; Northeast vs. Latin Academy at John A. Ryan Skating Arena, Watertown, 7; Lowell vs. Somerville at Stoneham Arena, 8; Rockport/M-E vs. Watertown at O'Brien Arena, Woburn, 8.

TBA — Quarterfinals

TBA vs. Cambridge at John A. Ryan Skating Arena, Watertown, TBA; TBA vs. Shawsheen at John A. Ryan Skating Arena, Watertown, TBA; TBA vs. Bedford at Stoneham Arena, TBA.

DIVISION 1 SOUTH

* The Division 1 brackets will be completed Monday, after the completion of the Super 8 play-in games.

DIVISION 2 SOUTH

Seeds: 1. Canton (17-1-3); 2. Plymouth North (15-3-2); 3. Norwood (14-3-3); 4. Whitman-Hanson (15-4-1); 5. Southeastern/B-P/WB (13-4-1); 6. Medway (12-3-5); 7. Dedham (13-4-3); 8. Dighton-Rehoboth/Seekonk (14-5-1); 9. Medfield (11-5-4); 10. Brookline (13-7-1); 11. Apponequet/Bishop Connolly (10-5-4); 12. Scituate (12-7-1); 13. Wareham/Carver (11-8-1); 14. Westwood (10-8-2); 15. Bishop Feehan (10-8-2); 16. North Attleborough (7-7-6); 17. Taunton (9-9-3).

Sun., Feb. 23 — Preliminary

Taunton vs. North Attleborough at New England Sports Village, Attleboro, 4.

Tue., Feb. 25 — First round

Medfield vs. Dighton-Rehoboth/Seekonk at Gallo Arena, Bourne, 5; Apponequet/Bishop Connolly vs. Medway at Canton Ice House, 5:20; Wareham/Carver vs. Whitman-Hanson at Gallo Arena, Bourne, 7; Westwood vs. Norwood at Canton Ice House, 7:20.

Wed., Feb. 26 — First round

Scituate vs. Southeastern/B-P/WB at Gallo Arena, Bourne, 4; Brookline vs. Dedham at Canton Ice House, 5; TBA vs. Canton at Canton Ice House, 7; Bishop Feehan vs. Plymouth North at Gallo Arena, Bourne, 8.

DIVISION 3 SOUTH

Seeds: 1. Hopkinton (19-1-0); 2. St. John Paul II (16-2-2); 3. Hanover (16-3-1); 4. Dartmouth (16-3-1); 5. Somerset Berkley (16-4-0); 6. Norwell (16-3-3); 7. Foxborough (10-4-5); 8. Nantucket (12-6-2); 9. Bishop Stang (10-5-5); 10. Abington (11-6-3); 11. Blue Hills (12-8-0); 12. Marthas Vineyard (11-7-2); 13. Rockland (10-7-3); 14. North Quincy (10-8-2); 15. Greater New Bedford (10-8-2); 16. Holliston (10-8-2); 17. Silver Lake (10-9-2).

Mon., Feb. 24 — Preliminary

Silver Lake vs. Holliston at Loring Arena, Framingham, 5.

Thu., Feb. 27 — First round

Greater New Bedford vs. St. John Paul II at Rockland Ice Rink, Rockland, 5:20.

Fri., Feb. 28 — First round

Bishop Stang vs. Nantucket at Gallo Arena, Bourne, 4; Abington vs. Foxborough at Canton Ice House, 5; Blue Hills vs. Norwell at Canton Ice House, 5; Marthas Vineyard vs. Somerset Berkley at Gallo Arena, Bourne, 6; North Quincy vs. Hanover at Canton Ice House, 7:20; Rockland vs. Dartmouth at Gallo Arena, Bourne, 8.

TBA — First round

TBA at Hopkinton, TBA.

DIVISION 3 CENTRAL

Seeds: 1. Wachusett (17-1-2); 2. Nashoba (10-4-6); 3. Hudson (11-6-3); 4. Marlborough (10-6-4); 5. Algonquin (10-8-2); 6. Leominster (9-10-1).

Wed., Feb. 26 — Quarterfinals

Algonquin vs. Marlborough at Navin Rink, Marlborough, 6:30; Leominster vs. Hudson at New England Sports Center, Marlborough, 7:20.

TBA — Semifinals

TBA vs. Wachusett at Wallace Civic Center, Fitchburg, TBA; TBA vs. Nashoba at Wallace Civic Center, Fitchburg, TBA.

DIVISION 3A CENTRAL

Seeds: 1. Northbridge (19-1-0); 2. Hopedale/Millis (11-4-5); 3. Grafton/Blackstone Valley (11-7-2); 4. Worcester (10-7-3); 5. Lunenburg/Ayer Shirley (10-9-1); 6. Fitchburg/Monty Tech (8-8-4); 7. Oakmont (7-7-6); 8. Littleton/Bromfield (8-11-1).

Mon., Feb. 24 — Quarterfinals

Littleton/Bromfield vs. Northbridge at New England Sports Center, Marlborough, 7:40.

Tue., Feb. 25 — Quarterfinals

Lunenburg/Ayer Shirley vs. Worcester at Buffone Arena, Worcester, 5:30.

Wed., Feb. 26 — Quarterfinals

Oakmont vs. Hopedale/Millis at Horgan Rink, Auburn, 5; Fitchburg/Monty Tech vs. Grafton/Blackstone Valley at Buffone Arena, Worcester, 6.

Jim Clark can be reached at jim.clark@globe.com.