For those who follow college hockey with just a passing interest in recruiting or high school puck, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) conducts a Super 8 Tournament each March for the top teams in the state.
Each Sunday or Monday until the high school season is over Jeff Cox will bring viewers up-to-date on the latest in Massachusetts high school hockey with team and player rankings.
This is the first edition of the SBNation Massachusetts High School Hockey Super 8 Power Rankings (Results as of Jan. 5).
1. Malden Catholic (5-0-0)
The three-time defending Super 8 Champions are off to a fast start, including wins over Austin Prep in the Christie Serino Christmas Classic and St. John's Prep at Fenway Park. John McLean's team has three of the top six forwards in the state.
2. BC High (5-0-1)
The Eagles lost goaltender Peter Cronin, a Bowdoin commit, to graduation and haven't missed a beat. Sophomore Brandon Payzant has been terrific, as has the defense as a whole. John Flaherty's team has given up just five goals in six games. Senior Sam Topham is the leader of the blue line, but a pair of sophomores, Ryan Shea and Billy Roche, are names to look for in the future. Tuesday night poses the biggest challenge yet, a home date against the top ranked Lancers.
3. Xaverian (6-0-1)
No one expected Dave Spinale's team to be as good as it has been in the early part of the season. The Hawks are averaging five goals per game while giving up just over a goal per game. Senior Antonio Marini was the known commodity and he has been as good as advertised, but keep an eye out for sophomore Jonathan Beniers and junior Tim Sweeney.
4. Central Catholic (5-0-1)
Mike Jankowski's team is used to being the underdog trying to fight for a spot in the Super 8, but this season might be different. The Raiders don't have the household names that have college coaches in attendance, but top to bottom this team can skate and has terrific senior leadership. Goaltender Colin Soucy made a name for himself in last year's Super 8 and Lloyd Hayes keeps the offense churning. Two more seniors, Corey Webber and Alex Lester, are also important players.
5. Arlington Catholic (5-0-1)
Longtime coach Dan Shine has seen some down years recently, but his Cougars appear primed to re-emerge on the scene as contenders for a berth in the Super 8. Senior goaltender John Richard is a big reason AC had only given up three goals in its first five games before a 3-3 tie with Austin Prep Saturday. Ryan Smith, Andy Somerville and Bernie McGovern spark the offense.
6. Springfield Cathedral (5-1-1)
Perhaps no team in the state had more buzz surrounding the program in December with the commitment of the Petruzzelli brothers to Quinnipiac. Keith, a goaltender, was the first '99 in the country to commit to a college. His older brother D.J. leads the offense along with Holy Cross recruit Peter Crinella. UMass recruit Johnny Leonard is also a key factor. After a tough loss to Archbishop Williams, SC has won three games in a row by a combined score of 21-5.
7. Catholic Memorial (5-1-0)
The Knights lost three key players, UMass recruit Liam Coughlin to graduation, Cornell recruit Beau Starrett to juniors and Kevin Hock to prep school. Bill Hanson's team doesn't have one player that can duplicate any of the above-mentioned trio, but he will roll four lines. Junior captain Aaron Clancy has a quick release, and sophomore Paul Hardiman is a player who could draw college interest in the future.
8. Austin Prep (3-2-2)
Louis Finnochiaro's team was the runner-up to Malden Catholic last season, but the Cougars are off to a slow start. Junior Bobo Carpenter, a Boston University recruit and the son of NHL veteran Bobby Carpenter, has a heavy shot, but AP lacks the depth of other teams fighting for a spot in the Super 8. Goaltender Elijah Harris is one of the top uncommitted goalies in New England, but he has been left out to dry by an inexperienced and youthful blue line.
On the Bubble: Reading, St. John's (Shrewsbury), Burlington, Milton, Melrose, Archbishop Williams
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Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting, NHL Draft prospects and the AHL for SBNation. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation.