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Massachusetts High School Hockey: Super 8 Watch List and key games this week

The battle for the final few Super 8 spots is in full force and teams have precious time to state their case for inclusion in the premier high school hockey tournament in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts High School Hockey Coaches Association released its initial Super 8 Tournament watch list on Sunday.

This is just one man's opinion, but this is how I see the watch list in terms of how safe some teams, what teams have work to do and what teams are in more of a precarious situation.

Sure bets - these teams are solidly in the Super 8 and should be the top 4 seeds regardless:

Malden Catholic
Springfield Cathedral
Austin Prep
BC High

Looking good for a Super 8 bid, barring a major meltdown:

St. John's Prep
Xaverian
Central Catholic

On the inside of the bubble currently, but need to keep winning:

Woburn
Burlington

Needs a resume-enhancing win or two:

Duxbury
St. Mary's
Arlington Catholic
Wellesley
Milton
Barnstable
Hingham
Braintree
Catholic Memorial
Franklin
Arlington

Nice season, but not a candidate for the Super 8:

Medfield
Tewksbury
Weymouth

Let's take a look at key games on the schedule the next few days. Games involving one team that is so squarely in, Malden Catholic for example, against out-of-state teams or other games only involving one Super 8 contender might be omitted. For full schedules visit www.masshshockey.com or www.myhockeylive.com.

Wednesday

BC High at Malden Catholic (3 p.m., Valley Forum II, Malden)
Xaverian at Barnstable (5 p.m., Kennedy Skating Rink)
Milton at Wellesley (5:45 p.m., Babson Skating Rink)
Woburn at Arlington (6 p.m., Ed Burns Arena)

The Milton-Wellesley game is effectively an elimination game. There is no guarantee that a win will assure either team a spot in the Supr 8 as both are on the outside looking in, but a loss will all but end the loser's chances at a Super 8 bid. Woburn is certainly looking good for a Super 8 bid, but as a public, it needs to keep winning. Arlington is still looking to bolster its resume. A win against the Tanners would certainly do that. Xaverian is one of the 10 best teams in the state, but for seeding purposes, it can't afford too many more losses. Barnstable needs to prove it can compete with the best teams in the state and a win over the Hawks would go along way in impressing the committee.

Thursday

Woburn at Burlington (3 p.m., Burlington Ice Palace)
Catholic Memorial at BC High (5 p.m., Beacon Rink)
Austin Prep at Arlington Catholic (8 p.m., Ed Burns Arena)

In this writer's opinion, two teams from the Middlesex League deserve to make the Super 8. The league has more than proven it is the best public league in the state over the years. However, a win in this marquee game between Woburn and Burlington could really help the resume of the team that comes out on top. CM is definitely on the outside looking in, and isn't even .500 at the time of this article, so it needs every win it can get, especially against a team like BC High. AP is clearly in the tournament, but a win for AC on Thursday night could really solidify the resume of Dan Shine's team.

Friday

Franklin at Malden Catholic (3 p.m., Valley Forum II)

Franklin has tied Springfield Cathedral, but has a relatively unimpressive resume otherwise. An upset win over MC could really elevate Franklin's chances at making the Super 8.

We'll revisit the key games for the slate of games over the holiday weekend later in the week.

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Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.