The Vermont High School hockey season has started for 2019-2020 and our own Nick Mumley has his Power Rankings After Week 1.
You can find him on Twitter @NickMumley11.
Final moments as MVU was unable to find the back of the net on the power play. https://t.co/Wuwel2SJJv
Here are the rankings:
The defending state champs were the only team to not play this week, but still get the #1 spot regardless. They ran unchallenged to a title last season, playing tremendous defense along the way- only giving up more than one goal in just four games, and not giving up a single goal in the entire playoffs. We’ll see if the defensive dominance will continue into 2019-20, and I think it’s a safe bet to say it will. You don’t win 16 championships by mistake.
BFA St Albans (2-0-0)
BFA starts this season ranked at #2, even after two impressive wins against D-II runner-up Colchester and DI runner-up Rice to begin the campaign. The Bobwhites are coming off of their second major playoff upset in as many years, after falling to CVU 1-0 in OT last year. They lost a lot of firepower with the graduation of Colby Brouillette and Cooper Cioffi (both All-State selections). BFA brings in South Burlington transfer Caden Hart to help ease that gap, and sophomore Matt Merrill seems to have made big strides coming into his second year. BFA will rely heavily on senior goalie Dan Ellis to continue to be one of the best goalies in the state. The Bobwhites lost three of their top four defensemen to graduation, so if they have any weakness this year, it’d be defensively.
The Wasps have won back to back DII titles and there’s no reason to believe Jon Chamberlain’s squad can’t make it a 3-peat in 2020. They only lost three players from last season’s 16-win team to graduation, and should be the obvious favorite again this year. Henry Greene is almost certainly the best goaltender in DII, and he proved that this weekend by earning a shutout in the season opening 3-0 win against Hartford. This might be the weakest Wasp team in the last three years, but they’re still the obvious favorite to win the title again.
Last season was an uncharacteristic disaster for Spaulding, after losing in the final in back to back seasons. Their 5-12-2 record in 2018-19 marked their worst season since 2013-14, and snapped a string of three straight seasons with 10+ wins. This year they bring back a more experienced group, and I think they’ll prove last season to be nothing more than a blip on the radar. Their opening night win over Stowe supports that theory. Look for the Crimson Tide to be right back in the thick of things in D-I, and for them to make 2019-20 their revenge tour.
The Vikings have a lot to be excited about this season, and for good reason- this might be the best Lyndon team of all time. The perennial cellar dwellers of D-II finally hit their stride in 2017-18, making a historic run all the way to the state final. Then one school’s bad luck was their own good luck, as they have now taken on the remaining talent from the former North Country team for the last two seasons. They’re led by lights-out scorers Patrick Gaudreau and Dan Lenoue, and have a whopping six goaltenders on their roster- most of which more than capable when put in any situation. They could use more consistency, but they have the ability to take down top teams with quick, powerful offensive spurts. They might have the best shot of anyone trying to end the Woodstock reign over D-II.
After being shocked by sixth-seeded Rice in last season’s playoffs, the Raiders are looking to once again be one of the top teams in D-I in 2019-20. It’s just their 4th year back in D-1, but they’ve already won 37 games in that timeframe. They were easily the #3 team in the state last year, and should be right in the mix again. An early season loss to Spaulding is a little concerning, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Raiders won 15+ games for the 2nd time in three years.
Rice Memorial (1-1-0)
The Green Knights, coached by former UVM defenseman Jerry Tarrant, were one of the youngest teams in the state in 2018-19, and still made an incredible run to the state final. They should be major contender this year, and they proved that already with a great effort in a one goal defeat to BFA. I’d say they’re still a year away from their peak, but that doesn’t mean they won’t inflict major damage throughout the state this year.
Milton may not have had their own rink for almost a decade, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be a contender in D-II in 2019-20. This year they’re back at Highgate Arena, after spending six seasons at Cairns Arena in South Burlington. They opened the season with an impressive 6-2 thumping of D-I South Burlington, and look to have their best team in the last few years. This program hasn’t been to a championship game since 1992, and haven’t won a title since 1980. They boast a very strong defense, and have a very real shot- in the 40th anniversary season of that championship- to win it all again.
MVU has seen a lot of success in recent years, but they have never been able to find a way to finish the job. And it looks like those demons might have followed the Thunderbirds into the 2019-20 season as well. They lost on opening night 4-3 in OT after erasing a 3-0 deficit, only to give up the game winner with just four seconds to go in the game. Then on Saturday night they dominated Lyndon only to fall 3-2. This is a team that has the potential for a top five ranking this year. They lost 100-point scorer Braylen Parent but return two of the best players in the state in Kyle Gilbert and Hunter Mason. For seventh year head coach Chris Hatin, however, it’s all about whether or not they can finally put it all together and win the big games.
The Colonels are the definition of a dark horse for this season. They have a youthful roster packed with talent, and they have already shown that they’re going to be a tough squad to beat. Guys like Jack Pattison and Anthony Polomba are in line for big years offensively. They already won against D-I Rutland, 5-2, and look like they could make some noise in the tournament in 2019-20.
OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
CVU (1-1-0), Burlington (2-1-0), Middlebury (0-1-0), Harwood (2-0-0)