We are five weeks into the Vermont HS Hockey season and our Champlain Valley Insider Nick Mumley ranks down the Top 10 in this weeks power rankings:
Rice Memorial (7-1-0) LW: 1
Rice remains at #1 this week after running over Rutland and South Burlington by a combined score of 12-3. The Green Knights’ lone blemish remains a one-goal loss to BFA, but the two teams have gone in completely separate directions since. They have a marquee matchup slated for Saturday afternoon, however, as they travel to #3 Spaulding. If they win that contest, expect them to keep their #1 rank for the foreseeable future.
Essex (5-1-1) LW: 2
Essex outskated rival BFA at Collins-Perley on Saturday, using two quick scores in the first five minutes to take the victory. It was my first time seeing this year’s Hornets team in person, and they certainly passed the eye test. They’ve got a fantastic defensive core that paves the way for their offense – which isn’t lacking either- they outscored their opponents 9-0 this week. They don’t get another shot at Rice until February, so it’ll be tough to get back to #1 for now, but that doesn’t mean they won’t dominate just about any team in Vermont.
Spaulding (5-1-0) LW: 3
The Crimson Tide barely held on for a 3-2 overtime win over a 1-6-1 Colchester team this week, but they hang on to the #3 spot for now. This is a really young team, but their talent has them winning games left and right at the moment. They face a huge test on Saturday when #1 Rice comes to Barre, and that might be the best chance to gauge where they stand against the best of D-1.
BFA St Albans (5-3-0) LW: 4
Since being ranked #1 two weeks ago, BFA has won just once in the new year, and have been shutout twice. They’re really feeling the loss of all-state forward Colby Brouillette, as for the first time in recent memory they are without a go-to goal scorer. Goaltender Dan Ellis has been there to bail out the offense on multiple occasions this year, but the Bobwhites are running out of time to find some scoring- they’ve fallen to 5th place in the D-1 standings.
Woodstock (6-1-2) LW: 5
Woodstock couldn’t find the back of the net in a surprising tie with Burr & Burton early in the week, but then found their offense against MMU in a 7-0 victory on Saturday. This team isn’t really comparable to the dominant, championship-winning squads of the last two years, but I still believe that they’re the top team in D-2. They need to find ways to score with more consistency, though, as they currently sit in 4th place in the standings.
Harwood (8-0-0) LW: 10
Harwood has shot right up the rankings the last few weeks, and for good reason. They’re the last remaining undefeated team in all of Vermont hockey, and the only team to reach eight wins through five weeks. Last week I said they needed to get a win over a top team before I started to really move them up, and they did just that, defeating #7 Milton 2-1. Things get difficult for them from here, with their next four games coming against teams that are either ranked or on the bubble. That stretch begins Wednesday night with a visit to Missisquoi.
Milton (7-2-0) LW: 6
Milton drops one spot this week after losing their 2nd game of the year to undefeated Harwood. The Yellowjackets also won a contest against #10 Hartford, however, and are sitting in a good spot at #3 in the D-2 standings. They still need to find a little bit more scoring in order to become a true powerhouse, but they’re playing really solid defensive hockey right now. This senior-laden group seems destined for 15 wins this year.
Lyndon (6-3-0) LW: 8
The Vikings remain at #8 this week after winning their 4th straight contest against Northfield on Saturday. They also recorded a win over #10 Hartford this week as well. Perhaps they’re catching their stride as we near the mid-way point of the year. They’ve got a very solid group and can be a real factor in the D-2 playoffs.They have two huge games this week: a home contest against fierce rival St. Johnsbury and a roadtrip to undefeated #6 Harwood.
Stowe (5-3-0) LW: 7
After pulling out a huge road win over #4 BFA two weeks ago, Stowe has begun to struggle again. They held on for a 4-2 win over 1-win Colchester and then lost to bubble team Middlebury at home on Saturday. The Raiders are capable of hanging with the big names in D-1, but they still have work to do before they become one themselves. They have another chance to prove themselves this week, as they host #2 Essex on Saturday night.
Hartford (5-3-1) LW: 9
Hartford limped to two difficult losses this week, dropping games to D-2 contenders Milton and Lyndon. The Hurricanes don’t have any bad losses, but they need to start winning games more consistently over their D-2 counterparts. They have yet to win against a top 10 team, but they do have a tie with Woodstock. They have a golden opportunity to win some valuable D-1 index points this week when they host the 2-win CVU Redhawks.
OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
Brattleboro (6-2-1), Middlebury (4-4-0), Missisquoi (4-2-1), Burr & Burton (4-4-1)