For the third straight year, the three-time defending Super 8 champion Malden Catholic Lancers finished No. 1 in our MIAA boys' hockey Top 25 poll.
After hovering around .500 for the first half of the season, the Lancers turned it and rolled through the Super 8 en route to another celebration on the TD Garden ice.
We pulled Catholic Memorial into the No. 2 spot with the belief that whichever team won the Catholic Conference duel in the Super 8 semifinals had an inside track. However, don't be surprised if the 2013-14 rankings kick off with Super 8 runner-up Austin Prep in the pole position.
Moving past the Super 8 teams populating the Top 10, the Middlesex League provides a strong middle class to the final poll. Beginning with No. 8 Reading (Super 8 team), four straight Middlesex League teams represent, with back-to-back Division 2 state champion Wilmington and two-time defending Division 1 champion Burlington round out the Top 10. Division 1 North runner-up Winchester checks in at No. 11.
The Middlesex League led all conferences with six representing teams in the final poll (including No. 19 Melrose and No. 20 Wakefield).
Wilmington (D2) was ranked ahead of Burlington (D1) on the strength of two regular-season conference wins. The Wildcats will join fellow Div. 2 finalist Franklin (No. 17) in the Div. 1 poll next year.