Here’s our initial Super 8 hockey tournament, 10-team projection.
We still have a pivotal week ahead for the teams looking to qualify, including some must-see holiday week tournaments, so there could be plenty of movement on this list.
We’ll have Version 2.0 to you next Friday, following the completion of the remaining games of note and before Saturday’s Super 8 selection committee meeting.
Of course, we’d like to hear your input, and feel free to give us your 10-team field below in the Comments field or via Twitter (@espnbostonhs and @espnscottb).
1. BC High (12-1-3)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking: 2
Why they’re in this spot: While you can make an argument for three-time returning champion Malden Catholic in this spot, having tied the teams’ season series, I think the selection committee always considers record first. And with the Eagles with just one loss to date, I think that pulls the greatest sway.
What they need to do: The Catholic Conference champions can stand pat and still make the tournament, but a championship at Falmouth’s Buddy Ferreira Classic would all but seal up the top spot.
2. Malden Catholic (13-3-0)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking: 1
Why they’re in this spot: MC’s losses on the season have come against BC High, Catholic Memorial and New Jersey state power Delbarton School. The Lancers let undisciplined play get the better of themselves at times, but they’ve tightened that up during the last couple of weeks, including a critical 3-1 win over BC High on home ice, avenging their earlier loss on Morrissey Boulevard.
What they need to do: There’s still a chance they could end up with the top spot, especially with a win against Catholic Memorial on Friday. Also, a championship at the Springfield Cathedral could earn the Lancers the top spot.
3. Austin Prep (11-3-4)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking: 4
Why they’re in this spot: The Catholic Central Large champions are playing some of their best hockey this season at its most critical time. It also helps that the Cougars are finally healthy, having only returned its entire roster for practice at the start of this week.
What they need to do: A strong showing or a championship at the Buddy Ferreira Classic would all but guarantee the Cougars a top four spot, perhaps higher.
4. Catholic Memorial (9-4-3)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking: 3
Why they’re in this spot: CM could have had a shot at the top spot, but hit a scoring snag in late January and early this month, including a couple of uneven losses to BC High cost the Knights that advantage. Otherwise, there’s nothing else in the resume to deter them from being in the top part of the bracket.
What they need to do: The Knights still have a couple battles against Super 8 hopefuls, and with wins over Malden Catholic (Friday) and Central Catholic (Monday) could move up a few spots.
5. Springfield Cathedral (12-2-4)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking: 6
Why they’re in this spot: The Panthers are 2-1-3 to this point against Super 8 Watch List teams, but the highlight thus far might have been their 1-1 tie at BC High on Jan. 25.
What they need to do: As in the case of MC, the Panthers would be greatly advantaged by a win at their host tournament next week and, if so, could slide as high as No. 2.
6. Xaverian (8-3-6)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking: 5
Why they’re in this spot: The Hawks could have been among the top seeds in the tournament, perhaps, if not for a couple of third-period comebacks against them while playing Catholic Conference rivals BC High and Catholic Memorial. Xaverian had both teams on the ropes earlier this season, only to skate away with a point in a pair of ties.
What they need to do: The Hawks need to take care of business against St. John’s of Shrewsbury in the teams’ finale. It’s the only Top 25 matchup remaining of their three games and they’ll want to leave a lasting impression with the committee against another Super 8 Watch List squad.
(Play-in seeds, determined by team records):
7. St. Mary’s (13-5-2)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking: 10
Why they’re in this spot: The Spartans finished second in the Catholic Central Large and look to bounce back into the field after the missing the tournament altogether last year. With senior goaltender Bailey MacBurnie back in the paint, the Spartans should make their second (and second with MacBurnie in the pipes) Super 8 appearance.
What they need to do: If they go out to West Springfield and pull out a win (or two) at the Cathedral tournament, they could find themselves in the top four, and avoiding a play-in game.
8. Arlington Catholic (12-4-1)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking: 9
Why they’re in this spot: The Cougars could be a hinge vote to any public school’s hope (Winchester? Beverly?) of getting in the field, as they would figure as the third CCL team in. There’s hard to find too much fault with the Cougars’ resume, however.
What they need to do: Again, like several of the aforementioned teams, they would be greatly advantaged with a strong showing (two wins plus?) on the Cape next week. Their destiny is in their hands.
9. Central Catholic (11-3-3)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking: 7
Why they’re in this spot: The Raiders have claimed a couple wins over teams listed ahead of them in this version, including Cathedral and Austin Prep, but have struggled of late with a league tie against Chelmsford (1-1) and a wild shootout with Waltham – an 8-6 win on Wednesday.
What they need to do: The Raiders are the busiest of the bubble teams, with five games yet to play in about a week’s time before the end of the regular season. They’d be greatly advantaged with a win over CM on Monday to aid their resume – and perhaps, move out of a play-in game scenario.
10. St. John’s Prep (7-8-2)
Current ESPN Boston Top 25 ranking: 8
Why they’re in this spot: If – and that’s still a considerable IF at this point – the Eagles qualify for the tournament, they still should garner consideration for the field, given their strength of schedule. They’re somewhat lacking in marquee wins – having not won a Catholic Conference game this season – but in a year of such parity, the committee will be hard pressed to find a team that deserves to be there ahead of them, considering the group of Archbishop Williams, St. John's (Shrewsbury), Winchester, or perhaps Division 2 Beverly among them.
What they need to do: To put it simply – win out. They need the points and can’t leave anything to chance.