Favorites: No. 1 St. John’s Prep (17-2-1), No. 2 Catholic Memorial (17-2-1), No. 3 Hingham (14-3-5)
Sleeper: No. 8 BC High (10-9-1)
Best first-round matchup: Wednesday, No. 22 Weymouth (12-8-2) at No. 11 Braintree (12-6-2), Zapustas Rink, Randolph, 6 p.m.
Longest trip: Wednesday, No. 29 Bishop Feehan (10-11-1) at No. 4 Pope Francis (16-2-3), Olympia Ice Center, West Springfield, 6:50 p.m. –– 94 miles
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Cam Fici, Belmont –– The senior captain accumulated 50 points (32 goals, 18 assists) in 22 games, a 2.27 points per game pace. Armed with a lightning quick release and bullet of a shot, Fici has 72 goals in three seasons.
Aidan Holland, St. John’s Prep –– The senior captain patrols the blueline for the reigning champs, supplying offense (19 points), strong defensive work rate, and the ability to win puck battles.
Chase McKenna, Hingham –– A strong and agile defenseman, the senior captain has contributed 22 points.
Brady Quakenbush, Marshfield –– The senior goaltender has posted a 12-2-2 record, buoyed by seven shutouts. With a 0.81 goals against average and a .954 save percentage, Quakenbush cuts down angles and nullifies rebound opportunities.
Jake Russell, Arlington –– A crafty forward, the senior has posted 12 goals and 19 assists and forms a formidable duo with fellow senior Drew Fecteau (11 goals, 17 assists).
Owen Watson, Catholic Memorial –– Armed with a 15-2-1 record, the junior from Newton recorded seven shutouts. A strong cross-crease push and excellent glove hand are evidenced by .941 save percentage and 1.16 goals against average.
Analysis: Defending champion St. John’s Prep, armed with a talented first line of seniors Cole Blaeser, Jimmy Ayers, and Will Van Sicklin, will be a tough out . . . Bowdoin-bound senior defenseman Finn Burke anchors the blue line for Catholic Memorial, the Catholic Conference champion . . . Pope Francis and Woburn are among the hottest teams in the state and BC High has regained its form, winning five in a row. Hingham, Marshfield, and Xaverian all play hard-working styles. Publics Belmont, Braintree, Franklin, Wellesley, and Reading have been battle tested and possess the qualities to make a run . . . Freshman goaltender Anthony Palmer could steal a game for St. Mary’s, in addition to stellar senior captain Brady Bullock, the Catholic Central League MVP.
Facts and figures: The field consists of 21 public school teams and 12 privates, though six of the top 10 seeds are the latter . . . All six Catholic Conference teams qualified for the tournament, including five in the top nine spots . . . Two first-round matchups are league foes: No. 19 Woburn visiting No. 14 Reading (Middlesex Liberty) and No. 22 Weymouth at No. 11 Braintree (Bay State Herget) . . . The only other first-round matchup that is a rematch: No. 15 St. Mary’s and No. 18 Central Catholic, who met on Feb. 21, a 4-0 triumph for the Spartans.
Favorites: No. 1 Tewksbury (18-1-1), No. 2 Duxbury (15-5-2), No. 3 Canton (17-4-0)
Sleeper: No. 15 Boston Latin (10-7-3)
Best first-round matchup: Wednesday, No. 17 Norwood (12-6-2) at No. 16 Marblehead (13-5-4), Rockett Arena, Salem, 7:30 p.m.
Longest trip: Wednesday, No. 22 Westborough (11-9) at No. 11 Plymouth South (12-7-1), Gallo Arena, Buzzards Bay, 7:45 p.m. — 74.4 miles
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Nick Dicioccio, Tewksbury — The No. 1 defenseman for the defending Division 2 champs, Dicioccio has impacted every phase of the game for Tewksbury with a 6-24–30 line as a senior.
Aidan Dunphy, Silver Lake — The first Laker to top 100 career points since 1985 — as a defenseman, no less — there may be no more dynamic blue liner in the state than Dunphy, with 13-31–44 totals as a senior.
Jason Finkelstein, Walpole — Battle tested in a Bay State Herget Division featuring four Division 1 opponents, the senior has paced the Timberwolves with 19-19–38 totals.
Sam Mazanec, Duxbury — The run to the Garden starts from the net out for the Dragons, where Mazanec is the backbone with a 2.17 goals against average, .941 save percentage and four shutouts as a senior.
Pavit Mehra, Hopkinton — Back with the Hillers for his senior season, Mehra has been impossible to slow down to the tune of 32 goals and 22 assists for 54 points as the Tri-Valley League Large MVP.
Brendan Tourgee, Canton — The junior forward’s strong all-around game (10 goals, 10 assists) stands out on a deep Bulldogs roster looking to get back to the Garden for a second year in a row.
Analysis: Three of last season’s Final Four teams ― Tewksbury, Duxbury, and Canton — find themselves seeded first through third in this year’s Division 2 field. All three programs know their way around the TD Garden; the Redmen are defending champs, the Dragons captured a Division 1 title in 2019 and the Bulldogs have advanced to the Division 2 final in three of the last four seasons with a state tournament, winning in 2019 and coming away as co-champs a year later. Can an outsider enter the fray? Seeded fourth, Walpole emerged from a challenging Bay State Herget, where it’s the only Division 2 program. The Timberwolves were division co-champs in 2020.
Facts and figures: No team with a losing record in Division 2 will host a game in the Round of 32; it’s also the only one of the four divisions without a team that finished with a losing record seeded in the top 10. Wilmington, the No. 19 seed, is the top seed with a losing record (8-9-2) . . . The Patriot League is well-represented with four of the top 11 seeds. Duxbury (No. 2), Silver Lake (No. 5), and Whitman-Hanson (No. 9) from the Keenan, as well as Plymouth South (No. 11) representing the Fisher . . The only league contest scheduled for the Round of 32 is between No. 15 Boston Latin and No. 18 Concord-Carlisle. The Wolf Pack (10-7-3) and Patriots (11-8-1) finished third and fourth, respectively, in the DCL/MVC 2 and split their regular season series, with each home team winning . . . Westwood’s streak of consecutive postseason appearances is alive and well. The 24th-seeded Wolverines (12-7-1) have qualified every year since 1983, with the exception of 2020-21, in which there was no state tournament. Westwood has won five state championships in the interim, most recently in 2015 . . . Somerset Berkley (19-1) boasts the state’s best goal-differential at plus-85, outscoring foes by a 114-29 margin. The South Coast Conference champs drew the No. 13 seed.
Favorite: No. 1 Scituate (16-4-2), No. 3 Medfield (17-2-1)
Sleeper: No. 7 Hanover (7-10-3)
Best first-round matchup: Wednesday, No. 18 Bedford (9-9-2) at No. 15 Methuen (12-5-3), Methuen High, 6 p.m.
Longest road trip: Wednesday, No. 29 Pentucket (10-10-0) at No. 4 Nauset (15-5-0), Charles Moore Arena, Orleans, 7:10 p.m. — 123 miles
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Kevin Arthur, Medfield — The senior forward led the Tri-Valley League Large champs with 33 goals and 12 assists for 45 points, not to mention a plus-25 rating.
Drew Damiani, Lynnfield — Patrolling the blue line for the Cape Ann League champs, the senior has 11-18–29 totals for a Pioneers team that lost just once in the regular season.
Liam Monahan, Hanover — The senior has picked up right where he left off for the Hawks with a 2.55 goals against average, .909 save percentage, and a shutout.
Logan Poulin, Nauset — Only a sophomore, the forward from Truro was among the top scorers in the Cape & Islands with 23 goals and 18 assists.
Teagan Pratt, Scituate — Whether setting up his teammates or scoring himself, the dynamic senior excelled for the top-seeded Sailors with a 26-24–50 line.
Tommy Workman, Dracut/Tyngsboro — Now north of 100 points for his career, the senior from Dracut has flashed for the Middies all winter with a 15-31–46 line.
Analysis: Last year’s finalists, Hanover and Marlborough, are both seeded in the top seven; the seventh-seeded Hawks (7-10-3), who have advanced to the state championship game in five even-numbered years in a row (2014, 2016, 2018, 2020, 2022) may lack the same scoring punch they had from last year’s winner, but return goaltender Liam Monahan. The Panthers (12-5-3) were the only team from Central or Western Mass. to play at TD Garden a season ago. No. 1 Scituate (16-4-2) and No. 2 Lynnfield (18-1-1) were state semifinalists last winter. The Pioneers, who didn’t lose until Feb. 18 (vs. Division 2 contender Hopkinton) were the last team to suffer a loss in the state this winter.
Facts and figures: No. 5 Watertown (11-6-3), which now co-ops with Wayland, was a Division 4 finalist last winter, losing to Sandwich in double-overtime . . . No. 3 Medfield (17-2-1) and No. 4 Nauset (15-5) both boast first-year coaches in Bill Ladd and Connor Brickley, respectively . . . Teagan Pratt, the top scorer for No. 1 Scituate (16-4-2) is three points away from 100 for his career . . . No. 8 Essex Tech (17-1-2) enjoyed its best regular season in the brief six-year history of the program, capped with a win in the state vocational championship over Diman, 3-1, at Walter Brown Arena Saturday. The Hawks had the best goal differential in Division 3 at plus-76 (107 goals for, 31 against) and had two players finish north of 40 points in junior Logan Casey (16-27–43) and sophomore Brady Leonard (18-24–42), the son of coach Mark Leonard . . . No. 15 Methuen (12-5-3) and No. 18 Bedford (9-9-2) will play the only league matchup in the Round of 32. The top two finishers in the DCL/MVC 3, the Rangers will host the Middies despite finishing 0-1-1 against them in the regular season. The teams skated to a 3-3 tie on Jan. 7 in Methuen and Bedford won, 4-2, on Feb. 1 at the Edge Sports Center.
Favorites: No. 1 Norwell (20-1-0), No. 2 Sandwich (15-4-1)
Sleeper: No. 12 Hull/Cohasset (12-5-3)
Best first-round matchup: Wednesday, No. 18 Dover-Sherborn/Weston (8-12-0) at No. 15 Latin Academy (10-8-1), Devine Rink, Dorchester, 7:15 p.m.
Longest road trip: Wednesday, No. 25 Fitchburg (10-10-0) at No. 8 Martha’s Vineyard (12-8-0), Martha’s Vineyard Arena, 4:30 p.m. –– 129 miles
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Chris Cardillo and Colin McIver, Sandwich — The first-line high-scoring duo has produced 40 points apiece, with junior right wing Cardillo scoring 26 goals alongside McIver, the senior captain in the middle, who showed a healthy balance of finishing and distributing skills by posting 16 goals, 24 assists.
Ronan Locke, Swampscott –– A Northeastern Conference All-Star, the senior forward has tallied 23 goals and 18 assists.
Anthony Patete, East/West Bridgewater –– The dynamic senior captain from East Bridgewater joined the 100-point club after scoring 31 goals and adding 22 helpers.
Jake Quinn, Abington –– Capped off with a hat trick on senior night, the senior forward racked up 24 goals and 21 assists to lead an offense that scored 80 goals.
Petey Silverman, Winthrop –– The speedy junior captain was the Northeastern Conference MVP after vaulting the Vikings to a league championship with 27 goals and 25 assists.
Timmy Ward, Norwell –– Boasting an eye-popping 63 points, courtesy of 26 goals and 37 assists, the senior forward paces a potent offense that posted 113 goals.
Analysis: In just the second year of Division 4 play, Sandwich looks to hoist the trophy at the Garden once again. The Blue Knights won the Cape & Islands League Atlantic and Nantucket championed the Cape & Islands League Lighthouse, two of the four teams from the league to earn top-nine seeds. Grafton, who won the CMADA Class B tournament, owns an impressive 11-game winning streak, with Sandwich handing the Gators their last loss on Jan. 14. Norwell has not lost in 2023, winning the Newburyport Bank Classic Fournier Division amid a 14-game winning streak.
Facts and figures: Norwell, which finished 10-0-0 in the South Shore League, has outscored opponents by 84 goals, the second most in the state across all divisions . . . Shawsheen Tech allowed 24 goals this season, good for fourth-best in the state and best in Division 4 . . . Grafton scored the most goals in the Commonwealth with 121 in 21 games, 5.76 goals per game . . . Grafton and Shawsheen Tech, boosted by contributions of standout juniors Chase Darbey and Liam Milne, each own a plus-86 scoring margin.
Cam Kerry can be reached at email@example.com.