The rankings could see a shift at the top after this week. Tufts faces off against Wesleyan in a heavyweight, midseason bought for the top of the NESCAC. The Jumbos are ranked third in the nation, and the Cardinals aren’t behind as the fifth slotted squad.
Some of the best goalies in the nation post up in the creases throughout New England and have kept theise teams in the playoff race, so we also take a look at the best of the best from this season.
1. Tufts (8-0)
The Jumbos remain on a role. Behind Danny Murphy, Tufts has responded to last season’s disappointing defeat and have returned stronger than ever. Casey D’Annolfo has turned the Jumbos around his second season at the helm, and they are easily a national title contender. The NESCAC is as tough a path as any in the nation, and being tested early against Wesleyan isn’t a bad thing. Murphy highlights the group having strong seasons, but the Jumbos are deep, and that’s what makes them contenders.
2. Wesleyan (8-1)
Other than the one blip on the radar early against Coast Guard, Wesleyan has been exactly what everyone expected; an absolute juggernaut. Harry Stanton is still as dangerous as ever with 22 goals, and Carter Hawthorne has posted 21 assists to lead the team in scoring. Ronan Jacoby (Glastonbury, Conn) has also emerged as a freshman. Their biggest test of the season is against Tufts, which should live up to the hype.
3. Amherst (8-2)
The seventh-ranked Mammoths aren’t getting as much love as the two NESCAC topping teams, but as we saw last year, they can make a lot of noise. Sophomore Dylan Finazzo has been stellar at the faceoff dot, and the offensive duo of Evan Wolf and Matt Solberg is tough to contest with. Even 19 assists from Colin Mincus (Darien, Conn) have helped pace the offense. A loss to Wesleyan set them back, and the rest of the conference schedule is as tough as any NESCAC follower would expect.
4. Connecticut College (8-2)
The 20th ranked team in the nation, the Camels have stood pat in that spot for a couple of weeks. PJ Kelleher (Walpole, Mass) has been a beast with 24 helpers while Jordan Foster has put up the tallies with 25. One of their only blips on the radar has been against Tufts, and their schedule only gets tougher the rest of the way. Three of their final five games are at home, but those two road games are at Wesleyan and a hungry Bates squad.
5. Bowdoin (7-2)
The Polar Bears have made a leap in the NESCAC this season, winning seven in a row after their first two defeats. John Young has been terrific in net as they’ve racked up the wins against Bates, Middlebury, and New England. The losses they did have were against Connecticut College and Wesleyan, so their upcoming NESCAC schedule should challenge them before the conference postseason.
6. Coast Guard (7-2)
The Bears have recovered from a midseason stretch where they lost two of three games. Behind 21 goal scorer Riley McNulty, the Bears have been able to score upwards of 10 goals per game five times. Their schedule is highlighted by a win over Wesleyan early in the year. Losses to Ithaca and Connecticut College have them a bit lower, but they have a chance to prove themselves in the NEWMAC, a competitive conference not getting the same attention as the NESCAC despite strong teams.
7. Salve Regina (7-3)
Behind freshman Pat Leary (Wakefield, Mass), Salve Regina has been scoring like crazy. With double digit goals in every game except one, scoring has been their fortay. Cranston, RI’s Andrew Fera has 25 tallies of his own at the top of the scoring charts. Games against Wentworth, New England, and Western New England will test them. So far this year, Salve Regina has won in blowouts and tight games, with close defeats to conference-undefeated Endicott, Clark, and St. Joseph’s.
8. Bates (6-5)
It’s certainly a step down from last season, but the Bobcats are far from done. A heartbreaker against Bowdoin has them out of the national conversation, but their schedule has already been brutal up to this point. Matt Chlastawa and Clarke Jones have been as good as expected, but replacing Charlie Fay is an almost impossible task. They’ve played a ton of tight games this season, and at some point that will even out in their favor.
9. Wentworth (6-4)
Sophomore Dolan McCarthy (Hyde Park, Mass) has broken out for the Jaguars with 30 goals, but two losses in a row have them trending downwards. The schedule has gotten tough, and Salve Regina this week is one of their biggest challenges all season. The Jags have talent and got off to a great start, but they need to turn around their 1-3 conference record.
10. Middlebury (4-5)
The Panthers may have recovered from their mid-season slump, and there’s still some time left. Contests against Trinity, Tufts, and Williams look more important than ever. Scoring has been down at times for the Panthers, but Michael McCormack (Williamstown, Mass) has been key at the top of the scoring for them.
Top 10 Goalies
1. Rob Strain, Bates: The scoring is often highlighted when talking about Bates, but Strain has kept the Bobcats in games all season. With a 51 percent save percentage, he’s been a part of a lot of one goal games for the offensive-minded Bobcats.
2. John Young, Bowdoin: Young has been stellar for an upstart Polar Bears squad. With a 55 percent save percentage, he’s allowed the seven game run they have gone on. He held the University of New England to five goals earlier in the season, and even in the loss to Connecticut College, allowed just eight goals.
3. Jameson Hill, Connecticut College: Speaking of the Camels, Hill has been a star in cage. The junior out of Wilton, Connecticut has saved 59 percent of shots he’s seen. Chatham’s Hunter Rosenthall has seen some time in net as well, but it’s mostly been Hill’s job. He’s held teams under 10 goals six times.
4. Trey Johnson, Coast Guard: The Bears have played well all year, and Johnson is a big reason behind it. With a 60 percent save percentage, he’s stopped 73 shots this season. He held Wesleyan under 10 goals, and has held teams to just one and two tallies twice this year.
5. Matt D’Amore, Salve Regina: The senior out of Duxbury has stopped 56 percent of shots he’s faced and has mae 114 saves. Salve Regina has been a story this season, and a lot of that comes from D’Amore’s performance in the cage. He held Salem State to just three tallies early in the season, and has gone on to hold down Wheaton and led his team to a 7-6 win over SUNY Maritime.
6. Chandler Miller, Wheaton: The Oregon native has stopped 59 percent of shots he’s faced and has put Wheaton on the map as a contender. He held UMass Dartmouth to two goals in a game this season, and held New England College to seven tallies.
7. Tyler Nevers, New England: With 72 saves this season, the Southbury, Connecticut native has kept the University of New England right at the .500 mark. He held Southern Maine to just three goals and allowed just six in an early season win against Wheaton. The senior also held Plymouth State to just four tallies in the second game of the year.
8. Nathan Maselek, Clark: Maselek just got the Cougars back on track, holding Plymouth State to four goals. With 109 saves this year, the junior out of Marblehead has saved 65 percent of the shots he’s faced, keeping the 5-4 Cougars in the hunt.
9. Cam Hayward, Mount Ida: The Mustangs suffered a lot of losses earlier in the season, but the Derry, New Hampshire native has them right back in the race. Hayward has faced an onslaught of shots this season, forced to make 126 saves en route to a 58 percent clip. The Mustangs have won four of their last five matches, and their opponent has been held under 10 tallies each occasion.
10. Connor Trainor, St. Joseph’s: With 75 saves, Trainor has kept the Monks conference postseason hopes alive. He’s posted a 49 percent save percentage and has held teams down, even when the Monks have had some scoring woes. He held Southern Maine to six goals and Thomas to just four.