Boys Division 1 Prep Poll
Boys Prep hockey’s top two teams met Saturday when #1 Kent hosted #2 Salisbury in their second meeting of the season (the two teams tied 2-2 earlier this year).
And it was top-ranked Kent (12-1-1) that made the emphatic statement, taking a 6-2 win over the Crimson Knights behind the two-goal performances of Lewis Zerter-Gossage and Phil Klitirinos. The win snapped Salisbury’s 24-game unbeaten streak (20-0-4) dating back to late January 2013, a skein that included a 4-1 win over Kent to win the 2013 New England Prep Elite title.
“I think the mindset coming into the game was that we wanted to make a statement,” said Kent first-year coach Dale Reinhardt. “The first time we played them we came out a little slow and played tentatively. This rivalry has really been growing over the last couple years between these two teams so we just wanted to go out, execute, and have fun. I don’t think the Trinity-Pawling tie (Salisbury tied them earlier in the week) played into our mindset at all. There was no need to motivate our guys. They have been waiting for this one for a while.”
The first period ended in a scoreless tie. Kent broke a 1-1 second period tie with two late goals, one by Klitirinos the other a bomb from defenseman JoshHardiman. Zerter-Gossage’s unassisted tally made it 4-1 early in the third and the Lions were on their way.
“I don’t think we did anything particularly special,” Reinhardt said. “We were just responsible in all areas of the ice. We made sure we had a third guy high on the forecheck as to not allow for odd mans. We wanted to stay out of the penalty box, which we did for the most part until late in the third. Their power play is dangerous with the talented players they have. From a defensive standpoint we didn’t do anything special, just executed what we talk about. And Steve (Morrissey) was solid in net as usual. He is Mr. Reliable back there.”
This week’s docket for Kent includes Taft on Wednesday and improved Westminster on Saturday.
Salisbury (9-1-3), which drops down to #4 in the poll, doesn’t have any time to be frustrated. The Crimson Knights have a tough week ahead and can gain some confidence with a solid week. Salisbury is right back at it against Choate Monday, Gunnery on Wednesday and Berkshire on Saturday.
An undefeated week propels Phillips Exeter (14-2-1) to the #2 spot. The Big Red sandwiched wins over St. Paul’s (6-4) and Hotchkiss (4-1) around a 3-3 tie with Tabor. Like Salisbury, Exeter has a tough week with Kimball Union Wednesday, Cushing (Friday) and St. Sebastian’s (Saturday).
“We are playing well which I was hopeful about last fall knowing the group I had this winter,” said Phillips Exeter coach Dana Barbin. “We have a tough week with very strong opponents. We’re excited about it!”
The top line of David White (23 goals), Henry Hart (38 pts) and Kevin Neiley (36 pts) has led the way offensively for Exeter, which is strong on defense with the likes of Spenser Young Peter Christie, Matt Foley and Trevor Cosgrove.
A huge 6-4 win this past Wednesday over Cushing, coupled with a 5-1 decision of Phillips Andover, moves Thayer (13-2-0) into the #3 position. The Tigers are getting huge production from Adam Gaudette, Lincoln Griffin and Neil Conway. They only play once this week, on Wednesday against St. Paul’s.
#5 Cushing (15-4-0) bounced back from the Thayer loss to blank Governor’s Academy, 3-0. Recent Boston College commit David Cotton and junior Jake Simons are leading the Penguins offense. Northfield, Exeter and Belmont Hill loom this week.
Berkshire (11-3-2) climbs to the #6 spot. The Bears had a solid week with wins over Hotchkiss (3-2), and Avon Old Farms (3-2, OT), along with a 1-1 tie with Choate. The Bears have Hotchkiss Wednesday before their biggie Saturday with Salisbury.
And look who is at #7? It’s Gunnery (11-5-0). The Highlanders are red-hot after a slow start. They were facing off with Albany Academy today, and then get to see what they can do Wednesday against Salisbury.
#8 Nobles (11-4-1) had a good beginning to the week, downing St. Paul’s (9-2) and Lawrence Academy (3-0) before running into a buzzsaw at Phillips Andover Saturday, falling 8-4. The Bulldogs would like nothing more than to rebound against St. Sebastian’s and pesky Rivers this week.
#9 Kimball Union (14-4-3) rebounded from a loss to Deerfield (5-3) with a sold win over Brewster Academy. The Wildcats can move up in the poll if they can knock off Exeter on Wednesday.
#10 Dexter came back from break with a vengeance, defeating NJ power Delbarton earlier today by a 4-1 count. St. George’s and St. Mark’s will battle Dexter this week.
The remaining poll members this week are #11 Choate (8-4-2), #12 Northfield (12-5-1), #13 Williston (8-5-1), #14 Millbrook (12-6-1) and #15 Westminster (7-5-2).