Neutral Zone Prep Hockey Poll: Week 7

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This week, several teams moved in the poll, but Salisbury (16-0-1) remained in the first spot. After playing three games in five days against Gunnery, Berkshire and Brunswick, they earned three wins–with two coming in overtime. They have been tested but maintain their perfect record. This week Salisbury will face Trinity-Pawling and Kent.

Rivers (18-1-2) remains in the second spot after winning its last eight games. They’ve allowed just seven goals over that span and will face one more ranked team before the season ends.

Moving up to the third spot is Northfield Mount Hermon (16-2-3), which hasn’t lost since an overtime decision to Cushing on December 29. Their only other loss was in the second game of the season against Westminster, and Northfield Mount Hermon is on an 11-game unbeaten streak. Over that period they’ve defeated Cushing, Taft, Avon, Tilton and Thayer. Currently, Eric Green is the best goaltender in prep hockey. They’ll face Kimball Union this week.

Kimball Union (17-4-1) defeated Exeter, which was ranked third last week, 4-3. The Wildcats also defeated Tilton 6-1 and haven’t lost a NEPSHIA game in 2018, but they have a non-league loss to Stanstead. After facing Northfield Mount Hermon and Cushing this week, the Wildcats will take on an unranked schedule.

Milton (11-2-1) didn’t play this past week but is on an eight-game unbeaten streak. This week the Mustangs will face two teams over .500 in St. Sebastian’s and Roxbury Latin.

Sliding in at sixth is Dexter (13-4-2), which is now healthy and playing its best hockey. They are on a five-game win streak, averaging seven goals per game over that stretch. Their remaining schedule isn’t daunting.

Exeter (17-3-1) fell four spots after dropping contests to Kimball Union and Cushing. Exeter is also 1-2 against teams over .500 in January. While Exeter wins games it should win, it needs better results against high-end opponents.

Gunnery (13-4-2) is 7-1 in its last eight games, with its only loss coming against No. 1 Salisbury in overtime. Gunnery is one of the toughest teams to play against and can make a deep playoff run, but it also has the most challenging schedule amongst the top teams.

In ninth is Cushing (15-6-1). The team has seven losses but has faced a difficult schedule and has played five ranked opponents in the last nine games, recording a 2-3 record. They lost this week against a good Northfield Mount Hermon team and rebounded with a win over Exeter. Cushing is still a talented and dangerous team.

Winchendon (11-3-2) takes the last spot with just three losses this season and seven wins in their last eight. They’ve scored 44 goals over that stretch. Winchendon’s schedule will be more challenged in February, when they will travel to Northfield Mount Hermon, Dexter and Williston, and face Exeter at home.

Westminster, Trinity-Pawling, Lawrence and New Hampton all just narrowly missed the poll. Westminster defeated Deerfield and Kent last week and appear to be finding consistency. Trinity-Pawling has just four losses and recently defeated Choate and Taft. Their schedule will become easier after this week. Lawrence Academy has won four in a row and, while they are young, do have talent. New Hampton is 12-2-2 in its last 14 games. But their schedule will get tougher as they have four ranked teams left.

1. Salisbury (16-0-1)
2. Rivers (18-1-2)
3. Northfield Mount Hermon  (16-2-3)
4. Kimball Union (17-4-1)
5. Milton (11-2-1)
6. Dexter (13-4-2)
7. Exeter (17-3-1)
8. Gunnery (13-4-2
9. Cushing (15-6-1)
10. Winchendon (11-3-2)

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