Prediction — Braintree might not have gotten enough notice from the Super 8 decision-makers, but the Wamps have a strong chance of coming out as state champions. They’ve played Catholic Memorial, Barnstable, and Newburyport, and held each of the three to tight contests. Winning the Bay State Carey division was not a cakewalk either, having to best Framingham to do so.
The Beverly Panthers took the No. 1 seed in the North with an 18-1-1 regular-season record that included giving up just 20 goals all winter. But the Panthers stumbled against a weak Peabody team last week and that kind of effort in the tournament means a quick end. No. 3 seed Wilmington spent much of its season in the Globe Top 20 and had heavy Super 8 considerations earlier in the season, being named to the committee watch list. Then there is 2011 state champion Tewksbury, which defeated Franklin in the final. Franklin has been in the Division 2 state final each of the past two seasons and a Hockomock team has been in the state final each of the past four years.
Prediction — A Middlesex League-tested Wilmington lineup is the most complete team in the field with Tewksbury and Beverly coming in just behind the Wildcats. This is their tournament to lose.
Marblehead is seeded No. 2 in the North, after winning the state title as recently as 2011. If the Magicians can get past a strong Lowell team, they should win the North and face some tough competition in the South. Medfield edged rival Medway for the Tri-Valley League title and put together an 18-1-1 record, good enough to earn the No. 1 seed. Medway (15-2-3), led by senior forward Jack Kilty, will also make noise in the tournament and a rematch with Medfield in the final wouldn’t be a surprise.
Prediction — Medfield has arguably the best chance to capture the Division 3 title, with top-seeded Groton Dunstable of Central Mass. another name to keep in mind. Medfield will have a tough road if recent history holds true. Four of the past five seasons, a team outside Eastern Mass. has won the title, and the last time a Tri-Valley team won the tournament was in 2002, when Westwood took home the crown. But Medway and Medfield will be there at the end . Medfield is the pick in part due to a 12-game unbeaten streak.
Final regular-season boys’ and girls’ hockey Top 20 on Boston.com/schools