1. Falmouth: The Yachtsmen won Class B last year and return their top players. They play fast and have skilled performers all over the field, particularly up the middle. First-year coach David Barton believes senior Liam Tucker is the state’s best goalie, and close defender Brendan Hickey also is one of the best in Maine. The midfield is deep and versatile with tenacious sophomore LSM Riley Reed creating turnovers, scoring threats in 6-foot-5 Nick Farnham and Nate Arrants, and one of the top faceoff men in Spencer Pierce. Then comes one of the most dangerous attackmen in Bates-bound senior Jack Scribner (42 goals, 38 assists).
2. Scarborough: The 2016 Class A champs might be even stronger this year considering they return 9 of 10 starters, including Maine Sunday Telegram All-State picks senior attack Sam Neugebauer and junior LSM/D Reece Lagerquist. Neugebauer scored 63 goals and Lagerquist will play at Dartmouth. Dynamic three-year starter Cam Thibault is back to head the midfield and three-year starter Dominic Joy is a poised presence in goal. The experience continues with junior Marco Manfra helping to run the offense at attack, senior Eric Murray as a tough close defender and two-way sophomore midfielder/faceoff man Andrew Granzier.
3. Cape Elizabeth: The Capers have three of the top players in the state in senior twins Connor and Owen Thoreck and senior defender Ben Ekedahl and a slick sniper around the net in Tate Perkins. Cape, which was 13-1 last year, will have to replace three-year starting goalie Alex Narvaez (41-3 record) and will miss graduated R.J. Sarka in the midfield. Senior Sam Price will take over in the net after seeing some time as the backup the past three seasons. Junior Finn Raymond, who led the team in ground balls, and senior Jeb Boeschenstein are top returning midfielders who expect to become more involved offensively.
4. Gorham: The Rams advanced to the Class A South regional final and return their goalie, top defender and two top scorers from a 12-3 team. Carter Landry was the Telegram’s All-State choice at goalie last season and Mat Anderson has developed into a tough, competitive presence. Alex York and Cam Wright are both top-end scoring threats. York had 62 goals and 42 assists. Wright scored 36 goals and had nearly 100 points as well. Wright will move to the midfield, opening more scoring opportunities for junior catch-and-shoot attack Chris Tucker. Ryan Hamblen and LSM Sam Burghardt solidify the defense.
5. Brunswick: The Dragons have won three straight Class A regional titles and will once again be a slight favorite over the likes of a solid Cheverus team and improved Lewiston. In senior LSM Christian Glover the team has one of the most exciting, versatile players in the state. Younger brother Aiden Glover, a sophomore, was the team’s leading scorer last season. He and seniors Josh Dorr and Max Gramins lead a group of versatile short sticks who rotate between attack and midfield. Speedy Ben Palizay is a key contributor in the midfield and a defense led by Alek Grimes and Sullivan Boyd is developing.
– Steve Craig