Before attempting the impossible task of predicting a favorite in the Class A South boys’ hockey playoffs, some due must be given to the best team in these parts.

Class B Greely has been a powerhouse. The Rangers (16-2) have defeated all of their Class B opponents, as well as Thornton Academy and Biddeford – the top two seeds in the A South playoffs – and Falmouth. Greely’s only losses have come to Class A North powers Lewiston and St. Dominic.

“They are excellent, probably the best team we’ve played all year,” said Biddeford Coach Jason Tremblay, whose Tigers lost 8-3 to Greely.

“They have depth, high-end guys and play very hard all game long.”

Greely, the Class B state runner-up last year, enters as the top seed in the South and received a bye into the semifinals Friday.

The Rangers figure to get scoring from junior Jake MacDonald (27 goals, 28 assists) and Andy Moore (14 goals, 31 assists), but Coach Barry Mothes said senior forwards Jackson Williams (18 goals, 18 assists) and Peter Lattanzi (12 goals, 8 assists) “have had very strong seasons so far with big career jumps in scoring.”

Caleb Duff of Greely, left, ties up Tyler Laflamme of Biddeford last month. Greely of Class B has beaten Thornton and Biddeford – the top Class A seeds. Staff photo by Derek Davis

Defensively, junior Caleb Duff (1 goal, 16 assists) is helping with the scoring while stabilizing the back line.

Greely has used two sophomore goalies – Jared Swisher (9-2, .883 save percentage) and Ben Singer (7-0, .896).

Mothes has plenty of players to use.

“We’ve played at least three forward lines and six defensemen all season,” he said, “and that depth has kept us strong.”

So Greely is an obvious favorite in Class B South.

In Class A South? Go figure.

Thornton Academy (11-7), the top seed, is only 4-4 against the other South playoff teams.

The Trojans began the year 1-4, then enjoyed an eight-game winning streak, including a sweep of Scarborough, and handing Lewiston its first loss. Then Thornton lost three straight, to South Portland/Waynflete/Freeport, Greely and Cheverus.

“I believe it’s all about matchups,” Thornton Coach Michael Roux said. “We ended up the No. 1 seed with an 11-7 record. I can’t remember that happening. … We all played each other tough and any one of the seven could move on.”

Biddeford was 6-0 against the other South playoff teams but 6-6 otherwise.

Third-seeded South Portland has two wins over Thornton – and a win over Lewiston – but went 2-6 against the other South playoff teams.

No. 4 Scarborough was 4-5 against the other South playoff teams: No. 5 Portland/Deering (3-5), No. 6 Cheverus (4-3) and No. 7 Massabesic/Bonny Eagle/Old Orchard Beach (1-4).

Biddeford might be considered a big favorite over Massabesic (11-7) on Tuesday, but the Tigers faced Massabesic earlier this season and escaped with a 1-0 victory.

“There were eight teams in Class A South – including Falmouth – that could win on any given night,” Tremblay said. “You have to come to play every game or else you will get beat. It should make for a very interesting playoff.”

Falmouth, a perennial contender, didn’t make the playoffs after finishing 4-14. Although the Yachtsmen went 4-5 against the other South contenders (four of the losses by one goal), they played a brutal schedule and lost all their other games – to Class A North teams, as well as Greely and Yarmouth.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

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Twitter: @KevinThomasPPH


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