Should an unbeaten regular season be enough to have Beverly, an excellent Division 2 club, playing with the state’s elite Division 1 clubs?
From this corner of the rink, no.
This is absolutely no knock on what the Panthers done so far this season. It’s more about what they could do in the state playoffs as a Division 2 entry.
Could the Orange-and-Black win the Division 2 state championship, which would be a first in program history? Without question, yes.
Could they win the Super 8 championship? Barring a series of events that would rival the Miracle On Ice 34 years ago, no.
Beverly can certainly hold its own against Division 1 teams in the Commonwealth; it has beaten five already this winter and will make it six if they can knock off Weymouth tonight. But there’s an enormous difference between playing teams like Wakefield, Westford Academy and Weymouth and the true elites of Malden Catholic, B.C. High and Springfield Cathedral.
For argument’s sake, let’s say Beverly does earn a Super 8 invite as a play-in team. With their record, they’d be the No. 7 seed and have to face the No. 10 seed in a one-game playoff next Monday. That opponent could be anyone from Arlington Catholic to Winchester to St. John’s Prep — no easy task.
If the Panthers won that play-in game, they’d advance to the Super 8 — and be matched up in a best 2-of-3 quarterfinal series against the No. 2 seed (again, likely MC, BC High or Springfield Cathedral). Who’d want that after the wonderful regular season they’ve had? And if they were to fall in the play-in game, thus dropping back into the Division 2 North bracket, what would their first loss of the season do to the team’s psyche?