This week’s rankings:
1. Champlain Valley (4-0): Last year’s D-I runners-up are already the only team left in the league with a perfect record — a pair of wins against Quebec competition followed by W’s over Colchester and reigning-champion South Burlington.
2. Colchester (3-1): The Lakers’ start includes a one-goal win over BFA-St. Albans at Collins Perley — no small task — and a one-goal loss to CVU, which is as close as anyone has gotten yet this year against the Redhawks. A victory Wednesday against South Burlington would go a long way to cementing Colchester’s early ranking.
3. South Burlington (3-1): The defending champions opened with three straight triumphs, the first two against Maine schools, but suffered a 4-2 defeat at the hands of CVU in the Beech Tournament final.
4. Essex (2-1): Another of the one-loss clubs in Division I, Essex’s only loss was on the road against Beverly (Mass.). Their road win at North Country keeps the Hornets above the Falcons for now.
5. North Country (3-1): Ryan Paul’s hat trick included an overtime winner last Saturday in St. Albans to give North Country its first win against a Vermont team.
6. BFA-St. Albans (1-2): Both of the Bobwhites’ losses came at home via a 4-3 scoreline. The bright spot between the two? A 6-2 victory against Rutland on the road. I’d call this spot a starting point — I’m expecting BFA to make a push up the rankings.
7. Mount Mansfield (3-1): The Cougars rebounded from a one-goal loss to Middlebury in the opener with three straight victories. They stay a peg above the Tigers for now with the extra win in hand, including a 4-1 result against Stowe, the only team to beat Northfield thus far.
8. Middlebury (2-1): It sounds like the Tigers are going to be in the discussion of Division II contenders this year. Expect how they fare against Northfield and prolific scorer Jackson Tucker on Dec. 27 to impact the next batch of rankings.
9. Spaulding (2-0-1): The only other unbeaten team left in the state after CVU, the Crimson Tide have a pair of wins against D-II foes and last Saturday’s wild, 5-5 draw with Rutland on the books.
10. Northfield (2-1): Tucker has nine of the Marauders’ 14 goal so far this year to fuel their start to the campaign.
On the bubble: Milton (3-2), Rutland (2-1-1).
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