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Monday, February 27, 2012

CTHS Hockey's Top 10 2/27

February 27, 2012 
By: Luke Devoe

This past week saw Notre Dame-West Haven assert its dominance, some mid level teams beat up on each other and the Division 1 playoff picture cleared up a bit with 19 definite teams claiming bids to the D1 tourney.  Hamden had a rocky week record-wise but gained a ton of experience for the tournament playing three of New England's best teams.  What we've learned is that with the exception of a few teams anyone can beat anyone on any given night in CIAC Division 1 hockey.

1. Notre Dame-West Haven (15-3-1)- NDWH didn't give me any reason to drop them from number one this week.  They won an ejection filled brawl against North Haven and took care of a pesky ND Fairfield Lancer club as well.  The line of Cretella/Vizzo/Zullo is one of the top lines in the state and the only fear Green Knight fans should have is what happens when a team can key them and shut them down similarly to how West Haven did earlier in the year.  Season finale at home against Hamden should be an all out war on Wednesday.
LW: 1 PAST WEEK: North Haven W 5-2, Notre Dame-Fairfield W 4-0   THIS WEEK: Hamden 2/29
2. Fairfield Prep (16-3-0)- Prep had a monster week and if it wasn't for Notre Dame countering that with a fine week of their own they would've leapt them.  Prep took until the final minute to top Catholic Memorial (MA) last week and looked to be on the brink of another in state victory on Saturday against Hamden until David White took over and scored the game tying and winning goal in overtime, his third and fourth goals of the game.  A four goal game and single handedly keeping your team afloat is what White provided the Jesuits Saturday all while stunning the Green Dragon faithful.  Prep finishes up with a should win against a record-inflated East Haven club Tuesday.
LW: 2 PAST WEEK: Catholic Memorial (MA) W 1-0, Hamden W 4-3 OT   THIS WEEK: East Haven 2/28
3. Ridgefield (18-2-0)- The Tigers finish with an impressive 18-2 mark and head into the FCIAC conference tourney as the #2 seed behind Darien.  They will certainly give the SCC's best all they have come tourney time behind stud forward Sean Wilkinson and a cast of other talented scorers.  The showed their power this week with a 6-1 demolition of fellow top fiver Glastonbury in a game that was supposed to be much closer than a 6-1 final.    
LW: 3 PAST WEEK: Norwalk/McMahon W 9-1, Glastonbury W 6-1   THIS WEEK: St. Joseph (FCIAC Semis) 2/29, FCIAC Finals 3/3
4. Glastonbury (16-4-0)- The Tomahawks started the week on a down note getting ambushed in a much anticipated matchup with Ridgefield.  The reason they're moving up here is how they responded.  They took on a quality Simsbury club and disposed of them with ease and then went on to knock off an equally as dangerous South Windsor Bobcat group 3-2.  They will meet up with Simsbury for a third time this year on Saturday for the CCC North conference championship.  They've been successful in the first two affairs and there's no reason to think any different this time around.
LW: 5   PAST WEEK: Ridgefield L 6-1, Simsbury W 6-0, South Windsor W 3-2   THIS WEEK: Simsbury (CCC North Championship) 3/3

5. Hamden (10-7-2)- I was under the impression that a shootout loss out of state went down as a tie but according to the CIAC site as well as other publications, Hamden's two losses in Massachusetts both went down as losses.  That means the Green Dragons have dropped four straight all by one goal.  In fact, they lost all three this past week by identical 4-3 overtime finals.  None hurt more than Saturday, on senior day, at home, against Prep in a game that Hamden led 3-1 with about seven minutes to play.  Hamden has been given plenty of exposure against some of New England's best teams and should be in good shape come tournament time, if they make it that far.  Wednesday against ND-West Haven will go a long way in terms of confidence for this Green Dragon squad.
LW: 4   PAST WEEK: Malden Catholic (MA) L 4-3 OT, Needham (MA) L 4-3 OT/SO, Fairfield Prep L 4-3 OT   THIS WEEK: ND-West Haven 2/29

6. West Haven (12-6-0)- The Westies are starting to find some consistency winning three in a row heading into their Veteran's Game against Fermi today.  They put a convincing whooping on Xavier last Saturday and have two very winnable games to finish the year which will put them in prime position for the tourney.  The problem with the Blue Devils is not knowing which Blue Devil team will show up on any given night.  Head over to Bennett tonight and help out a great cause with proceeds going to a local veteran's charity.
LW: 7   PAST WEEK: Tri-Town W 4-0, Xavier W 6-3   THIS WEEK: Fermi/Enfield 2/27, Cheshire 2/29

7. Darien (15-5-0)- The Blue Wave lost a tough one to the South Windsor Bobcats in overtime and responded by winning their last two games against an upset minded Fairfield Co-op team and a suspension-riddled North Haven squad (played without 7 players due to CIAC and school imposed suspensions).  Darien earned the #1 seed in the FCIAC tournament and will take on play down winner New Canaan Wednesday in what should be an excellent semi final.  Darien has split with the Rams this year in two lopsided games.
LW: 6   PAST WEEK: South Windsor L 4-3 OT, Fairfield Warde/Ludlowe W 5-2, North Haven W 4-1   THIS WEEK: New Canaan (FCIAC Semis) 2/29, FCIAC Finals 3/3

8. St. Joseph (14-6-0)- The Cadets are peaking at the right time finishing off the regular season winning five in a row and disposing of Trinity Catholic in the play down round of the FCIAC conference tournament.  They have a tall task ahead of them Wednesday against Ridgefield but this team is tourney tested and will give the Tigers quite a fight in that semi.  Junior CK Keator is pacing the Cadets with an impressive 25 goals at this point in the season.
LW: 9   PAST WEEK: Amity W 5-0, Trinity Catholic W 2-1 (FCIAC Play Down)   THIS WEEK: Ridgefield (FCIAC Semis) 2/29, FCIAC Finals 3/3
9. South Windsor (11-9-0)- The Bobcats, even in some losses, have played some quality hockey of late and that's after the suspension of several key players who violated team rules.  They've gone 3-3 over the last six but all three losses have come in one goal games to the likes of Hamden, ND Fairfield (OT) and Glastonbury.  Over that time, their wins have come against powers like West Haven and Darien.  This team will not be an easy out in the tournament and with a semi final appearance last year, they've been there before.
LW: NR   PAST WEEK: Darien W 4-3 OT, Glastonbury L 3-2   THIS WEEK: Off
10. Xavier (10-8-1)- Xavier has enough talent to compete come tourney time but it isn't translating into wins.  They've lost four of seven and don't have one top ten victory all season.  Xavier has fallen victim of allowing a lot of goals to potent offenses and only winning the games they are supposed to win.  They'll need a good effort Wednesday in their finale against the Lancers.
LW: 8   PAST WEEK: Conard W 5-2, West Haven L 6-3   THIS WEEK: Notre Dame-Fairfield 2/29

Dropped Out: Simsbury (10)
On the Bubble: New Canaan (12-7-1), East Haven (11-5-2), Simsbury (9-8-1)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Eight Elite Predictions Week of 2/25

By: Luke Devoe

8 Elite Predictions.  No time for blurbs.  Busy day at the high school and collegiate ranks for this blogger.  See you all at the Lou for Hamden/Prep and at the Bank for QU/Yale.  Mark these on the calendar: (Season 26-18-2, Last Week: 7-5-0)

2/25 #7 West Haven @ #8 Xavier 2:00 @ Wesleyan Ice Rink
West Haven 3, Xavier 2

2/25 #2 Fairfield Prep @ #4 Hamden 2:30 @ Lou Astorino Rink
Fairfield Prep 3, Hamden 1

2/25 Fermi/Enfield @ Tri-Town 2:40 @ Enfield Twin Rinks
Tri-Town 4, Fermi/Enfield 2

2/25 #5 Glastonbury @ South Windsor 7:20 @ South Windsor Arena
South Windsor 5, Glastonbury 3

2/27 Fermi/Enfield @ #7 West Haven 6:00 @ Bennett Rink (Veteran's Game makeup)
West Haven 5, Fermi/Enfield 2

2/28 #2 Fairfield Prep @ East Haven 7:30 @ DiLungo Rink
Fairfield Prep 6, East Haven 2

2/29 #4 Hamden @ #1 Notre Dame-West Haven 6:00 @ Bennett Rink
Hamden 4, NDWH 3

2/29 #8 Xavier @ Notre Dame-Fairfield 6:00 @ Milford Ice Pavilion
Xavier 3, ND-Fairfield 0

Monday, February 20, 2012

CTHS Hockey Top 10 (2/20)

February 20, 2012 By: Luke Devoe

On the road in Chicago, so forgive me if the blurbs are a bit short, getting the evil eye from some dude who wants this computer in the hotel for far more important reasons.  Before you read the rankings remember the following:  This is a Power Ranking not a poll.  Therefore, it takes into account the immediacy not the the past.  So for everyone crying foul about Darien being ranked ahead of Hamden and West Haven even though they beat them.  Shut it.  They took down a top team in Ridgefield and Hamden and West Haven have struggled with inconsistency all year.  So, don't be alarmed if my number one differs from the number one in the other polls this week.

1. Notre Dame-West Haven (13-3-1)- They Green Knights were the first in state team to prove the Jesuits were mortal.  They came close earlier in the year but finally climbed that mountain on Saturday thanks in large part to the stalwart play of goaltender Luc Amatruda who's emerging as a viable goaltending option.  I believe Prep in the long run is the better team but for right now, no one is hotter than NDWH. 
LW: 3 PAST WEEK: Fairfield Prep W 2-0  
2. Fairfield Prep (14-3-0)- Prep loses its first in state game of the year but it wasn't for a lack of effort.  They are still the favorite to win the state title and I believe more than a few teams would rather face NDWH than them.  But they do have a tough road in.  They host a struggling, but dangerous Catholic Memorial (MA) team on Wednesday and then take on an unpredictable Hamden squad.  Should be an interesting end of the season for the Jesuits.
LW: 1 PAST WEEK: Notre Dame-West Haven L 2-0
3. Ridgefield (16-2-0)- Only dropping to third because right now it's pretty clear to see who the top two teams are.  Ridgefield keeps piling up wins against D2 opponents but have proven enough this season to be ranked this high.  They will get a test on Tuesday however when they take on a steaming hot Glastonbury club.
LW: 2 PAST WEEK: Trumbull W 6-1, Staples/Weston/Shelton W 6-3
4. Hamden (10-4-2)- If Hamden would've been able to sweep their Westie rivals on Saturday it would've been hard for me to not skyrocket them up past the Tigers.  But Hamden lost the hard fought affair.  This week did give them a little more clout in terms of beating ranked, quality teams and scoring in the process, something they struggled with recently.  In the romp of East Haven, Hamden received a hat trick from defenseman Mike Lee, as well as a five point night from sophomore forward Jeremy Germain.
LW: 5   PAST WEEK: West Haven W 4-3 OT, East Haven W 7-4, West Haven L 2-1

5. Glastonbury (14-3-0)- The Tomahawks are beating the teams they are supposed to and haven't slipped up since losing to North Haven in overtime back on February 1st.  Over that period of time they've run off 6 straight.  They have a very tough three game week this week, however, to finish up their schedule.
LW: 6   PAST WEEK: Fermi/Enfield W 5-2, Notre Dame-Fairfield W 6-5
6. Darien (13-4-0)- Parity is taking over the CT High School Hockey scene and that was no more evident than last week when, fresh off a huge win over #2 Ridgefield, Darien got shellacked by a good but not great New Canaan Ram squad.  The Blue Wave finish up with three games in four days, none of which will be walks in the park.
LW: 4   PAST WEEK: New Canaan L 4-0, Westhill W 8-0
7. West Haven (10-6-0)- The Westies could've swept their bitter rivals from Hamden this pas week leading 3-2 late at home in the first of the two games, but Jeremy Germain will now be public enemy number one in West Haven after causing that not to happen.  The one thing the Blue Devils can hang their hat on is the fact that they are getting excellent goaltending.  Forrest Schell turned aside 30+ in the loss to Hamden and Justin Shepard was excellent at the Lou on Saturday in victory.
LW: 7   PAST WEEK: Hamden L 4-3 OT, Hamden W 2-1
8. Xavier (9-7-1)- Xavier is a very good 9-7-1 team.  They didn't prove that playing out of state power St. John's Shrewbury and losing twice but they can still compete with any team on any given night.  They also put a big wrinkle in the plans Amity had of making it to the state tournament by topping them 5-0 on Saturday.  They finish up with three winnable games which they'll need to boost that record up come tourney time.
LW: 8   PAST WEEK: St. John's Shrewsbury L 6-2, Amity W 5-0 

9. St. Joseph (13-6-0)- The tourney tested Cadets crack the rankings after running off four in a row and beating a good New Canaan team last week.  This team has been in the state championship game, granted in different divisions each of the last three years so they know how to turn it on at tourney time.  Be weary of them.
LW: NR   PAST WEEK: Westhill W 5-2, New Canaan W 4-2
10. Simsbury (8-7-1)- Simsbury disposed of a desperate Conard team last week showing their staying power.  Their final tough tilt of the year comes on Wednesday against Glastonbury.  After that, it looks to be cakewalks for Simsbury if they don't overlook those teams.
LW: 9 PAST WEEK: Conard W 7-2
Dropped Out: East Haven (10)
On the Bubble: New Canaan (11-7-1), North Haven (8-9-0), East Haven (11-5-2), South Windsor (10-8-0)