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: Off10. 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)