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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Eight Elite Predictions Week of 2/11-17 & Veteran's Game @ WH

By: Luke Devoe

8 Elite Predictions: Mark these on the calendar: (Season 16-9-2, Last Week: 5-3-0)

2/11 Fermi/Enfield @ #6 West Haven 1:00 @ Bennett Rink (Veteran's Game)
Saturday, the West Haven Blue Devils honor the brave veterans who've served our country (see article below) when they take on Fermi/Enfield at Bennett.  West Haven has been on a roller coaster ride of late going 3-4 in their last seven.  They beat a top squad in Notre Dame-West Haven but lost to a then unranked Simsbury team and unranked Notre Dame-Fairfield and South Windsor squads.  Who are the Westies at this point in the year?  As you'll see later these predictions, I don't believe they're pretenders they just need to find a way to find some consistency.  The Falcons on the other hand have yet to clinch a tourney spot and every game will be dire for them.  Look to see their best effort in an upset bid.  West Haven 4, Fermi/Enfield 2

2/11 Notre Dame-Fairfield @ #1 Fairfield Prep 1:00 @ Wonderland of Ice Arena
Prep sure did get a scare from the North Haven Indians Wednesday night and if it wasn't for a late David White goal, his 20th of the season, who knows what the upset minded Indians could've pulled off?  Prep has only allowed more than one goal once in their last seven, a 3-2 win over St. Peter's (NJ) in the Jesuit Shootout final and I don't see the Lancers, as good as they've been lately, peppering Wikman or Beck and denting the Jesuits' proud defensive resume.  Prep wins and causes the Lancers to wait at least one more game to clinch their tourney spot.  Prep 3, ND-Fairfield 1

2/11 South Windsor @ #4 Hamden 2:30 @ Lou Astorino Rink
Hamden could very well be one of the more overrated teams in the state and lately have struggled to score goals.  For as good as they looked against the Green Knights in the 3-3 tie, that's how mediocre they were against Cheshire, Simsbury and yesterday in their exhibition tilt against Mt. St. Charles.  They have a frighteningly difficult road to the end starting with the Bobcats Saturday.  They need this win or their seeding could come into question in the tourney.  South Windsor has proven to be a much better home team than road team going 6-1 at home (only loss was to #2 Ridgefield) while they've only gone 3-5 on the road.  Hamden in a much needed win takes this one. Hamden 2, South Windsor 1

2/11 #2 Ridgefield @ #5 Darien 8:30 @ Darien Ice Rink
In the state's Game of the Week, the Tigers take a surf on the Blue Wave Saturday night at the DIR.  This could be the last time Ridgefield is truly tested before tournament time.  You can argue the season finale with Glastonbury will also carry some clout but Darien's been riding much higher than the Tomahawks.  This is a matchup of a 14 game winning streak and a 10 game winning streak.  Something's got to give.  Tiger forward Sean Wilkinson has arose as a top flight player in state and an emerging MVP candidate.  They'll need another solid effort out of him and the rest of the Tigers' deep scoring core if they want to continue coasting.  Darien is good and will be around for some time, but the Tigers will continue their streak and end the Blue Wave's.    Ridgefield 5, Darien 3

2/14 #5 Darien @ New Canaan 4:00 @ Darien Ice Rink

Three days later Darien will either have a chance to bounce back or continue to ride high.  Either way, the New Canaan Rams losers of 3 of their last 4 will prove to be a desperate and difficult foe.  Darien dismantled New Canaan 6-1 back in December but both teams were nothing like they are now.  A week ago, I may have called for a tie but Darien has elevated their game while the Rams have fallen off of late and are a far cry from the squad we  saw last season.  Darien 3, New Canaan 0

2/14 #4 Hamden @ #6 West Haven 6:45 @ Bennett Rink
Hamden will probably be featured here for every game for the rest of the season as their schedule is an absolute beast.  They head to Bennett Tuesday night for the makeup of the snowy Saturday afternoon cancellation.  West Haven is coming off a tough loss at South Windsor and their celebrated Veteran's Game at home Saturday.  This just seems like one where the better offense will pull out the victory.  It also could be a game where a goalie could steal the win.  Andy Varga has been excellent in net for Hamden all year and West Haven's Justin Shepard single handedly won the game against NDWH last weekend.  However, Shepard was less than stellar in their most recent loss to South Windsor allowing 5 goals on 31 shots.  Call this one a hunch, because I really have no idea.  Westies take the rivalry game.     West Haven 4, Hamden 2

2/16 South Windsor @ Notre Dame-Fairfield 6:00 @ Milford Ice Pavilion

South Windsor breathed a great sigh of relief after topping West Haven, kind of proving to themselves that they still had it in them to beat a top team.  ND Fairfield, depending on how they do against Prep on Saturday may still be looking for their tournament clinching victory.  The scary part for the Lancers is that, with the exception of Hamden, they have the hardest road in to the tournament.  Five games to go for them, they need one win and they will face (in order) Fairfield Prep, South Windsor, Glastonbury, Notre Dame-West Haven and Xavier.  Yikes.  Bobcats have clinched and can play a little looser.  They take this one.  South Windsor 3, ND-Fairfield 2

2/16 #4 Hamden @ #7 East Haven 7:30 @ DiLungo Ice Rink
Hamden continues their difficult run at DiLungo next Thursday.  The take on an East Haven squad whose record is quite deceptive.  Depending on what they do today against Xavier, they could enter this game with zero quality wins.  Hamden is a little more experienced this year, taking on some top out of state teams and already beating the likes of Darien, New Canaan and Xavier.  I like the Dragons to roll in Eastie land.  Hamden 3, East Haven 1

West Haven Hosts Fermi/Enfield on Veteran's Day
On Saturday the West Haven Blue Devils welcome the Fermi/Enfield Falcons for a CIAC interscholastic non-conference game with playoff implications but a higher purpose as well.  The two teams will honor local veterans with all proceeds from the game going to V.A. Charters, a West Haven based charitable organization that takes disabled war veterans on fishing trips out on Long Island Sound.  This past Monday, the West Haven boys ice hockey team went and spoke with some veterans who shared some war stories with them.  The Blue Devils returned the favor discussing with the veterans what being a high school hockey player was like.  Before the game there will be ceremony honoring those who've lost their lives as well as a color guard and a live playing of Taps as well as the National Anthem by the 102nd Army National Guard Band.  Any military in attendance will receive a complimentary "dog and a drink" from the concessions stand with military ID.  The event is being hosted by the West Haven Penalty Box Club.  Below check out West Haven goalie Forrest Schell's camo pads and mask in honor of the event.

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