For a completed CTHSHockey bracket click here. In the following we will preview each first round game on Wednesday and give you our winner of each. We will then provide you with ten "under the radar" players to watch and a look at the goalies that will attempt to backstop their teams to a state title. Enjoy.
ALL GAMES 3/7 (Times and Locations included)
#16 North Haven @ #1 Fairfield Prep (6:00 @ The Wonderland of Ice, Bridgeport)
North Haven is fresh off a thrilling overtime victory over the Lancers of Notre Dame Fairfield and they look primed to give the mighty Jesuits all they've got on Wednesday. After all, North Haven nearly upset the prepsters in early January eventually falling 2-1. North Haven plays a mean breed of puck, finishing every hit and not taking any shifts off. That's all well and good, but Fairfield Prep is no joke. They are the best team in the state and have arguably the best goalie and top line to boot. Fairfield Prep 5, North Haven 2
#9 St. Joseph @ #8 Hamden (6:00 @ Lou Astorino Rink, Hamden)
The Green Dragons are a tough team to read this year. They have enough talent on any given night to beat anyone and they are one of the deepest teams in the state cycling three solid scoring lines. However, they finished losing their last five and haven't won a game since February 16th at East Haven. At the end of the day in this great 8/9 matchup Andy Varga could be the difference in goal for Hamden who should win this one closely and move to take on rival Prep. Hamden 3, St. Joseph 1
#13 Simsbury @ #4 Glastonbury (6:00 @ Trinity College Rink, Hartford)
The "Battle of the Burys" sees familiar foes face off in the first round. The Tomahawks have taken all three matchups over Simsbury this season with two coming in routs, including last Saturday's CCC North Championship in which Glastonbury won 6-3. The Tomahawks have electric scoring threats in seniors Ethan Holdaway and Drew Mozzer who've combined for over 50 goals this season. Simsbury found their stride toward the end of the season and rattled off wins over some less than high caliber opponents. The Tomahawks win and could have some staying power depending on how the rest of the bracket shakes out. Glastonbury 5, Simsbury 0
#12 New Canaan @ #5 Darien (6:00 @ Darien Ice Rink, Darien)
Familiarity is running amuck in this part of the bracket. The Rams and the Blue Wave split their regular season meeting whooping each other in each respective meeting (New Canaan beat Darien 4-0 and Darien topped New Canaan 6-1). The Blue Wave finished the regular season going 14-2 and lost a heartbreaker to Ridgefield in the FCIAC final. New Canaan was eliminated by Darien in the FCIAC semi's and is surely out for redemption. Call it a hunch, but I think they get it. The teams have seen plenty of each other and I hate brackets without a big upset, so here mine is. New Canaan 3, Darien 2
#15 Cheshire @ #2 Notre Dame West Haven (4:00 @ Bennett Rink, West Haven)
Let me just start by saying this game will be closer than many would think. The Cheshire Rams are a well coached group or responsible, fundamentally sound individuals. They are coming off a huge overtime win to bump Fermi/Enfield out of the Qualifying Round and have a lot of momentum on their side. Notre Dame finished up winning their last five including a dramatic come from behind 4-3 win over Hamden in their final tilt. The line of Colby Cretella, Bill Vizzo and Greg Zullo are out to prove they are the best in the state and they very well may be. If a defensive team, cough, like Cheshire is able to shut down that line, anything can happen. I just think it's going to have to be another defensive team, NDWH takes this one. ND West Haven 4, Cheshire 1
#10 South Windsor @ #7 Xavier (6:00 @ Wesleyan Ice Arena, Middletown)
This is probably the most entertaining match up of the first round, and we just saw it last year. The teams did not meet in this year's regular season but they are familiar foes as South Windsor topped the Falcons 1-0 in last year's quarters. South Windsor lost some key players earlier in the year to some off ice antics and Xavier hasn't really impressed failing to notch a top ten victory all year. So who to pick? South Windsor, even in losses has shown the ability to buckle down and win or come close to winning some big games. I'll go with the Bobcats in a mini upset. South Windsor 4, Xavier 2
#19 Trinity Catholic @ #3 Ridgefield (7:20 @ Winter Garden Arena, Ridgefield)
This could end of being the most lopsided first round matchup. The Ridgefield Tigers were the team to beat in the FCIAC this year and a stalwart presence at the top of the state polls. They have the state's best player in Sean Wilkinson and sturdy net presence in senior goalie Nate Gliedman. Trinity Catholic eeked out a last second win over "Division 1" opponent Windsor/Farmington/Avon in the Qualifying Round and will need to play a defensive game to keep this one close. Ridgefield 7, Trinity Catholic 1
#11 East Haven @ #6 West Haven (6:30 @ Bennett Rink, West Haven)
This battle pits age old rivals against each other in a monster SCC first round tilt. East Haven is the public school version of Xavier, failing to top a big time team all year. The Westies boast wins over Notre Dame West Haven, Hamden and this East Haven club earlier in the year 4-3 at Bennett. West Haven is an interesting team who's gotten creamed by the states best (8-1 loss to Fairfield Prep) all while beating the aforementioned teams. They have studs in Mike Troiano and Austin Hansen and should be able to fend off the pesky Yellow Jackets. West Haven 5, East Haven 2
TEN "UNDER THE RADAR" PLAYERS TO WATCH (in no particular order)
Connor Henry, F, Fairfield Prep Henry sometimes gets forgotten on the dynamo line of himself, David White and AJ Unker but don't let that make you think any less of Henry's ability. The junior is a stud and would be featured on any other team in the state. He's tallied 7 goals and 9 assists on the year which included a two goal game in a big 4-3 win over ND West Haven earlier this year. Also look for Connor's twin brother this tourney season, Sean is a junior defensemen for the Jesuits.
|Prep's Connor Henry|
Jeremy Germain, F, Hamden Germain started off a little slow this year. Attribute it to sophomore trying to find his way. But he's quickly turned into a star. He's tallied 30 points this year (14 goals, 16 assists) including five goals (hat trick against Needham (MA) over the last five games, all Hamden losses. He's doing his part. Germain plays with a confidence and dependability not matched by many his age.
Drew Mozzer, F, Glastonbury I've been quite vocal in singing Glastonbury's Ethan Holdaway's praises but another Tomahawk is getting the love here. 40 point scorer Drew Mozzer has certainly done his part this season and while the hat tricks and multi goal games have died down, his presence hasn't. He's notched 22 goals and 18 points this year and will be vital for the Tomahawks to make a run at the states this year.
Anthony Astorino, D, ND West Haven I've had the privilege of watching the Green Knights play numerous times this year and I thought it was time to give the defensemen some love. Anthony Astorino is as dependable as they come. He won't soak the score sheet with points but if the Green Knights are able to compete for a state title this year, this senior's leadership on the blue line will be a huge reason why.
Dave Ouellette, F, South Windsor The Bobcats leading scorer has helped lead a resurgence of sorts for South Windsor late this season. The senior has tallied 14 goals and 13 assists this season. He notched a hat trick in a season turning win over a ranked West Haven team.
Nate Gliedman, G, Ridgefield A goalie makes the list who might not be that familiar to many of our local/SCC readers. Gliedman, like Prep's Riley Wikman sometimes gets forgotten in the shuffle because of his team's offensive success, but Gliedman is as solid as they come between the pipes and will need to be during the tourney. He was integral down the stretch run and took the starting job as his own all while winning the FCIAC crown.
|St. Joseph's Keator|
CK Keator, F, St. Joseph Keator may very well be the Rick Nash of the CIAC. The junior's tallied 25 goals, notched 18 assists and recorded an eye popping three game hat trick streak toward the middle of February, yet not many people bring up his name in talks of the better state players. Hamden better be ready for him and a cast of other characters on Wednesday at the Lou.