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Monday, December 17, 2012

Eight Elite Predictions 12/17-12/23

By: Luke Devoe

For those of you new to CTHSHockey Blog, every week I select eight intriguing matchups and predict the winner as well as providing a reasoning.  This week, Freelance Photographer Kevin Pataky will be selecting along side me.  Here are our week two selections for this season.
8 Elite Predictions: Mark these on the calendar
12/19 Darien @ New Canaan 4:00 @ Darien Ice Rink
This year's rivalry game features teams off to total opposite starts.  Darien has already topped two perennial SCC foes in Hamden and West Haven.  Michael Collins looks like a more than competent replacement for the graduated Max Rothston and with offense coming from more than just Brendan Hathaway, the Wave look legit at this point.  The Rams lost a tough opener 2-0 to Notre Dame-West Haven and a third period collapse against Hamden made that one look a lot worse on paper.  The good thing for them is Chris Koenneke in net has posted some solid numbers with a 39 and 36 save effort in the losses.  I think Darien has too much going for them however and will win this one.  LUKE- Darien 3, New Canaan 1, KEVIN- Darien 3, New Canaan 1

12/19 GAME OF THE WEEK Ridgefield @ Hamden 7:00 @ Lou Astorino Rink
Ridgefield desperately needed the win they got Saturday night against a good Glastonbury club after the beating they took at the hands of the Jesuits.  The Vin Rella line looks to be in sync and the Tigers matchup very well with the Dragons.  Hamden gained a ton of confidence after a four goal third period against New Canaan Saturday.  Joe O'Connor is one of the state's best defensemen and Matt Hoff looks excellent in net early for Hamden.  Both teams are (1-1-0)  but I think the home Dragons take down the Tigers, in what looks to be an interesting year for Ridgefield.  LUKE- Hamden 5, Ridgefield 3, KEVIN- Hamden 3, Ridgefield 2

12/19 Simsbury @ Notre Dame-West Haven 7:00 @ Bennett Rink
Simsbury has been a surprise to this point winning their first two and only allowing a combined two goals.  It took NDWH a while to get going against New Canaan on Wednesday but thrashed a confident Greenwich club on Saturday.  I'd love to call for the upset here and I think Simsbury can keep it close, but their two wins haven't exactly been against the state's best.  NDWH has three solid scoring lines going as well as two more than capable goalies.  The scary part of the box score coming out of Greenwich the other night is that Billy Vizzo and Greg Zullo only accounted for a goal and two assists in a game where the Knights scored 8 times.  Loaded is an understatement.   LUKE- NDWH 5, Simsbury 2, KEVIN- NDWH 5, Simsbury 2

12/19 Glastonbury @ St. Joseph 7:30 @ Shelton Rinks
I felt confident in my prediction that the Tomahawks would take down Ridgefield on Saturday and give goalie Chase Gabor his first win over the Tigers in his four years.  It was a heck of a game but my prediction fell short.  In the meantime it took St. Joseph a late Andrew Gore goal to top one of D2's best in Guilford.  This one is a toss up and while I'm still very high on St. Joseph this year and think they can make some sort of run, I think they take this early season tilt in a minor upset.   LUKE- St. Joseph 3, Glastonbury 2KEVIN- Glastonbury 4, St. Joseph 2

12/20 Fairfield Prep @ Notre Dame-Fairfield 6:00 @ Milford Ice Pavilion
A non Wednesday/Saturday game is always fun.  The MILF will be rocking with Prep coming in to face an up and coming young Lancer squad.  Prep is outscoring its first two opponents 14-4 and has looked down right impressive in doing so.  Sather has opted to platoon his junior goalies Matt Beck and Chris Gutierrez early and will ride the hot hand when he needs to.  The Lancers will have to find a way to slow down the continually red hot David White whoT's coming off yet another hat trick in Prep's 8-3 win over South Windsor on Saturday.  The Lancers boast a host of young talent led by junior Christian LaCroix and one of the state's uncovered gems in goaltender Stone Denbok.  I still need to see a little more of ND-Fairfield, Prep wins this battle.  LUKE- Fairfield Prep 4, ND-Fairfield 1, KEVIN- Fairfield Prep 5, ND%Fairfield 1

12/22 Amity @ Brookfield-Bethel-Danbury 2:10 @ Danbury Ice Arena
An interesting matchup features a team that many people question their drop down to D2 and another team who's in their first year as a D2 competitor.  Amity lost a lot last year with the graduation of Joe Bianchi but easily took down D3 foe Sheehan in their opener.  They could be riding high or looking even more for a victory depending on how they do Thursday 12/20 against D1 opponent North Haven.  Many are calling for Amity as a favorite this year but BBD is certainly an under the radar team this season.  The Ice Cats went 14-6-0 last qear on the D3 circuit and were one win away from the state title game.  They've proven D2 ain't no thang with an opening overtime win over Suffield-Granby-Windsor Locks, a team that went 11-9-0 last year at the D2 level.  Hell, why not?  I'm going BBD in a mild upset.  LUKE- BBD 4, Amity 3, KEVIN- BBD 3, Amity 2

12/22 St. John's Prep (MA) @ Hamden 2:30 @ Lou Astorino Rink
Hamden welcomes St. John's Prep to the Lou on Saturday.  St. John's finished as the number two team in Massachusetts last year and should prove tg be quite the challenge for a Green Dragons team that could be riding high after a Wednesday night win over Ridgefield or struggling for identity after a 1-2-0 start.  Either way, this is the type of game Tyler Carangelo has to separate himself from the rest of the group, something he's yet to do this season.  Many have touted Carangelo as a sure fire D1 prospect, something I've yet to see on a consistent basis.  This is the perfect stage to show it off.  St. John's will more likely than not be too much for Hamden.  LUKE- St. John's 5, Hamden 3, KEVIN- St. John's 4, Hamden 1

12/22 Guilford @ North Haven 4:45 @ Northford Ice Pavilion
The Guilford Indians head to the NIP to take on the North Haven Indians in a game that would have Native American rights groups in an uproar.  Guilford will, again, be one of D2's best this year while North Haven is struggling to find out how they will replace a lot of talent lost to graduation.  Guilford played St. Joseph very tough in their opener and beat Stamford in their second game.  North Haven had their game with Hall/Southington postponed, lost a tough 5-1 match to Simsbury and will have played Amity by the time this game is set for puck drop.  I'm tempted to go with Guilford just because North Haven has a long way to go but I'm a big time believer in second year goalie Andrew Graziano.  The Indians win.  Oh wait, the North Haven Indians that is.   LUKE- North Haven 3, Guilford  2, KEVIN- Guilford 4, North Haven 2

2012 West Haven Holiday Tournament
The 2012 West Haven Holiday Tournament is seriously beefed up this year with Cheshire, West Haven, Xavier, St. Joseph, Ridgefield, Notre Dame-West Haven, Glastonbury and South Windsor participating this year.  The tournament also added some days due to the amount of teams.  Games will be played 12/22, 12/27 and 12/29 with four games each day.  The winners bracket will run like a traditional eight team tournament with a quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals.  There will also be a loser's bracket.  As my colleague Kevin Pataky pointed out, one team will finish 3-0, three teams will go 2-1, three teams will go 1-2 and one team will go 0-3.  Below are the initial quarterfinal matchups and times along with our picks.

Saturday 12/22 Bennett Rink, West Haven

 1:00 West Haven vs. Cheshire LUKE- West Haven 3-2 KEVIN- West Haven 3-1
3:00 St. Joseph vs. Xavier LUKE- Xavier 3-1 KEVIN- Xavier 4-2
5:15 NDWH vs. Ridgefield LUKE- NDWH 4-1 KEVIN- NDWH 4-1
7:15 South Windsor vs. Glastonbury LUKE- Glastonbury 5-3 KEVIN- Glastonbury 4-2

- Kevin will be in attendance
- Luke will be in attendance

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