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Monday, December 24, 2012

Eight Elite Predictions 12/26-1/1

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.  Because of the West Haven Christmas Tournament being a separate entity, some teams who don't normally get highlighted on here are picked this week.  WH Tourney predictions are at the end.  Here are my week three selections.
Season: 10-5-1, Last Week: 4-3-1

8 Elite Predictions: Mark these on the calendar
12/27 East Catholic @ Fermi-Enfield 1:30 @ Enfield Twin Rinks
In my first matchup of the week two D2 powers have at it.  Fermi-Enfield in their first year dropping down to D2 comes in at (2-1-1) and East Catholic comes in at (3-0-0) after an impressing road drubbing of North Branford 7-1 last week.  Senior Vin Genovesi broke out in that game with his first hat trick of the season.  Where East Catholic thrives offensively, Fermi-Enfield boasts an excellent defensive unit lead by senior goalie Aaron Lickwar, one of the only holdover pieces that could probably still compete at a D1 level.  Remember, Fermi-Enfield is just four years removed from a 14-5-1 Division 1 record but obviously the hockey culture has changed there.  I think East Catholic's offense keeps the unbeaten streak going and wins this one.  East Catholic 5, Fermi-Enfield 4

12/27 Fairfield Prep vs. St. Joseph Institute (NY) 4:00 @ Mt. St. Charles Holiday Tourney
Prep heads to arguably the one of the best holiday tournaments in New England with the potential to take on such teams as LaSalle Academy, Mt. St. Charles, Bishop Hendricken, Delbarton and more.  They will start with St. Joseph Institute (NY).  Prep has shown how offensive they can be.  21 goals through three games and they've done it against three average to above average squads.  Right now, with NDWH struggling a bit, they appear to be the state's best.  The question is, can they keep it up against the best of the best.  We will find out this week.  I think they at least win their opener.  Fairfield Prep 4, St. Joseph Institute (NY) 2

12/27 Northwest Catholic @ Simsbury 7:30 @ ISCC
Simsbury is better than the 5-2 loss they took at the hands of the Green Knights.  Ryan Carpenter is a legit talent and should lead the Trojans to big things this season  Northwest Catholic will be one of D2's top teams this year after falling in the D3 final last year to Newington-Berlin.  They are (2-0-0) but outscored their opponents 14-1 in those two games.  This one is very interesting as I could see Catholic winning it but I'll go with the D1 team who is looking to re-legitimize themselves after a tough loss.  Simsbury 4, Northwest Catholic 3

12/28 Yarmouth (ME) @ Guilford 3:00 @ Ingalls Rink
Guilford gets a holiday game at the Whale.  That's pretty cool.  After an 11-7-2 season last year and a number one seed in the D2 state tournament, the Indians are off to a tough start going (1-2-1).  The elixer that could fix that is taking on Yarmouth who's struggled in years past coming to CT.  I'm interested by this one and having nothing to do on my Friday afternoon, so I'll be onsite for this one.  I'll take Guilford.  Guilford 5, Yarmouth 2

12/29 New Canaan @ ND-Fairfield 5:00 @ Milford Ice Pavilion
Both of these teams have shown glimpses of brilliance.  Ironically, both of their glimpses have come in games against Darien.  New Canaan tied Darien in one of the state's best games, a 0-0 tie where goalies Chris Koenneke and Michael Collins were both excellent.  ND-Fairfield recently lost a more offensive tilt against the Wave 5-4 devastatingly in overtime.  The Lancers will be without goalie Stone Denbok for the next two as he is heading back to Canada for the holidays.  This will be the second of the games so expect to see Scott Kline in goal.  I think the Rams are better than their record indicates and this one is a toss up, but I'll go with New Canaan.  New Canaan 4, ND-Fairfield 3  

12/29 Daniel Hand @ Newington-Berlin 8:30 @ Newington Ice Arena
I've been quite outspoken about Newington-Berlin not advancing to D3 after last year's championship.  They boast one of the state's best all around players regardless of division in Brendan Richard and are as steady as you get in net with senior Drew O'Leary.  They've jumped out to a (3-0-0) mark and now have a legit test in D2's Daniel Hand (2-1-0).  Hand is coming off a big 3-1 win over Fairfield Warde-Ludlowe and are closer to a D1 opponent than most D2 squads.  This one will really prove Newington-Berlin's worth, but I like the Tigers to hand them their first loss of the year.  Hand 3, Newington-Berlin 1

12/29 Hamden @ Winchester (MA) 4:30 @ Ned O'Brien Rink
Hamen redeemed themselves in a major way with a near shutout of a talented St. John's Shrewsbury (MA) squad.  They continue their out of state tour when they head to Mass to take on Winchester.  Winchester is currently ranked #11 in the vaunted Division I Massachusetts High School Hockey rankings coming into action at (2-0-2).  Hamden will need to bring everything they've got in this one, and could very well legitimize themselves with a win.  But after a decent layoff, this seems like a toughie.  Winchester 3, Hamden 2

12/31 ND-Fairfield @ St. Joseph 12:00 @ The Arena at Harbor Yard
The Lancers are in the midst of a three game D1 stretch in which all three games are winnable (North Haven, New Canaan, St. Joseph).  I was very high on St. Joe's coming into this season and while the production hasn't been there from preseason all state CK Keator, it hasn't really been there from anyone.  The Cadets are (1-2-0) with their only win coming against a struggling Guilford squad.  This game is dire for both teams.  I made the prediction banking on Denbok being back from his Canadian holiday adventure.  Turns out, he won't be but I still think ND takes this one at Harbor Yard.  ND-Fairfield 4, St. Joseph 2 

2012 West Haven Holiday Tournament
The quarters saw West Haven, Xavier, NDWH and Glastonbury advance and Cheshire, St. Joseph, Ridgefield and South Windsor relegated to the loser's bracket.  I went 4-0 on my first round picks.  Here's how I see the two definite consolation games as well as the semi's panning out.  I will post my picks for Saturday once Thursday's games are final and Saturday's match ups are set.

Thursday 12/27 Bennett Rink, West Haven
1:00 St. Joseph vs. Cheshire LUKE- St. Joseph 4-3
3:00 Ridgefield vs. South Windsor LUKE- Ridgefield 6-2
5:15 (SEMI #1) Xavier vs. West Haven LUKE- Xavier 3-0
7:15 (SEMI #2) NDWH vs. Glastonbury  LUKE- NDWH 5-3

- CTHSHockey will be in the building!

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