Peep Photos


Saturday, December 29, 2012

WH Xmas Tourney Recap & Predictions

By: Luke Devoe

St. Joseph 5, Cheshire 4

St. Joseph's CK Keator netted a hat trick Thursday
Just when Cheshire thought they'd at least have a shot in overtime, St. Joseph stud forward CK Keator struck for the third time to top the Rams.  In the day's best game (the only one I missed), Cadet forward Keator would score the game winner with just about 40 seconds left, potting his hat trick goal.  Cheshire drops to (0-5-0) with the loss.  Ram forward Luke Vendetto would do his part netting two goals in a losing effort.  The Cadets, in an attempt to get their season back on track would improve to (2-2-0) on the season.  Both teams opted for their backup netminders in this one with Cheshire's Jack Naramore finishing with 23 saves and St. Joseph's Wade Conlan finishing with 27.

#5 Ridgefield 7, South Windsor 1
In the second loser's bracket game, the Tigers would score seven unanswered in topping the struggling South Windsor Bobcats.  The Tigers would get four goals in the first and carry a lofty 4-1 lead into the first intermission.  After the Bobcats' Connor Minguy opened the scoring, the Tigers' Brendan Winne, Ian Ball, Chris Morrow, and Cal McCormick would all add goals.  The Tigers would then get a quick second period goal from Liam Smith and a late second period score from Jack Tregurtha.  Liking the feeling of scoring his first career goal in the first, the Tigers' Winne would add a second late.  The Tigers ability to get scoring from all over their roster will be huge for them going forward.  Senior goalie Dusty Rausa was big when he needed to be, but he wasn't really challenged in this one.  Ridgefield has shown the ability to show up and if it wasn't for the egg they laid against Prep they'd be in consideration for one of the state's best.  If this tournament was scheduled in a way that didn't blatantly give West Haven a ticket to the top four, Ridgefield would be playing in one of the later games today.  My suggestion if this tourney was seeded according to ability: 1. NDWH, 2. Xavier, 3. Ridgefield, 4. Glastonbury, 5. St. Joseph, 6. West Haven, 7. Cheshire, 8. South Windsor.  Oh well, maybe they'll ask for my input next year.

#3 Xavier 6, #10 West Haven 0
Baldwin's 25 saves were good for his 1st SHO of the year
If you only watched the first period of this bruising affair you would never believe the final score.  Both teams came out flying and the Blue Devils matched the Falcons stride for stride.  If it wasn't for a redirected puck getting past West Haven netminder Mike Savino the two teams would've went into the first intermission knotted at zip.  Whatever the reason the game certainly tilted in the favor of the Falcons in the second as they would score four goals including two off the stick of junior Colin Beaudoin.  A Jack Gethings third period tally would do it and the Falcons would cruise to a 6-0 victory.  Xavier looked fast and neutralized West Haven's top players.  Austin Hansen, my Player of the Week from last week, Jimmy Morrissey and Jaeson Puleo were keyed, double teamed and roughed up all game.  Xavier has the ability to cycle lines that are almost duplicates of each other with players' abilities and compete levels very similar.  For instance, I featured senior Will Stanton on the blog this week and he was kept off the scoresheet in a six goal game.  The leadership of junior Gethings, the stalwart defense of senior Dan Dupont, the emergence of Beaudoin and the steady play of guys like Ryan McLellan and Kade McCartin will carry Xavier far.  But, the most impressive thing to come out of this one was the cool, calm play of goalie Shane Baldwin.  Baldwin finished with 25 saves and a shutout and in a 6-0 game one may not think he factored in.  They'd be wrong.  Baldwin was never flustered, squashed any thoughts of a comeback when the game was in reach and squelched any stat padders late for the Westies.  If Xavier is to be successful this year, and I've predicted from day one that they will, they will rely on the continual steady play of Baldwin.  Look at the numbers, Baldwin has allowed 6 goals through 5 games and that's with 3 coming in the season opening loss to St. John's-Shrewsbury.  Through the last four he's allowed only 3 goals as the Falcons have outscored those opponents 17-3.

#1 Notre Dame-West Haven 5, #7 Glastonbury 0
It was deja vu all over again for the Tomahawks as NDWH exerted some strength and showed up in force in this semifinal.  Glastonbury needed this one to stay close or scoreless for a while in order to gain some footing but that was the opposite of what happened senior speedy Jesse Ruocco would open the scoring not even three minutes in and senior captain Kyle Thibault would tack on another barely three minutes after that deflating the Tomahawks and goalie Chase Gabor.  Gabor would settle in and actually make some pretty impressive saves giving the Tomahawks a fighting chance but with just under a minute left in the frame, sophomore Kyle Lynch would score on a nice feed from Ryan Lynch. The beatdown would continue early on in the second as Kyle Lynch would again score.  Junior Eric Austin would send a beautiful saucer through the paint and Lynch would deflect it past Gabor.  This was about the time when things started to get ugly.  Glastonbury, frustrated with the score and their lack of chances started to parade to the penalty box with stupid penalty after stupid penalty.  Both teams started to go at it and play elevated to a fever pitch.  The dagger was finally put in Glastonbury's coffin when with about five to play in the second Ruocco would clean up a dirty puck outside of Gabor's crease and make it 5-0.  A lot of pushing and shoving, swearing and facewashing would ensue for the remainder of the second and third but the final was never in doubt.  Like Baldwin in the game prior, senior goalie Luc Amatruda was excellent with 22 saves and a shutout.  In blowouts like this a lot of the time the goalie is forgotten, this should not be the case here.  The interesting decision NDWH coach Bill Gerosa has now is who to start tonight.  I believe he'll go with fellow senior Paul Sliwinski as they've worked a strict platoon so far this year but Amatruda was their guy that guided them to a state championship last year.  Regardless, they are both fine netminders.  Sliwinski was excellent in their 3-1 quarterfinal win over Ridgefield.  Lost in the shuffle in this game and left off the scoresheet quite often this season is the talented duo of junior Billy Vizzo and senior Greg Zullo.  This is a tribute to the depth that NDWH has.  Simply reading the box score in the paper you would never have known the impact these two had out there.  When things start to get ugly on the ice a lot of time star players bow to the grinders to take care of the action.  To the final whistle on Thursday both of these boys finished their checks, won puck battles and left it all on the ice.  Not always going to find the box score but this is why NDWH keeps winning.

All that said it's time for predictions.  We'll start in the 7/8 game.  A wise man recently told me that Cheshire is the best (0-5) team in the state and I'd agree.  I think they get win number one today over a hapless South Windsor squad.  In the second game I have to go with Ridgefield.  I'm excited as the rest of the state should be that St. Joseph senior CK Keator got off his shnide and netted a hatty but Ridgefield is getting scoring from too many places and are far too talented to be in the loser's bracket.  In the third place game I'm going to take Glastonbury over the home dwelling Westies.  I am still a believer in Chase Gabor and a (2-1) showing in a tournament like this should be considered a victory for the rebuilding Tomahawks.  Finally, I'm so tempted to pick Xavier in an upset, but in true Lee Corso fashion, "Not So Fast Sweetheart!"  Until NDWH is dethroned, I have to stick with them.  This is a matchup of two of the deepest teams in the state.  The Falcons are one of the only teams that can match ND's speed so that is something to watch as well as the crease battle between Baldwin and presumably Sliwinski.  I am 8-0 in my predictions for this tournament so far so you better believe it!

Cheshire over South Windsor 4-3
Ridgefield over St. Joseph 5-2
Glastonbury over West Haven 5-3
Notre Dame-West Haven over Xavier 4-2

No comments:

Post a Comment