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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Eight Elite Predictions 1/2-1/8

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.  Here are my week four selections.
Season: 13-6-1, Last Week: 3-2-0 (waiting on three which were snowed out)

8 Elite Predictions: Mark these on the calendar
1/2 Milford Co-op @ Branford 4:00 @ Northford Ice Pavilion
Two contending D2 squads face off on Wednesday at the NIP.  At press time both Milford and Branford enter the game at (2-1-0) and have both lost to quality D2 opponents.  Milford is led by junior Zach White who's average three points a game at (4 G, 5 A, 9 pts.).  Branford will need to slow White's progress if they are to be successful in this one.  I like the Hornets but this one is as much of a toss up as you can find.  Branford 4, Milford Co-op 3

1/2 Darien @ Notre Dame-West Haven 6:30 @ Bennett Ice Rink
During a normal week this would certainly constitute "Game of the Week" honors but NDWH also welcomes Prep this week so this one will take a back seat.  Darien has been off since Notre Dame-Fairfield took them to overtime on December 22nd.  The Wave were able to hold on that night and win 5-4 due in most part to the heroics of Brendan Hathaway.  They'll certainly need it on this night as NDWH will come in droves attempting to slow the Wave.  Both teams have tried multiple goalies.  NDWH has used a strict platoon between seniors Luc Amatruda and Paul Sliwinski and the Wave have predominantly used senior Michael Collins but have also looked to Mike Colon in net.  When it boils down to it this match could be very even but I'll go with the home squad who's coming off a huge WH Xmas Tourney Championship.  NDWH 3, Darien 2

1/2 North Haven @ East Haven 7:00 @ DiLungo Ice Rink
Two ends of the D1 standings face off Wednesday in East Haven.  The Easties are (4-0-0) but haven't really beaten anyone.  The Indians are (1-2-0) and haven't really played anyone.  Something's got to give at DiLungo.  The Yellow Jackets have one of the stronger lines in the state in the threesome of Matt Longobardi, Tristan Goodwin and Mike Falanga.  North Haven's Karl Anderson has been their most steady star with three goals already on the year.  I have to give the early edge to East Haven.  I don't see the Yellow Jackets being challenged by an "elite" team until February 5 when they play Xavier.  East Haven 5, North Haven 3

1/4 St. Joseph @ Hamden 8:30 @ Lou Astorino Rink
An odd 8:30 Friday night start time at the Lou features a team that was embarrassed the last time they were there.  In last year's first round of the state tournament Hamden destroyed the Cadets 9-1 ending their rather productive season.  Hamden off a nice out of state win over St. John's Shrewsbury and St. Joe's is still trying to legitimize themselves in the opinion of in state competition.  They will have played South Windsor prior to this one so we shall see what their record looks like when the puck drops for this one.  St. Joe's is coming off a beat down of NDF 6-2 at Webster Bank Arena and I'm not a big believer in Hamden this year but until St. Joe's can win with more consistency, I'll go with the home Dragons.  Hamden 5, St. Joseph 2

1/5 West Haven @ East Haven 1:00 @ DiLungo Ice Rink
East Haven should be challenged in this one but it's hard to really call a (2-3-0) West Haven team elite.  However, if the Easties could win this one they would move to (7-0-0) and any team that has a record like that is legit no matter who they've played.  West Haven needs something to go their way and played very well against Glastonbury on Monday.  I think the Westies hand the Yellow Jackets their first loss in this one.  Call it a gut decision because I could easily ride the undefeated Easties.  West Haven 4, East Haven 3

1/5 GAME OF THE WEEK Fairfield Prep @ Notre Dame-West Haven 1:00 Bennett Ice Rink
Easily the G.O.T.W.  Prep will have a full week off after winning the Mt. St. Charles Face Off Tourney while NDWH will host a tough Darien squad on Wednesday.  This one may boil down to who's the more rested squad.  Both teams just spew talent.  NDWH boasts forward depth matched by maybe only Prep.  While Billy Vizzo and Greg Zullo have taken an early season siesta.  Other players have stepped up like Jesse Ruocco, Kyle & Ryan Lynch and Kyle Thibault.  The Green Knights are also the most defensively deep unit in the state.  On the Jesuits side they boast just as much depth.  David White is an all world talent with 14 points through six games, Connor Henry is coming off a five goal MSC tourney and players like Tim Edmonds, Matt Wikman and Mike Ventricelli have also contributed early on.  Both teams COULD be undefeated entering this one but the talent Prep has faced early on can be a difference maker.  I'm very hesitantly going with Prep on the road.  Fairfield Prep 5, NDWH 4  

1/5 Ridgefield @ Xavier 7:00 @ Wesleyan Ice Rink
Another top notch matchup that may be overshadowed by Prep/NDWH.  Ridgefield really should've had a shot at the Falcons in the WH Xmas tourney but due to some spotty scheduling they didn't get to meet.  Ridgefield has two losses on the year to Prep and NDWH, not bad.  Plus, they absolutely destroyed Hamden and South Windsor and eeked out a tough one against Glastonbury.  The Tigers have a deep team but will have trouble matching Xavier's overwhelming speed and tenacity.  The Falcons hit, they recharge and then they hit again.  Since their season opening loss to St. John's-Shrewsbury (MA), goalie Shane Baldwin has only allowed three goals in four games and the Falcons have outscored their opponents 17-3 in those four games.  It may come down to Baldwin and Ridgefield goalie Dusty Rausa.  If that's the case, I'll take Baldwin.  Xavier 4, Ridgefield 2

1/5 Hand @ Guilford 7:30 @ DiLungo Ice Rink
The Daniel Hand Tigers and Guilford Indians face off Saturday night in another colossal D2 tilt.  The Hand Tigers have improved to (3-1-0) at press time and Guilford, last year's #1 seed is struggling at (2-2-1).  Hand boasts one of D2's hidden gems in pint size sophomore Ben Solin who can truly dominate a game.  Senior captain and defenseman Matt Oman is also a key reason the Tigers are (3-1-0).  I would anticipate junior Chase Briggs being in net for the Tigers and he is one of the best goalies the state has to offer regardless of division.  The Indians will rely big time on senior defenseman Ryan Moore and a cast of forwards including Chris Cafiero.  I think Hand is too loaded and takes this one.  Hand 5, Guilford 2

- CTHSHockey will be in the building!

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