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Monday, January 7, 2013

Eight Elite Predictions 1/9-1/15

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 five selections.

Season: 19-9-1, Last Week: 6-2-0

8 Elite Predictions: Mark these on the calendar
1/9 North Haven @ Brookfield-Bethel-Danbury 6:40 @ Danbury Ice Arena
BBD looks to be celebrating a victory of D1's North Haven
BBD is (4-2-1) overall but (4-0-0) against in state competition.  They've also need extra time in four of their seven games.  They get D1 bottom feeder North Haven who comes in at (1-4-1).  North Haven just took perennial power Hamden to the edge falling 4-3 and have played some solid teams tough.  Sophomore goalie Andrew Graziano could be the difference as he single handedly stole a tie against New Canaan stopping 50+ shots.  North Haven has Hall-Southington on Tuesday so they could have a little confidence when the puck drops Wednesday or even more desperation.  Consider this a must win for them.  I think North Haven wins in a borderline upset.  Don't be surprised if this one goes to overtime.  North Haven 4, BBD 3

1/9 Hamden @ Xavier 7:30 @ Wesleyan Ice Rink
Hamden (3-3-0) is a far cry from the back to back state champions they were a few years ago.  They have had an up and down season defeating a talented St. John's team from Mass and losing to teams Hamden would never dream of losing to in years past.  They are taking on an electric Falcons squad that hasn't faired well against Hamden in years past.  Xavier has run off two wins since losing to NDWH in the championship of the WH Xmas Tourney.  One of the more fun teams to watch in the state, the Falcons should be able to handle Hamden on this night.  They are far too deep and in only two of eight occasions this year senior goalie Shane Baldwin has allowed more than two goals.  Xavier wins.  Xavier 4, Hamden 1

1/9 Glastonbury @ East Catholic 8:00 @ Champions Skating Center
East Catholic's Vinny Genovesi battling against Newtown earlier this year.
Glastonbury is close to clinching another state tourney birth coming into this one at (6-2-0).  Losses to NDWH and Ridgefield are their only blemishes but that showcase win still evades them.  They have beaten some solid teams but no studs.  While East Catholic doesn't come close to the high end teams of D1, it'd be a nice feather in the Tomahawks' cap to end their undefeated streak.  Meanwhile, East Catholic (6-0-0) is looking to legitimize themselves in the eyes of the state.  They've beaten some good teams but no one close to the D1 level.  They have the fire power to do so as in four of their six games they've scored 5+ goals.  I'm going with D1 in this one, however.  Glastonbury 5, East Catholic 3

1/11 Newington-Berlin @ Bolton-Coventry-Rockville 3:50 @ Bolton Ice Palace
The Indians put their 26 game win streak on the line against a fellow undefeated squad in Bolton-Coventry-Rockville.  These are the final two loss-less teams in D3 and BCR proves to be one of the only hurdles Newington-Berlin will have all year.  BCR has outscored their opponents 30-6 on the year en route to their (6-0-0) mark. While Newington-Berlin has done it a little more defensively they've been equally as impressive.  This one is a toss up but I think NB is a little more tested at this point and the streak continues... for now.  Newington-Berlin 4, Bolton-Coventry-Rockville 2

1/12 West Haven @ Hamden 2:30 @ Lou Astorino Rink
The Dragons return home after a tough road tilt at Xavier on Wednesday.  The Westies visit their age old rivals in what has become a trying season at Bennett.  The Blue Devils could enter the game at (3-5-0 or 4-4-0) with a Wednesday night game against Simsbury.  Hamden could very well have a (3-4-0) mark which makes this game pretty unprecedented in terms of the two teams meeting with .500 or losing records.  This one will be ugly, mean and hard hitting... kind of the reason I'll be there.  It won't be pretty.  Gone are Jeremy Germain and Mike Troaino and with them gone is the finesse game.  These teams will bring it.  At the end of the day I think Hamden is a tiny bit stronger.  It could come down to Mike Savino being a better goalie at this point than Matt Hoff but we shall see.  Hamden 3, West Haven 2

1/12 Notre Dame-Fairfield @ Notre Dame-West Haven 3:30 @ Bennett Rink
Denbok has kept ND-Fairfield in it this season.
On the night of the University of Notre Dame taking on Alabama for college football's highest title, it's convenient that these two squads meet on Saturday.  Both teams are at different ends of the D1 spectrum right now.  NDWH is coming off a tough 3-1 loss to hated Prep and will not have played a game until this one.  NDFairfield will have played two games prior to this one with Watertown-Pomperaug on Monday and Amity on Wednesday, two games they could understandably lose.  If they do, or even split they will be pretty desperate at Bennett on Saturday.  The Lancers have some talented skaters and a goaltender in Stone Denbok who can steal a win but NDWH is too talented, too deep and too hungry to get back on the winning track.  NDWH wins.  NDWH 5, NDF 2

1/12 Fairfield Prep @ LaSalle Academy (RI) 7:00 @ Smithfield Municipal Rink
Beck stood on his head vs. NDWH
The Jesuits proved Saturday that at least for now, they are the state's best with a 3-1 win over undefeated and defending state champions Notre Dame-West Haven.  Prep continues their out of CT tour heading to Providence on Saturday to take on perennial power LaSalle Academy who comes in at (5-2-2).  This is the fourth of six out of state games the Jesuits will play and they've proven their ability to not only win one but win on the biggest stage.  Prep got an outstanding effort in net from junior Matt Beck so it will be interesting to see if Sather decides to continue using him or go back to his platoon with junior Chris Gutierrez.  I'd be crazy to go against the Jesuits at this point.  Fairfield Prep 4, LaSalle 2

1/12 GAME OF THE WEEK Northwest Catholic @ Newington-Berlin 7:00 @ Newington Ice Arena
I'm anticipating both Northwest Catholic and Newington-Berlin still being undefeated when facing off on Saturday.  It's more likely the owners of the 26 game win streak will have lost before as they have a much more difficult matchup with BCR than NWCath does with Rocky Hill-RHAM-Middletown.  NW Catholic has beaten some seriously solid teams and Newington-Berlin comes in as the odds on favorite to win the D3 title again.  This one may surprise some as my selection for game of the week but look at it this way, you have a rematch of the D3 title game from last year, a matchup of two of the states hottest players in Pat Melanson (NWC) and Brendan Richard (NB), and two teams that should come in a combined 12-0.  It's one for the ages.  It is a proving ground game for both teams and while a loss won't be detrimental, a win will go a long way.  I think the streak ends and Northwest Catholic gets some redemption from last year's loss.  Northwest Catholic 4, Newington-Berlin 3


1/12 St. Joseph @ Ridgefield 8:50 @ Winter Garden Rinks
An extra one for ya!  St. Joseph has turned it on since starting the season 1-2-0.  They now sit at (5-2-0) while Ridgefield is probably the best .500 team in the state at (3-3-0) with losses coming to Fairfield Prep, NDWH and Xavier.  While they have been allowing goals as well, the Cadets are on fire led in the most part by CK Keator and his barrage of hat tricks.  Ridgefield has been getting scoring from all over after a tough 3-2 loss to Xavier have proven they belong towards the top of the rankings.  I hate to keep picking against St. Joe's because they keep burning me but I'm going with Ridgefield at home.  Ridgefield 5, St. Joseph 4

- CTHSHockey will be in the building!

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