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Saturday, January 5, 2013

News and Notes

By: Luke Devoe
St. Joseph's Keator

Keator's Hatties
St. Joseph senior CK Keator wowed the state last season when he ran off three straight games with a hat trick.  Well, he's back at it again.  After potting three against Hamden last night in the Cadets' 6-4 win, Keator has now notched a hatty in 3 of their last 4 games.  This is a welcome sight for the SJ Bomb Squad as Keator, a preseason All CTHSHockey First Team selection, started the year a little slow for his expectations.  This mirrored the team's play as the Cadets started (1-2-0).  Since then they have run off four straight with their biggest coming last night at Hamden.  The Cadets now sit at (5-2-0) and with the way Keator is playing, they should continue this upward trend.

New Milford's No-Nos
The Green Waves are crashing into their opponents and thrashing them among the rocks.  New Milford is playing a high end defensive brand of hockey and since being the last Connecticut team to play a game this year they have run off three straight, sit at (3-0-0) and haven't allowed a goal yet.  They are led in most part by senior netminder Matt DePalma but even the backup is getting into the fray as junior Nick Capriglione was the latest Wave member to notch a shutout last night in a 7-0 win over D3's Shepaug-Litchfield-Nonnewaug, a team who came into the game at (3-1-0).  It hasn't just been with defense though.  Junior Harrison O'Connell has notched five goals already and has seven points on the year through three games.  With an early season win over D2 champion Trumbull, New Milford is showing they are legitimate.  This stalwart defense will be put to the test, however, in the next three.  It starts tonight when they take on a desperate Branford squad at the NIP followed by a home and home with a solid Newtown squad.
New Milford's DePalma

The Game
Sliwinski will look to shut down Prep
Today Prep and Notre Dame-West Haven face off at 2 at Bennett and if you haven't gotten your ticket by now, good luck.  This one is sure to be one for the ages.  Normally a (7-0-0) start, winning the WH Xmas Tourney in convincing fashion and wins over Xavier, Darien, Glastonbury, Ridgefield, etc. would be enough to hush the doubters and solidify you as the clear cut number one team in the state.  This hasn't been the case for the defending D1 champs.  With Prep's incredible run at Mt. St. Charles' Face Off Tourney many believe that the Jesuits are the state's best.  And why shouldn't they?  The Jesuits have already dismantled a comparable foe in Ridgefield 6-1 and then went on to top St. Joseph Institute (NY), LaSalle College Prep (PA) and Delbarton (NJ) in the final at the Mount's tourney.  Well, unless the score is knotted after eight overtime minutes today, a rarity at the high school ranks, something's got to give today.  This one will be full of talent.  NDWH boasts junior Billy Vizzo, seniors Greg Zullo, Jesse Ruocco, and Kyle Thibault as well as some new blood in sophomores Ryan and Kyle Lynch.  They also own some of the best role players in the state as well as an experienced proven D core led by senior Darren Capobianco, and juniors Lou Iannotti and Anthony Iovenne.  They've been using a platoon in net and if Gerosa holds true to this senior Paul Sliwinski will get the call in his second straight monstrous game.  Luc Amatruda, head number two of this two-headed monster, was brilliant in net Wednesday night shutting out a talented Darien squad 3-0.  On the Prep side they can match ND's depth, talent and goaltending punch for punch.  Everyone knows about #8 David White, arguably the state's best player.  He has already notched 14 points through six games (7 G, 7 A).  He's been complemented nicely by senior Connor Henry who had a huge Mount tourney scoring five goals including two in the final.  Like ND, the Jesuits are deep.  Players like senior Tim Edmonds, juniors Matt McKinney and Matt Wikman and sophomore Mike Ventricelli have picked up some scoring slack while senior defensemen Sean Henry and Kevin Brown have been as strong as any top pairing all year.  In goal expect to see junior Matt Beck who's played the most out of the Jesuits' three but don't be surprised if Sather goes with either fellow junior Chris Gutierrez or sophomore Jack Taubl both of whom have seen action this year.  It should be a dandy with two teams that don't like each other that much.  This is certainly a preview of what the D1 final could be and should be.

Indians Streaking
 Newington-Berlin has a 25 game win streak
The Newington-Berlin Indians have done something rather quietly.  They've run off 25 straight wins dating back to last season.  One of their biggest came this past week when they topped D2 power Daniel Hand 3-1 at home.  This team is an anomaly as they boast some D1 talent and are a D2 capable team residing comfortably in the D3 ranks.  I'm not taking anything away from their accomplishments because, as Wednesday showed they can skate with and beat some high end teams but this shows a flaw in the CIAC's system.  In the past I was sure that if you won a state title at a certain level you were mandated to move up to the next division unless petitioned.  So maybe the brass at Newington-Berlin petitioned that move and wanted to stay at the D3 ranks but it's a detriment in all actuality to some of these top end talents.  Senior winger Brendan Richard is one of these players that deserves to be showcased as he would be able to produce like he's been at all levels.  The same goes for senior goalie Drew O'Leary.  Newington-Berlin is (4-0-0) on the early season and will only be truly challenged a few more times.  The only teams I see with a shot at beating them would be Bolton-Coventry-Rockville, Northwest Catholic, Brookfield-Bethel-Danbury, maybe Hall-Southington and Branford on the season's final night.

Big Move Paying Off
Unlike Newington-Berlin, Northwest Catholic, last year's D3 runner up has moved up to the D2 ranks and sit cozy at (4-0-0).  Their wins have been impressive as well.  They've walloped Hall-Southington, one of Newington-Berlin's only competition, 11-5.  They beat D1's Simsbury in a hard fought 3-2 game and also have a win over Windsor-Farmington-Avon, a D1 competitor last season.  These Indians also claim some very high end talent but in their case they will have a larger stage to showcase it.  Senior Pat Melanson is playing like a man possessed with a state best 19 points through 4 games, not a typo.  Melanson has already had 7 and 8 point games to his credit.  The Indians are also getting scoring from  some other talented youngsters in senior Jeff Greenwood and junior Demitri Yao.  With D1 big dogs Glastonbury and South Windsor still on their schedule as well as East Catholic and Newington-Berlin (twice) the Indians will have plenty of chances to prove their worth.

Taking Easy Street
While teams like Hamden, Xavier, NDWH and Fairfield Prep elect to play a full D1 + out of state schedule there are still some D1 "powers" who are opting to play double digit games against D2 and D3 competition.  This is their choice and why shouldn't you plow your way to the states if the CIAC will allow it.  But, it's not even like they are scheduling 1 or 2 cake walks, we're talking the majority of their schedules.  We're talking teams like Glastonbury, the state's runner up last year, East Haven, a proud SCC program and Simsbury, a team only a few years removed from being in contention every year.  Until teams are made to play the bulk of their schedule against their own division this will continue to happen.  Teams like West Haven and Hamden could schedule 12 D2 or D3 games but doesn't that just water down this whole thing that we love.  Kudos to those programs that respect the competitive balance and don't play a November Uconn Basketball schedule.

# of D2 or D3 teams on schedule
Fairfield Prep- 0
Hamden- 0
Notre Dame-West Haven- 0
Xavier - 0
West Haven- 4
South Windsor- 7
Darien- 8
New Canaan- 8
Notre Dame-Fairfield- 8
Ridgefield- 8
Greenwich- 9
St. Joseph- 9
North Haven- 10
Cheshire- 11
Glastonbury- 11
Simsbury- 11
East Haven- 12

1 comment:

  1. The D-1 teams in FCIAC, Ridgefield, Darien, St Joes, New Canaan, Greenwich, are required by the FCIAC to play 12 games within the conference, the majority of which are usually D-2 & D-3 teams (as you can see they all have 8 or 9 D-2 or D-3 teams on the schedule). However I think as you see this year these D-1 FCIAC teams are generally playing the best upstate teams they can schedule for the remaining 8 non-conference games. The FCIAC should consider dividing the conference in two division but that may disadvantage schools that are trying to develop their programs. But rest assured if we could schedule more D-1 teams within or without the conference, we would. That's how you build a first-rate program snd a great team.