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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Part I: Division 1 Team Preview Capsules

By: Luke Devoe

2012-13 Record: 16-2-2
Tournament Result: 3 seed- defeated (14) South Windsor 5-3 in First Round; defeated (6) St. Joseph 5-2 in Quarterfinals; lost to (2) NDWH in Semifinals 8-0

Darien's Tommy Watters
Darien put together an excellent 2012-13 campaign, falling eventually in the D1 semi’s 8-0 to NDWH.  Things could’ve been different for the Blue Wave, however, if senior captain and leading scorer Brendan Hathaway didn’t break his ankle in the FCIAC championship.  But that’s in the past and a revitalized group of Darien seniors are ready to show that the Wave should be feared this year.  Without Hathaway and fellow graduates Trent Bergin and Jack Knowlton the Wave will rely on senior forwards Tommy Watters (CTHSHockey D1 Honorable Mention), Owen Koorbusch, Craig Miller, Jack Pardue and Connor Davis.  Watters, a quick, explosive talent has the potential to have a breakout year this season.  On the defensive end, Darien will lean on seniors Jack Massie and Nick Allam.  On the back end, senior goalie Michael Collins graduated but Mike Colon saw plenty of action there last year so the learning curve will not be steep.  The net is Colon’s to lose.  Look for junior Carter Joyce to have an immediate impact.  The Wave have all the pieces and consistently put together double digit win seasons.  There is no reason to expect anything less.  There schedule is ridiculously hard early (Hamden, Prep, New Canaan (twice), NDWH, Ridgefield, Fairfield Co-op), followed by some FCIAC gimmes.  Weathering an early storm will put them in good position for states.  Like every year, Darien should be feared.  They will be in the mix.  

East Haven
2012-13 Record: 8-11-1
Tournament Result: 15 seed- lost to (2) NDWH in First Round 5-4 OT

East Haven, a proud public school program, had to be considered one of the schools to drop down similarly to North Haven and Cheshire.  But, they’re still here and it’s probably a good thing.  D2 schools would shutter to think about the damage the Easties’ top line would do down there.  Coach Lou Pane returns stud seniors in captain Matt Longobardi and Tristan Goodwin as well as the elusive, undersized junior Mike Falanga.  On the defensive end Pane will rely on senior Jake Delguidice and sophomore Nick Latella.  The Yellow Jackets lost a goalie when senior Zac Bouve decided to head to ND Fairfield.  He will be replaced by newcomer Tom Delucia.  Finally, watch out for senior Dylan Butler, a kid with a lot of upside who could certainly help the Jackets this year.  In the end, the Jackets will put up some wins but land a road game in the first round of states.  They play 11 games against D2 or D3 competition.  Uncertainty in net and talent outside of their top line certainly will be question marks heading into the 2013-14 season.
Fairfield Prep
2012-13 Record: 19-1-0
Tournament Result: 1 seed- Bye in First Round; defeated (8) Hamden 8-3 in Quarterfinals; defeated (5) Ridgefield 4-1 in Semifinals; Won D1 State Championship by defeating (2) NDWH 3-2

Fairfield Prep's Matt Wikman
A near perfect season ended exactly the way it should’ve last year with the Jesuits topping Notre Dame-West Haven in the state championship capping off a fun run.  Coach Matt Sather’s boys ended up winning 23 of 24 games including the vaunted Mt. St. Charles Tournament.  It would be easy to say that with Prep losing their top three leading scorers in CTHSHockey D1 Skater of the Year David White (20 G, 23 A), Connor Henry (15 G, 17 A) (CTHSHockey D1 Third Team) and Nick Bargiello (8 G, 18 A) (CTHSHockey D1 Honorable Mention), they would struggle to rebound.  But, that would be foolish.  We’ve seen Sather and co. retool better than any team in the state.  Dean Lockery (CTHSHockey D1 Honorable Mention), after a breakout junior year which saw him pot 13 goals and 24 points will captain the squad along with Ken Kochiss and Matt Wikman.  Will these guys turn out to be the next big thing in Fairfield?  On the defensive end, the Jesuits lost a lot.  Sean Henry (CTHSHockey D1 Second Team), Billy D’Amore, Andrew Hatton and Kevin Brown, all CTHSHockey D1 Honorable Mention are all gone.  Some returners with decent size look to bolster the blue line for the Jesuits.  Junior Brendan Killoy (6’2”) and senior Steven Baylers (6’3”) will certainly intimidate the opposition if not for anything else.  In net, the Jesuits are probably the most stable team in the state and this could be the difference maker.  They return the two headed senior monster of Matt Beck (CTHSHockey D1 Second Team) and Chris Gutierrez, as well as junior Jack Taubl.  Because of this, Prep should be favored again and will be my number one team in the state when I release my top ten later this month.
2012-13 Record: 12-8-0
Tournament Result: 9 seed- lost to (8) Hamden in the First Round 6-2

The Tomahawks showed glimpses of brilliance last year followed by certain lulls, culminating in a disappointing blow out loss to Hamden in the first round.  Avery Clair (CTHSHockey D1 2nd Team), the imposing 26 goal scorer, has graduated leaving Glastonbury with a gaping offensive hole.  To make things worse, the Tomahawks will be without third leading scorer Tyler Walles who graduated and the team’s second leading scorer Conor Thompson (CTHSHockey D1 Honorable Mention) who opted to forego his senior season to play for the USPHL’s U18 Islanders.  With the addition of any other seniors who are obviously gone, that’s 65% of the Tomahawks production.  The biggest question coming out of Tomahawk camp this season will be, where on earth will the scoring come from?  Some players that need to step up will be junior Logan Underwood (8 points), junior Shane Mack (9 points) and senior Isaac Ward (8 points).  Equally troubling is the exit of mainstay goaltender Chase Gabor (CTHSHockey D1 3rd Team) who posted a stellar 1.87 GAA his senior year for the Tomahawks.  Last year’s back up junior Kyle Thibodeaux (66 minutes last year) and senior Alex Ment will battle for the starting spot with an early edge going to Thibodeaux.  There will certainly be new faces this year for Glastonbury, but will there be a diamond in the rough that has enough to take this group out of a foreboding future.  We shall see.  This could be a rough one for Glastonbury though.
2012-13 Record: 12-8-0
Tournament Result: 12 seed- lost to (5) Ridgefield in the First Round 6-1

The Cardinals, a once proud FCIAC program took a big step in the right direction last season posting a 12-8 mark and reaching the Division 1 state tournament.  The Cards ran off wins over eventual D2 champ Fairfield Co-op as well as perennial D1 powers West Haven and East Haven last year and showed that they cannot be over looked anymore.  This year’s squad will struggle with the loss of tri-captains William Waesche, Paul Macken and Reed Brady as well as Jack Corrigan.  But there are plenty of pieces that will make a repeat .500 plus season a distinct possibility.  Returning for his second year in net will be goalie Brian Archino.  They will be lead by seniors Luke Finneran, Mark Schmiler, Matt Lodato and Tommy Feda.  Look for newcomers Colin Kelly and Christian Cunningham to take the reigns early and help make up for the loss of the aforementioned seniors.  The Cardinals play a tough FCIAC schedule with other DI squads mixed in.  The schedule could be the only thing standing in Greenwich’s way.  A lot will fall on Archino’s shoulders.  The Cards lost a lot of close games last year so his stalwartness will be vital.

Coming tomorrow... Part II: Division 1 Team Preview Capsules

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