The Impressive Crusade
|Trinity Catholic is (6-0) to start this season.|
I put Hamden at number one this week simply because they were the most deserving. The Dragons had a rough week after that losing badly to Xavier on Wednesday and falling to rival West Haven in a game that they outplayed the Blue Devils for large chunks. Wednesday was a debacle. The game was never really close. Goalie Chris Feldman was fighting it all game long but was really getting no help in front and Hamden couldn't generate much of anything. Saturday pitted them against a team that is very much like them. Before talking about Hamden's ineptitude on Saturday let me praise the Westies. West Haven is as blue collar as they come. They bring their lunch pail, punch in and punch out and win, lose or draw you know they left it on the ice. Senior defenseman and captain Alex Scranton is fun to watch. The kid would do anything for his team and this was showcased in him blocking shots and prohibiting Hamden from getting any second chances. The Westies grind, the same way Hamden needs to but the difference on this day was in net. Feldman had a rough outing, no more needs to be said and anyone who was there to witness the Westies' fourth goal knows what I'm talking about. Mike Savino, West Haven's junior netminder was very strong throughout. While, at times, he left some pucks that the Dragons weren't able to bury, most of the game he was clutch, coming up with big stop after big stop. As for Hamden, they just missed opportunities galore. They had breakaways, gaping nets, extending zone stays, brilliant passes but couldn't seem to put this game away. You can blame it on bouncing pucks or solid stick work by the Westies, the fact of the matter is the Dragons, with the exception of freshman Jeremy Routh, who was able to find the back of the net twice, didn't show a killer instinct. They allowed a dangerous Westies group to hang around in a dog fight. It's the kind of game the Blue Devils love and they took advantage of it. So, after a 3-0 start the Dragons sit at 3-2. All is not lost. For large portions of this one, they outplayed West Haven. I'm sure they can harness this and find ways to win. But first they need to find ways to score. Hamden continues with South Windsor Wednesday night at home while the Westies head to the Wonderland to face Fairfield Prep on the same night.
More On Saturday's Action
- Fairfield Prep returned to out of CT play Saturday hosting perennial Rhode Island power LaSalle Academy. The Jesuits cruised to a 4-0 victory in a game that, from on site reports, wasn't that close. They did this on the back of senior Matt Wikman who notched a hat trick on the day. Wikman has quickly thrown his name into the D1 Player of the Year running with 15 points (11 G, 4 A) through the Jesuits' first 8 games. While the numbers aren't exactly eye popping, the competition Prep plays certainly is.
- Notre Dame-West Haven made their point loud and clear that they very well could be the best team in the state of Connecticut with a convincing 6-3 win over previously undefeated East Haven. Senior defenseman Jimmy Davins led the Knights with a pair of goals while seniors Eric Austin and Matt Dumas and juniors Kyle and Ryan Lynch all posted multi-point games. Junior Wade Conlan stopped 27 in the winning effort. Many will start proclaiming, "I told you so," with this one, and I might even be one of them. East Haven's offense was able to click and for large periods of time play with the Knights but it seems that the Easties will struggle on the defensive end and in net when faced with an offense like NDWH's.
- Milford was a preseason top 5 team in my D2 rankings. They got off to a rough start going 1-2-1 over their first four. Then, in heartbreaking fashion, they continued to lose their next two by single goals to Branford and Amity. Well, the Indians went off yesterday and trounced a quality North Branford team 7-2. Zach White, Milford's backbone, continued his hot streak with a hat trick and an assist on the day. While Milford (2-4-1) isn't out of hot water yet, that type of win should rally the troops to believe.
- East Catholic won their third straight over rival Northwest Catholic 4-3 in overtime yesterday. A true rivalry regardless of current division, all of those three games went to overtime.
- North Haven moved to (7-1) on the year avoiding an Daniel Hand upset win. Hand drops to (3-5) on the year incurring their fifth straight loss.
- The Bucks of EO Smith-Tolland-Windham put up one heck of a fight against D2's Newington-Berlin but ultimately fell in overtime. This is one of the best losses I've seen all year and should set the Bucks up for success going forward. They have a huge D3 tilt next Saturday at Freitas against a powerful Newtown club.
- Cheshire seems to have figured it out now winning their third straight. This time it was 4-1 against a hit or miss Amity team that has been missing more than they've been hitting lately. Cheshire, aided by a hat trick from stud senior Luke Vendetto, kept this one from ever really being in doubt. After a 1-4 start, the Rams sit comfy at 4-4. Amity, on the other hand has lost two of three. This team looked potent, impressive and scary when they came back to beat Cheshire back in December. They need to find that intensity as, coming into the year, they were a D2 favorite. They now, sit at a pedestrian 4-3.
Records That Stands Out
- Trinity Catholic, now 6-0, started last season 1-5.
- Housatonic-NW-Wamogo, now 7-1, didn't get their 7th win until Feb. 16 last year.
- North Haven, now 7-1 at the D2 level, won only four games last season. All four wins came against now D2 opposition.
- Despite being 3-0 vs. FCIAC teams this year, Hamden is only 4-4 against FCIAC opponents the previous three seasons.
- Darien is 22-4-3 over the last three seasons when playing at Darien Ice Rink.
Rinks around the are did a wonderful job raising money for the #prayforMikey cause. While we don't have a grand total, certain individual rinks were raising over $1000 each which leads me to believe the final donation amount will be staggering. We have decided to not stop here. If there are any youth hockey organizations interesting in helping out or any other high school rinks that were unable to host an event this week please know any continued donations will be infinitely appreciated. For any questions please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or @jeng2496 on Twitter.
Saturday, January 11 Scoreboard. Scores provided by hshockeyct.com!