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Monday, February 3, 2014

Elite Predictions 2/5-2/11

By: Luke Devoe


Better week for me last week with only Sheehan, Simsbury and Cheshire burning me. This week a lot of predictions and games could get postponed as CT gets rocked by snow, so many of these games could be moved. Still waiting on NFI/Staples and NDWH/New Canaan which will be played 2/4.

Elite Predictions: Mark these on the calendar
Last Week: (6-3-1)  Season: (47-29-8)

2/5 North Branford @ Daniel Hand   4:00 NIP
T-Birds went toe to toe with North Haven Saturday but wore down down the stretch. Hand came away with a huge win over a red hot Milford team. This is one of three excellent games at the NIP Wednesday and I'll give the edge to Solin, Braumann and co. in what is essentially a toss up game. Hand 4, North Branford 2
2/5 South Windsor @ Cheshire   6:00 NIP
The Bobcats have been playing much better of late since getting throttled by Hamden 7-0 back on 1/15. Cheshire is tough to read at this point and can skate with just about anyone. South Windsor showed me a lot beating D2's East Catholic in overtime last week and that's enough to make me pick the low level D1 team over the mid to upper D2 squad. South Windsor 3, Cheshire 2
2/5 GAME OF THE WEEK Fairfield Prep @ Darien   6:00 Darien Ice Rink
In a monster tilt, Darien hosts the Jesuits in a rematch of a 1-0 Darien win back in December. While I wouldn't say Prep has been struggling of late, they certainly aren't wiping the floor with the competition like we've come accustomed to them doing. Darien is one of the smoothest passing teams in the state and thrive with their puck pursuit and recovery. They don't have the standout players like Prep, but their team game is insanely impressive. Even though the Wave are the number one team in the state many would consider a win and a season sweep here an upset. I think they can get it done. Darien 2, Prep 1
2/5 ND Fairfield @ West Haven   6:30 Bennett Rink
West Haven battled hard against #1 Darien on Saturday but ultimately were outwilled. Defenseman Alex Scranton should be commended for his ability to quietly lead this squad and keep them in most games. ND Fairfield has been on fire. They've gone 4-0-1 in their last five with their lone tie against a good St. Peter's Prep (NJ) team. The Lancers have scored 26 goals over their last three games and this offensive potency should be enough to give them the W here. But remember, the Westies beat the Lancers 4-2 back on 12/28. I just think NDF is a better team now than they were then. NDF 5, West Haven 2
2/5 Newington-Berlin @ EO Smith-Tolland   6:45 Uconn Ice Arena
The Bucks play everybody tough and playing them at Uconn is a death sentence for some as they've gone 5-0-1 at home. Newington-Berlin looked less than stellar in topping a two win Wethersfield team 7-4 on Saturday. They haven't really been tested since a 3-3 tie against NWC on 1/15 but I think they are the deeper team with more offensive options. Matt Schoen could stand on his head in this one to keep it close but I'll go with New-Ber. Newington 4, Bucks 2
2/5 Glastonbury @ Branford   8:00 NIP
This is an interesting one. Branford sits at 10-1-1 and hasn't lost since 12/26. Glastonbury, after a rough start has won seven of eight with wins over Simsbury, Amity and NWC. Goalie Kyle Thibodeaux is a large reason the Tomahawks have been so successful over the recent stretch and I highly doubt Branford is able to score at will as they've done so frequently this year. That said, I think the Hornets and the red hot Tyler Hackett find a way. Branford 3, Glastonbury 1
2/7 Hamden @ Bishop Hendricken   8:00 Thayer Ice Arena
Hamden is about as hard to read as arabic. They get drubbed 6-0 and 9-2 to the ND's and go out and lay a beating on a decent Simsbury squad and follow it up with a closer than the final score would indicate loss to Prep. Hamden's problems are in net, there's no masking that. They have the bodies to compete with anyone but keeping the puck out of the net has been their downfall. That's a big deal when playing a team like RI's best Bishop Hendricken who's already beaten Prep and skated stride for stride with NDWH. I would love to see the Dragons pull this one off but I don't see it happening. Bishop 5, Hamden 2
2/8 ND Fairfield @ Fairfield Prep   1:00 Wonderland of Ice
This is one I'm certainly looking forward to. Prep hasn't really been Prep. The first time these two hooked up, the Lancers were able to skate with the Jesuits only to fall 5-2 at Harbor Yard. As I mentioned, I think NDF is a different team now. It'll be interesting to see who they ride in net but my money would be on Justin Krochko who has seemed to settle down in the role with plenty of options behind him. I have a tough time picking against Prep twice in one week but I can honestly see this one going either way. Would it surprise me if NDF pulled the upset? No. Do I think it'll happen? No. Prep 4, NDF 3
2/8 West Haven @ ND West Haven   1:00 Bennett Rink
Rivalry day at Bennett starts with the battle for West Haven. The Blue Devils will be pumped for this one. Depending what happens Tuesday against New Canaan, the Knights could either be riding an unheard of two game losing streak or be back on track. NDWH is just so deep and their top line of Dumas, Lynch and Lynch is nearly unstoppable. The question mark there is the health of Ryan Lynch who was injured late in the loss to Darien. Reports are he should be good to go. Either way, I think NDWH finds a way. This one will be closer than many would think though. NDWH 4, West Haven 1
2/8 Branford @ Amity   3:30 Bennett Rink
Following that one is another gem. Amity hosts Branford in a game that the Spartans desperately need to announce themselves as a title candidate. Amity is only 2-3 over their last five but they get a whole week to prep for this one. I think Branford is the better team but this one certainly showcases some of D2's most talented players with Hackett and Tyler Criscuolo going head to head with Brett McNeil, Adam Shea and Keating Seymour. The problem for Amity is, Branford counters with a handful of complementary players equally as capable of scoring a big goal. This one will be close, Hornets will win. Branford 3, Amity 2 
2/8 Newtown @ NFI   4:00 Danbury Ice Arena
NFI's win over Sheehan in overtime on Saturday was one of the year's biggest moments and that confidence can cause a team to skyrocket. I've said all along I think Ryan Dobos is one of the finest goalies in the state. He better be, because an equally as stalwart goalie eyes him from the other end of the ice. Pat Mcloughlin has been incredible for Newtown to this point and it's been well documented that I think the Nighthawks are one of the top two teams at the D3 level, but on this night I think NFI will have enough to pull the upset. NFI 4, Newtown 3
2/8 Northwest Catholic @ East Catholic   7:00 Champions Skating Center
This might as well be rivalry week. NW takes on East in a clash of two good hockey teams. EC sits atop the D2 standings with a 10-3 mark. They've already beaten NWC 4-3 in overtime back on 1/11. NWC has been fighting it a bit going 2-3-1 over their last six but recently notched a big win over rival Simsbury. I did some digging and I've called for a NWC win the last four times these teams have met. The result, 0-4 for me. I'm going to break from that this time and pick EC to win this one. EC 3, NWC 2 OT
2/8 Suffield-Granby-WL @ BCR   7:45 Bolton Ice Palace
Another underrated tilt to take place at the Palace Saturday night. Suffield is a fun team and one that I've been high on all season. They've won 5 of 6 and are looking like they can pull off some home ice in the first round of the D2 tourney. BCR is a team that just keeps on keeping on. Often thought to be a defense first team, and they are, they've been scoring more goals this year than previous years which they'll need to do to contend at the D2 level. This is a tough call. I think I'll go BCR. They are 6-1 at home this year with the lone blemish coming in a tight game to Newington-Berlin. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Suffield took this one though. BCR 3, Suffield 2
2/8 Lyman Hall-HK @ Sheehan   8:15 Choate Ice Rink
Finally, a Wallingford rivalry finishes off our weekly picks. Lyman Hall-HK heads to Choate to take on Sheehan. LHK has done well enough of late to be pretty locked in to a tournament spot. Sheehan dropped a heartbreaker to NFI on Saturday in a game they had in the bag leading 3-1 late. Sheehan is the better team here no doubt but when rivalries are thrown into the mix all bets are off. I think LHK keeps this one close, but the Titans prevail. Sheehan 4, LHK 2
- denotes CTHSHockey will be in attendance

Warrior Cup
Additionally, on Wednesday, January 5, Newtown and Joel Barlow will be playing their first "Warrior Cup" game at 5:30 at Danbury Ice Arena. Donations will be collected at the game to help the Wounded Warrior Project. You can also donate by clicking the link below. Additionally, both teams will be selling military style uniforms that they will wear in the game. The teams' combined goal is $10,000. If you're in the Danbury area or you want to donate online, please help out this cause. Kudos to both programs and coaches Paul Esposito and Pete Maxfield for doing this!

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