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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Elite Eight Predictions Week Three (12/31-1/6)

I am going to stick to the 8 games per week. If you would like a "Twitter Pick" tweet @cthshockey and I'll send you a pick there!

RECORD: 11-3-2   LAST WEEK: 5-2-1

Elite Predictions: Mark these on the calendar

1/3 Simsbury @ Conard 1:00 @ Veteran's Memorial Rink- The Conard Chieftains were the darlings of the early season, jumping out to a 3-0 record after winning only 4 total last year. They were given a reality check in a 6-2 loss to Glastonbury. Bouncing back is vital during this short season and they get a chance against another D1 foe in Simsbury. The Trojans are coming off a tough 3-2 loss to NDWH, a game that could've easily shifted in their favor. I like both of these teams this year as surprise/upset caliber teams on any given night. I think D1 prevails over D2 in this one, however. Trojans 4-2

1/3 Fairfield Prep @ NDWH 1:00 @ Bennett Rink- Considered best rivalry in the state for years. With NDWH in a somewhat of a transition year, this year's could have a different feel. Prep retooled and reloaded again. NDWH will need top talents like Alec Andreucci and Joe Ansaldo to provide a spark but it may not be enough. I'll take Prep. Jesuits 5-2

1/3 Fairfield Co-op @ North Branford 2:00 @ Northford Ice Pavilion- North Branford has been downright scary to start while Fairfield has rebounded nicely winning two since their opening night loss to Branford. This year's Mustangs squad has a little of that under the radar feel that the state champ team had. Maybe in the end it'll work out similarly for them but for now, they're not in the same league as North Branford. T-Birds 6-4

1/3 St. Joseph @ Hamden 2:30 @ Lou Astorino Rink- Remember Hamden's start last year? 2-0 with wins over Darien and New Canaan and a #1 ranking in the CTHSHockey D1 Top 10. They're off to a good start this year as well, 2-1 with wins over New Canaan and Winchester (MA) and a lone loss to Darien. This is where we see if Hamden has taken that next step and continue to have success throughout the year and win games that they should. St Joe's seems improved since last season but still seems like a bottom tier D1 team after shutout losses to Xavier and Greenwich. Hamden should win. Dragons 5-3

1/3 Xavier @ Greenwich 6:30 @ Dorothy Hamill Ice Rink- Greenwich has been a fun story to cover this year. They're 4-0 and have only allowed four goals against all year. Xavier is an interesting team. They couldn't manage much offense to start the year but have scored 11 in their last two games, wins over St. Joe's and East Catholic. I'm going to go with the better defensive team in this one and take Greenwich. Cardinals 3-1

1/3 Masuk @ Westhill 8:30 @ Terry Connors Rink- This is an intriguing D3 game. On one hand you have a perennial power in Masuk who is ripe to win the whole thing this year after matching 6-0 wins over overmatched BBD and Stamford. On the other hand you have another 2-0 team in Westhill. The Vikings won convincingly over Staples their last time out and snuck out a 5-4 win over D2's Fermi to start the year. It's a small sample size but Westhill is a good team. This one could be close but it's really a chance for Masuk to show the dominant power many think they are. I think they win, but I like Westhill to battle and keep it close. Panthers 4-2

1/5 North Haven @ Northwest Catholic 4:40 @ ISCC- At 0-2-1 North Haven isn't off to the start they wanted but there is hope. The Indians are a good hockey team with a strong senior leader in net. They've lost both tries at D1 teams so far this year and will get another shot with Northwest Catholic, a team who's already lost twice this year to D2 opponents. Something has got to give and I'm calling for an upset. North Haven 5-4

1/6 Fairfield Prep @ ND Fairfield 5:30 @ Webster Bank Arena- The battle for Fairfield is taking place at NDF's new home barn ;). At press time, the Lancers are prepping to face Massachusetts powerhouse BC High in the championship of their tourney. A win over BC High would probably be the most impressive thing any team in this state will do this year. That said, I don't see it happening, I hope it does, but I don't see it. Talent against talent up front these teams are more even than some would think. It's the back end and in net that I think the Jesuits have a decided advantage. Prep 5-3

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