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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Eight Elite Predictions Week 9 (2/11-2/17)

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: 40-15-4   LAST WEEK: 6-2

Elite Predictions: Mark these on the calendar

2/11 NFA-St. Bernard-Bacon-Ston-LM @ Woodstock Academy 6:45 @ Jahn Hockey Rink
The Redhawks took the first meeting of these two earlier this year 4-2 back on January 7. Both teams are in the mix for home ice in the D3 tournament and this is a very even matchup. The Redhawks have lost 3 of 4 coming in while the Centaurs have won 4 of 5. The Centaurs are also 5-1 at Jahn this year. For whatever reason, WA seems to do better at home. I'll hesitantly take them. Woodstock 4-3

2/11 East Catholic @ Glastonbury 7:30 @ Trinity College Rink
Glastonbury hasn't allowed a goal in two games. They've elevated themselves to near the top of the D1 rankings and look primed to be able to battle with any team this season. My only fear for them is what happened in their three losses this year and some of their wins. The offense goes silent. We know that they can play a defensively sound game, but putting pucks in the net has been a problem area at time. This was the case the last time they face East Catholic, a 1-0 Eagles win. Glastonbury is the more skilled and complete team. I do not believe East Catholic can or will pull the season sweep. Tomahawks 3-1

2/11 Housatonic-NW-Wamogo @ Sheehan 8:00 @ Choate Hockey Rink
I'll be freezing with the rest of ya at Choate on Wednesday. The #4 and #5 teams in the D3 rankings face off. Sheehan is 8-2 this year with both losses coming to a quality opponent in NFI. However, the Titans aren't as good as their record would indicate. They got a nice, redemptive win their last time out against Tri-Town but the fact of the matter is they've only beaten one CT team this year with a winning record and that was Joel Barlow... in overtime. Housy comes in winners of 5 of 6 with the only loss coming to D2 power SGWL in OT. I'm picking Sheehan in this one because I think something was awoken in them in their win over Tri-Town. However, if they don't show up and realize the potential of their top tier scorers, they will be in for a rude awakening from a very good Housy squad. Sheehan 5-4

2/12 ND West Haven @ Greenwich 5:15 @ Dorothy Hamill Rink
Probably the game of the week. Newly crowned #1 Greenwich gets a stern test from a seemingly red hot NDWH team. NDWH beat Hamden, in what was being called an upset at the time (not sure it really was). Then, they went on to beat West Haven in the Battle of Bennett in a hard fought game. Greenwich just came off a great week beating down Ridgefield and tying a great Darien team. This one has all the makings of a classic battle. NDWH has risen to the occasion before in a game like this but Greenwich sent a message with their dominant win over the Tigers on Saturday. My heart is picking NDWH but my head is picking Greenwich. Until the Cardinals are playing at a lesser level, I'm going to pick them. Greenwich 4-2

2/13 Branford @ Suffield-Granby-WL 7:40 @ Enfield Twin Rinks
Real quality D2 tilt Friday night at the Twin. If QU was out of town this would be an ideal trip for CTHSHockey... oh well. Branford is coming off a tough week which saw them beat North Branford, Masuk and Cheshire. SGWL is also coming off a huge win.. a 2-0 win over D1's Simsbury. Branford has won five in a row since being upset by Westhill and they've held on to their #1 title because of this. However, none of those wins have been beat downs. SGWL has been erratic all year and very unpredictable. After a three game losing streak, they've run off three straight wins which weren't looking too impressive (two wins over mid level D3 teams, Housy & Woodstock) until they beat D1's Simsbury, a team that had been playing well and entered the D1 rankings. This sets up for a real tough call on Friday. Branford will have played on Wednesday against WP so they could be a bit tired. A Friday night game isn't common place. But Branford just keeps rising to the occasion. I'll take the Hornets in a close one. Branford 4-3

2/14 Hamden @ West Haven 1:00 @ Bennett Rink
Rivalry Saturday AGAIN at Bennett. Last weekend the Blue Devils had to deal with NDWH, now they get their public school rival, the Hamden Green Dragons. The two have combined for 24 state championships at the D1 level (Hamden 17, WH 7) and are both struggling entering play. Hamden had lost 4 straight at press time, though they play East Haven on Wednesday while West Haven had lost 3 straight but has Amity on Wednesday. We should assume they both win those. Hamden made an impressive showing in defeat last time out falling to Mount St. Charles 3-2. I trust what the Green Dragons bring to the table offensively more than I do WH. However, at this point, I think the Blue Devils are the better defensive team. I'd call for a tie, like they did when they met at the Lou, but that would be gutless so with plenty of hesitation, I'll go with Hamden on the road. Hamden 3-2

2/14 Westhill @ Staples-Weston-Shelton 8:00 @ Milford Ice Pavilion
An underrated little D3 matchup at the MIP Saturday night. A solid, competent defensive team with the upside to beat very good teams against a powerhouse offensive group that tends to allow goals at times. Westhill's resumé is impressive with wins over Branford, Fermi and this Staples team earlier this year 5-2. They've also been impressive in defeat, falling narrowly to Masuk and Fairfield and were able to tie New Canaan. Staples can pour in goals. They've scored 5+ goals eight times this year but have lost 4 of 5 coming in. The Wreckers, too, can play with the big dogs taking Greenwich and St. Joe's down to the wire. I'm a big Westhill supporter though. There is something fearless about this group and it translates to quality competition against some of the state's better teams. Staples may be able to put up some numbers but I think the Vikings are up to the task. Westhill 4-3

2/17 Newington-Berlin @ Conard 8:00 @ Veteran's Memorial Rink
A couple of D2 powerhouses collide next Tuesday. A lot of hockey will be played before then but we'll look at these two as of right now, on Tuesday 2/10. The Chieftains have won 5 of 6 with the lone loss coming in OT to D1's East Catholic. They play two D1 games before this one when they head to Simsbury and South Windsor. Newington-Berlin's schedule has not been as tough as Conard but have dealt with the competition with ease winning six straight since losing to the Bucks in OT. Newington-Berlin has a double dip with Farmington Valley before this one, not exactly as tough as Simsbury and SW.  I think the Chieftains are the better team. Their list of casualties (SW, EC, SGWL, Xavier, NWC) is way stronger than New-Ber's and I think you can add the Indians to that list on Tuesday. Conard 4-2 

2/11 Lyman Hall-HK-Cog @ Eastern CT Eagles 8:00 @ Connecticut College
Two teams desperately battling for final seeding in the D3 field. The Eagles have lost 8 of 9 coming in with their only win coming in an out of state game against Everett. Lyman Hall has lost 5 of 6 but showed a little more grit in close losses to Sheehan, Shepaug and Mt. Everett. I think the Trojans are slightly better than ECE at this point but this one could go either way. LHK-Cog 5-3

2/12 Fairfield @ Ridgefield 4:00 @ Winter Garden Ice Arena
A nice little trap game for Ridgefield, fresh off their loss to Greenwich. The Tigers will be playing three games in four days Wed-Sat. This will be the middle game, sandwiched between a walk in the park (Trinity Catholic) and a battle with a monster in unfamiliar territory (Fairfield Prep). Games like this often get overlooked. Fairfield is good, they've won four straight and have what it takes to beat a team like Ridgefield, IF they play the perfect game. However, when Fairfield has played against the FCIAC's D1 powers, things haven't turned out so well (loss to Darien 6-3, loss to NC 6-2, loss to SJ 2-1 OT). It should be closer than the first two, as I think Fairfield is playing their best hockey of the year but it won't be enough. Ridgefield 6-4

2/16 St. Joseph @ Darien 6:00 @ Darien Ice Rink
Another FCIAC tilt finishes our Twitter Pick Requests. Darien is 5-0-1 since losing to Ridgefield. St. Joe's is 6-1 since losing to Hamden, however the Cadets have been less than impressive the last two times out allowing Trumbull and Staples to hang around with them until it was almost too late. I think Darien is the better D1 team this year and should win this win relatively easily. Darien 4-1

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