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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Elite Eight Predictions Week 8 (2/4-2/10)

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: 34-13-4   LAST WEEK: 5-2-1

Elite Predictions: Mark these on the calendar

2/4 Darien @ Fairfield Prep 6:00 @ Wonderland of Ice
Darien is playing this one on short rest after tying Greenwich Tuesday evening. Prep is coming off a dominant win over SCC rival Hamden. The Wave were able to beat the Jesuits back before Christmas. Since then Darien is only 2-2-1 against D1 opponents. Prep is certainly battle tested and while their record isn't what it normally is, the win over Hamden Saturday in convincing fashion was a statement win. Prep on home ice coming off their most recent win paired with Darien playing the night before is why I'll go with the Jesuits in this one. Prep 4-3

2/7 NDWH @ West Haven 1:00 @ Bennett Rink
The Battle For Bennett is as close this season as it's been in the past, at least on paper. NDWH has more weapons while West Haven has played excellent defense in their hot stretch (6-1-1 over last 8). NDWH has seemed to put it together recently going (2-1-1) over their last four with the lone loss to Bishop Hendricken. NDWH will be nearing close to two weeks of no game action where WH will be fresh off a game against NDF. Similarly to how he took over against Hamden, Mike Savino definitely has what it takes to put the Blue Devils on his back but I think I'll go with the Knights in this one. Not too confident about it but regardless, this should be a great one. NDWH 3-2

2/7 Fairfield @ Westhill 3:30 @ Terry Connors Rink
This is an interesting game. Fairfield has played real well of late (3-1 over last four) and are seeming to be the top FCIAC team outside of the D1 ranks. Westhill plays everybody tough but is coming in losers of two straight. The Mustangs were without some regular bodies recently so hopefully they get them back in the lineup. I'll go with Fairfield but expect Westhill to keep this one tight. Fairfield 4-2

2/7 Masuk @ NFI 4:10 @ Danbury Ice Arena
These guys just met on January 31 so there will no unfamiliarity in this one. These are two of the top 3-4 teams at the D3 level and NFI will be eager to repay the favor to Masuk after losing a close 3-2 game to them last time out. Masuk has a battle coming up before this when they face Branford. NFI has a battle of their own with a rematch against D3 #4 Sheehan. I think NFI certainly has what it takes to topple Masuk in this one but it would be foolish to pick against Masuk at this juncture. Masuk 4-3

2/7 Branford @ Cheshire 6:00 @ Wesleyan Ice Rink
Branford can't be caught looking ahead to this game with Masuk prior. Branford is coming off a statement win 6-3 over D2 power North Branford. Cheshire has lost 4 of 5 and needs this one to regain some footing in the D2 standings. The good news is they should get a portion of that footing back against Amity Tuesday night. I just don't think it continues against the Hornets who are looking more and more like they are the team to beat come tourney time. Branford 5, Cheshire 3

2/7 Northwest Catholic @ East Catholic 7:00 @ Champions Skating Center
Good old rivalry game at Champions Saturday night. The rink should be rocking as it always is when these two face off. NWC took the season opener in overtime when they met back on January 10. EC has three wins against D1 teams this year and, yes, two of them came against South Windsor but the third came 1-0 against Glastonbury. If they can stifle the Tomahawks, they have what it takes to take down rival NWC. I think these two are very even and this one will come down to who plays a more competent game. Up until this year's win NWC was 0-5-1 against East with three losses coming in OT. I think NWC is the more complete team and they will take the season sweep of EC Saturday. But if the Eagles won I wouldn't be surprised at all. I'd only be surprised if this one doesn't go to OT. NWC 4-3 OT

2/7 Tri-Town @ Sheehan 7:00 @ Choate Ice Rink
#4 and #5 in the most recent CTHSHockey D3 rankings face off at Choate Saturday night. Sheehan has won four straight since losing to NFI but hasn't done a great job keeping the puck out the net. Tri-Town is one of those teams that will battle toe to toe with anyone in their division. They've beaten NFI and are 2-1 against D2 teams this year. Sheehan would love to get back at Tri-Town after being upset by the 11 seed in last year's D3 quarters in triple overtime. I think Sheehan is the better team with a potent offense. At some point their defense will hurt them. I'm predicting it doesn't happen Saturday. Sheehan 6-4

2/7 Greenwich @ Ridgefield 8:50 @ Winter Garden Ice Rink
This could be the game of the week. Greenwich is rolling and just notched a quality tie against FCIAC power Darien. Ridgefield earned the #1 spot in the D1 rankings partially because of other squads' ineptitude but mainly because they are one of the state's hottest teams, winners of 7 straight. I still don't know how good Greenwich is but I think they're better now than I did a week ago. Bryan Archino has been solid in net and scoring and production has been spread fairly evenly throughout the lineup. Ridgefield boasts more natural talent so I'll probably regret this but I'm going to go with a minor upset and pick Greenwich. Ridgefield is the favorite in this one and if they win they further solidify themselves as the state's #1, but I'm giving the Cardinals a chance to continue to make me believe. Greenwich 3-2

2/4 Fermi-Enfield @ Tri-Town 3:50 @ Enfield Twin Rinks- Great D2/D3 matchup. Tri-Town beat Fermi back in 2014. Fermi comes in winning just 2 of 6. Their record isn't shabby but the teams they've beaten are pretty shabby, a combined 12-44 record. I think Tri-Town, despite being down a division, takes the season sweep. Tri-Town 4-3

2/4 Northwest Catholic @ Glastonbury 7:30 @ Trinity College- Tough one for NWC before their rivalry tilt with EC on Saturday. Glastonbury should come in very fired up after losing to NDF last time out. The Tomahawks do a great job keeping the puck out of the net. Their 3-2 loss to NDF was the first time they allowed more than two against. Because of this defensive stalwartness I'll take the 'Hawks. Glastonbury 3-1

2/4 Shepaug-Litchfield-Nonnewaug @ Mt. Everett 7:45 @ Berkshire Rink- Shepaug has more worries than just winning this one Wednesday night. The co-op is rumored to be leading all the state in major penalties with six, meaning one more and their post season hopes could be dashed. They are 1-5 since losing in OT to Mt. Everett prior to Christmas. I think this'll be a close one but I'm going to go with the home cooking for Mt. Everett. Mt. Everett 4-3

2/4 Watertown-Pomperaug @ North Branford 8:30 @ Northford Ice Pavilion- A short memory will be needed for the T-Birds going into this one. They lost a tough 6-3 tilt to rival Branford on Tuesday night and are now faced with an upset hungry WP team. WP is 3-3 over their last six but haven't done well against teams the caliber of NB. T-Birds 6-2

2/9 Glastonbury @ Xavier 3:30 @ Wesleyan Ice Rink- This could've been picked as one of the Elite Eight matchups. An elite D1 matchup. Glastonbury will have played two games before this one while this is Xavier's next game, a full 9 days rest. It'll be interesting to see how Xavier responds to the layoff. Will they be rested or rusty? I really like the way Dan DeConti has his boys playing and more importantly believing. For that, I am going to pick Xavier but let this be clear. Both of these teams are state title contenders and have what it takes to go very far. Xavier 3-2

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