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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Boys' Hockey: Wednesday's Top Games (2/1)

Fairfield Warde/Ludlowe @ Staples/Weston/Shelton @ 4pm
-S-W-S is having a rough time right now and things don't get any easier as they host FCIAC foe FWL.  FWL is also a top team in DII that S-W-S would like to beat to show that they are serious contenders in their first year in DII

Simsbury @ Daniel Hand @ 6
-Simsbury keeps proving one game at a time that they are serious legitimate team in DI this year.  Facing off with a top DII team that has wins over other DI teams, Daniel Hand, will be a good test for both squads.

#5 Xavier @ #1 Fairfield Prep @ 6
-A top five matchup is going down in Bridgeport tonight!  X is coming off a 2-1 win over N Haven over the weekend while Prep is flying high as the champions of the inaugural Jesuit shootout, including a big 2-0 win over BC High (MA).  Prep has beat numbers two through four in the rankings so let's see if Xavier can shake some things up or if Prep extends their win streak to eight.

Bolton/Coventry/Lyman Memorial @ Milford Co-op @ 6
-BCL is an alright team but the main reason this is getting featured is that a win means a trip to the DII state tournament for Milford co-op and a trip to the DIII state tournament for BCL.

Cheshire @ #2 Hamden @ 6
-The big duel to watch in this one is between the pipes.  Tyler Carbone for the Rams and Andy Varga for the Green Dragons are two of the best goalies in the state and they keep their teams in games until their offenses warm up.  I still expect Hamden to win, especially at home, but ti could be a lot closer than many are expecting; Cheshire only lost 1-2 to #4 ND-WH.  Oh yeah, a win for Hamden would be their 8th, officially qualifying them for the DI state tournament.

Westhill @ Trumbull @ 630
-Westhill is hot right now with wins over Stamford and S-W-S in their last two games while Trumbull is one of, in not the, top team in DII so far this year.  However, they only beat 3-8 Wilton 2-1 in their last game and lost 1-2 in OT to Fairfield Warde/Ludlowe in the game before that.

Notre Dame-Fairfield @ #10 West Haven @ 7
-These rankings are in reference to a post I still haven't posted but W Haven made it back into my top ten on Sunday.  They have rebounded from their losses well and pick up quality wins, which they have another opportunity for tonight.  ND-F, on the other hand, just creamed Conard and has some momentum going into Bennett Rink.

N Haven @ #6 Glastonbury @ 730
-N Haven dropped out of my top ten but will still give the Thomahawks a good game up at Trinity College in Hartford.  Very good game, especially for N Haven to face a CCC opponent and CCC area fans to see an SCC team.

Guilford @ Conard @ 730
-Somewhat interesting SCC/CCC game but the bigger thing to watch is that Guilford will qualify for the DII state tournament with a win at Veteran's Memorial Rink tonight.

Branford @ North Branford @ 8
-This game was postponed from way back on 1/21.  Home game for both teams in a local rivalry.  This game is also huge for both teams as they vie for a spot at the very top of DII team this year.  Branford beat Milford co-op 5-4 in OT and Milford co-op beat N Brandord 2-5.  Branford lost 6-7 in OT to Trumbull, a team that Brandord beat 5-4 just over a week prior.  However, Branford beat some other DII teams (Fairfield Warde/Ludlowe, Lyman Hall) by a lot more than N Branford.  The T-Birds are already in the DII tournament but the Hornets will secure a spot as well if they win this technical away game.  Should be a pretty dang good game!

#9 New Canaan @ #3 Ridgefield @ 830
-Top ten and FCIAC battle that is really either team's game to win.  Ridgefield, a fairly dominant team that has not lost since their opener (0-3 to #1 Prep, 11 straight since), plays top teams close.  They only scraped by #5 X at home 5-4 in OT, took down then #2 ND-WH on the road, and then St. Joseph and Fairfield Warde/Ludlowe 3-2 each in FCIAC games this season.  Encouraging for the Tigers is that they beat #6 G-bury 5-2 but that was right after the loss to Prep.  Perhaps coming off the close one with FWL will add to their drive and desire against now-ranked New Canaan.  NC tied #5 X 1-1, beat St. Joseph 6-1 and has yet to lose a FCIAC game just like Ridgefield.  Expect the Rams to be on their A game and this is going to be a really good hockey game at the Winter Garden Ice Arena.

#8 Darien @ St. Joseph @ 830
-This is the game that will make FCIAC fans want to be in two places at once.  Again, two of the conference's best teams, both already in the DI state tournament, are facing off and this time the Rinks at Shelton are hosting.  The Blue Wave want to continue their seven game winning streak while both teams look to add on a crucial conference victory to their records.  Going to be another good one in Fairfield County tonight.

DIII teams that make the state tournament with a win:
Northwest Catholic (vs Wethersfield @ 730)
Joel Barlow (@ Shepaug/Litchfield/Nonnewaug @ 815)
Masuk (@ Newtown @ 850)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Boys' Hockey: Monday and Tuesday's Results (1/30 and 1/31)


Windsor/Farmington/Avon 1 @ Newington/Berlin 3
-Huge win for Newington/Berlin and very disappointing loss for Windsor/Farmington/Avon.

Brookfield/Bethel/Danbury 7 @ Staples/Weston/Shelton 1
-More than a loss for S-W-S they got embarrassed by a DIII team in this one.

Masuk 2 @ Joel Barlow 4
-Barlow shows they are still better than Masuk as both teams now sit on the cusp of the DIII tournament with seven wins each.


-no games scheduled

Boys' Hockey: Monday and Tuesday's Top Games (1/30 and 1/31)


Windsor/Farmington/Avon @ Newington/Berlin @ 4
-N/B picked up a solid win over Hall/Southington on Saturday and they now get to host a fellow CCC-South rival, Windsor/Farmington/Avon.  W/F/A just made the DI tournament and they can continue to prove their worth against a top DIII team in a big-time game for both teams.

Brookfield/Bethel/Danbury @ Staples/Weston/Shelton @ 6
-B-B-D is on top of the work right now becoming the second team in the DIII tournament thus far this season, after their 4-3 OT win against Newtown this weekend.  S-W-S, on the other hand, is last year's DIII runner-up struggling in DII right now after being upset by Westhill making their current losing streak three games.

Masuk @ Joel Barlow @ 740
-SWC and DIII match-up that I featured at the beginning of the season too.  Masuk has done better since losing that game 1-2 so now is their shot at revenge and clinching a berth in the DIII tournament.


-no games scheduled

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Boys' Hockey: Saturday's Scores (1/28)

#8 South Windsor 1 @ Simsbury 4
-Bobcats are really struggling now and I think this win still looks good for Simsbury.

West Haven 5 @ Amity 2
-Good win for W Haven as they qualify for the DI state tournament and just keep taking things one game at a time.

Windsor/Farmington/Avon 1 @ #7 East Haven 3
-Easties got what they needed to solidify a spot in the top ten in the state.  Windsor/Farmington/Avon is now 1-1-1 in DI despite having already qualified for the DI state tournament.  East Haven hosts Amity next.

#1 Fairfield Prep 3 @ St. Peter's Prep 2 @ Purdential Center (Newark, NJ)
-FP won the inaugural Jesuit shootout and CT hockey looked very good beating a top team from NJ (that beat a good NY team) and a top five team from the great hockey state, Massachusetts.

Notre Dame-Fairfield 8 @ Conard 2
-ND won without Marty Roos for the first time since his resignation and they won big over Conard.

#4 Notre Dame-West Haven 3 @ #2 Hamden 3
-What did you expect, right?  Whenever two really good teams tie, I always bring up what I said that one time how a tie is worse than a win or loss for either side in my opinion.  The same thing applies here but mainly because neither team can say they're better and then Ridgefield can contend that they belong in the #2 spot; rankings will  be very interesting.

Westhill 7 @ Staples/Weston/Sheton 6
-I can't explain it and I wish somebody would but after starting 0-8-1, Westhill has won two straight games against good FCIAC teams: Stamford and now S-W-S.  S-W-S was looking pretty good in their first year in DII and they need to bounce back strong from this loss.

Newtown 3 @ Brookfield/Bethel/Danbury 4 OT
-Took OT but B-B-D got into the DIII state tournament.  The result looks good for Newtown too going forward.

#3 Ridgefield 3 @ Farirfield Warde/Ludlowe 2
-Neither team wanted to lose their first FCIAC game and FWL's strong performance in this one should help them going forward.  I am only looking into it so much because I have to find some reasons for separation but this results lessens Ridgefield's bid a little bit for #2 in the rankings.

Immaculate/New Fairfield 0 @ Watertown/Pomperaug 9
-9-0 win for the defending DIII champions to qualify for the DII tournament in their first year.

#5 Xavier 2 @ #9 North Haven 1
-X picks up the one goal win over North Haven again and shows that even after not playing for over a week, they can still come out and play good enough to beat a top team in the state.  Lookin' good for the Falcons going forward and N Haven can still build on this result.

New Canaan 3 @ Greenwich 1
-NC is back in the DI tournament that many thought they would win last year.  I'm sure the Rams feel good about that and adding another FCIAC win to their record.

Bolton/Coventry/Lyman Memorial 1 @ Rockville/Manchester/Stafford 2
-B-C-L has to wait a little longer to make the DIII tournament as Rockville/Manchester/Stafford got revenge and their fourth win in this one.

#10 Darien 9 @ Norwalk/Brien McMahon 2
-Dairen is in!  The Blue Wave should look to keep going up from here.

Hall/Southington 1 @ Newington/Berlin 4
-N-B gets a good win to continue their dominance of DIII.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Boys' Hockey: Saturday's Top Games (1/28)

#8 South Windsor vs Simsbury @ 1pm
-The Spartans have won four of their last five games and can certainly upset the Bobcats who are on an injury-induced slide right now.  SW beat Simsbury 4-1 in the first game of the season and it would be good for them to show that they are still better them, even without two players.

West Haven @ Amity @ 1
-The Westies can pick a quality win here as Amity beat N Haven 4-3 in OT and one of the Blue Devils three losses this season is N Haven.  Amity, on the other hand, are winners of two straight and making a push to reach the win threshold by the end of the season to make it to the DI state tournament.

Windsor/Farmington/Avon @ #7 East Haven @ 1
-The Yellow Jackets are coming off an 0-5 loss to #4 ND-WH on Wednesday and tied Daniel Hand 5-5 in their game before that.  Windsor/Farmington/Avon is on a five-game win streak and has already qualified for the DI state tournament.  A win for E Haven would be huge, especially since Windsor/Farmington/Avon beat N Haven 4-1 on Monday and E Haven only beat N Haven 4-3 in OT.

#1 Fairfield Prep @ St. Peter's Prep (NJ) @ Prudential Center (Newark, NJ)
-This is the CHAMPIONSHIP game in the Jesuit shootout and a win for Prep would be huge for all of high school hockey in CT.  Saint Peter's Prep is in NJ's catholic school league but they are not one of the top teams in it, like BC High was in the Super 8 in MA.  In fact, St. Peter's Prep is under .500 but they are the host team and this is their home ice.  Fan support could help them as well but honestly it looks like the Jesuits should win this cool tournament!

Notre Dame-Fairfield @ Conard @ 2
-ND has a shot to pick up a big win here and prove how talented they are against the highly inconsistent Chieftains that did beat #8 South Windsor.

#4 Notre Dame-West Haven @ #2 Hamden @ 230
-This highly anticipated match up should be a really good game but I have my doubts.  Hamden hasn't played in over a week (since last Thursday 1/19) and if they don't come out ready to play we may see a skewed result in a big-time game like New Canaan's win at Hamden last year.  ND-WH is coming off a really good 5-0 win over #7 East Haven on Wednesday so  expect them to be ready to go here in the big-time hockey environment that is Lou Astorino Rink.  Everyone should try to go to this game if they can, it has the potential to be one of the best games of the year and I'm going to say it beforehand, let's hope the refs don't skew the result either!  The other huge thing here is that a win for the Green Dragons make their trip to the DI state tournament official, giving them another motivation to play their best Saturday afternoon.

Newtown @ Brookfield/Bethel/Danbury
-This one gets the feature because a win gets B-B-D in the DIII state tournament.  Newtown is on a three game losing streak but only lost 3-4 at Joel Barlow in their one.  Its not a shoe-in for B-B-D but I still expect them to win.

#3 Ridgefield @ Fairfield Warde/Ludlowe @ 730
-Here is a solid game for the number three team in the state.  FWL is not THE top team in DII but they are good and have a lot of good wins in the division so I think they can give Ridgefield a good game.  Also, this is a FCIAC showdown that puts both team's current undefeated records in conference play on the line!

Immaculate/New Fairfield @ Watertown/Pomperaug @ 730
-Immaculate/New Fairfield hasn't won a game all year and once W-P wins this SWC game, they will extend their win streak to five, improve to 6-1 in their last seven games and officially make the DII state tournament in their first year in the division.

#5 Xavier @ #9 North Haven @ 730
-Again, here is another top ten match that will be a really good game and is probably being more overshadowed than it should be.  Xavier and N Haven battled in the first game of the season and X came out on top 1-0 with a goal in the final two minuets of the game.  Now, we have both teams searching for big wins for different reasons.  X needs to prove their #5 ranking as the teams around them keep picking up big wins and they are coming off a 1-1 tie with New Canaan in their last game.  In fact, the Falcons are 0-2-1 in their last three games, three of their last five games went to OT and they haven't played a game in almost two weeks (since Monday 1/16).  They will really need to focus on the game at end, playing their best, and capturing that one win they need to officially qualify for the DI state tournament.  North Haven has the talent to upset X, especially if X doesn't play their best, and a win would get them to .500, 6-6.  Despite coming off a 1-4 loss to Windsor/Farmington/Avon, you never know when N Haven will be on their A game.

New Canaan @ Greenwich @ 745
-Featuring this FCIAC game is more for NC than Greenwich as Greenwich is 2-10 and NC is 5-0-1 in their past six games.  A win gets the Rams into the DI state tournament, despite a 0-2 then 2-3 start, but what I am more interested in is the actual score because N only won 5-4 the last time these two teams played each other.

Bolton/Coventry/Lyman Memorial @ Rockville/Manchester/Stafford @ 750
-BCL gets themselves in the DIII state tournament with a win and the Rockville/Manchester/Stafford Rams are 3-7 this year but only lost to BCL 1-2 on Friday 1/13 so lets see who has improved more since then.

#10 Darien @ Norwalk/Brien McMahon @ 810
-Norwalk/Brien McMahon has only won two games all year so Darien should have no problem winning this FCIAC game and qualifying for the DI state tournament.  The Blue Wave started the season 0-2 then 1-3 losing to top teams in the state  but it must have helped get them ready for the season because they are on a six-game win streak since then.

Hall/Southington @ Newington/Berlin @ 830
-DIII game to watch here as Hall/Southingotn is 3-4-1 but has the talent to upset the only team in the DIII state tournament right now, 8-2 Newington/Berlin.

Boys' Hockey: Thursday and Friday's Results (1/26 adn 1/27)

All shutouts but there was still a lot of good hockey played.


Cheshire 0 @ #1 Fairfield Prep 5
-This game is exactly what Prep wanted to prepare for the Jesuit Tournament that they're going to in NJ this weekend.  IT was a solid win over a solid team that was competitive enough to make them better but comfortable enough that it won't put a strain on them playing again on Friday and Saturday.  Here is the box score:
1st period: FP - David White (Will Brophy) 14:45.  2nd period: FP - David White (AJ Unker) 3:57; David White (AJ Unker) 13:47.  3rd period: FP - Kevin Brown (Nick Bargiello) 1:36; David White (Matt Brophy) 3:46.
Saves: C - Tyler Carbone 40; FP - Chris Gutierrez 6.
Shots: C - 6; FP - 45.

New Canaan 4 @ Notre Dame-Fairfield 0
-Good win for NC by way of a solid offensive effort and an even better defensive one to shutout the Lancers; box score:
1st period: NC - Jake Granito (Tyler Manchuck, Dylan Hart) 14:31.  2nd period: NC - Harry Stanton (Brock Anderson) 14:29.  3rd period: NC - Harry Stanton 1:24; Dylan Hart (Spencer MAnchuck, Jake Granito) 6:48.
Saves: NC - Chris Koennecke 30; ND - Justin Krochko 27.
Shots: NC - 31; ND - 30.


#1 Fairfield Prep 2 @ Boston College High 0 @ Prudential Center (Newark, NJ)
-Great "upset" win for Prep here at the Jesuit Shootout played at the AmeriHealth Pavilion at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.  To start, both teams came out sluggish and I have to think that was because of how far both of these teams had to travel to get to Newark and the fact that these kids had school earlier in the day too.  BC High picked it up first and Riley Wikman made some good saves to pick up his team.  When BC is physical, it gives them the advantage but they didn't play physical that much.  Fairfield Prep's quickness allowed them to clear quickly (when they could take the puck from BC), shift right over to offense and get a few shots on goal.  Prep had some scoring chances around midway through the period when Evan Antisdale fed Connor Henry but the close-range shot was blocked and then a short while later when Henry hit the inside of the post but the puck did not ricochet into the net.  The Jesuits broke through with a goal at the 13:27 mark when AJ Unker's shot was "redirected" by David White and found its way past the goalie.  Really, it was a scrum goal where the puck was kind of bouncing in front of the goalie but he couldn't react in time react in time to knock it way or cover it up.  The puck wasn't moving quickly, like a normal redirect, but Prep got the goal nonetheless and Henry was credited with an assist on the play as well.  In response, BC played more aggressive, a little more physical and almost scored on a deflection and then a half open net because the goalie was down but the Eagles were no good on both, Prep cleared and the period ended.  BC had some other chances that they lost asa  result of poor puck control.
In the second, BC maintained a margin of more than twice the shots on goal that Prep had, until Chris LaLiberte was called for interference and Prep went on the power play 1:16 into the period.  On the PP, the Jesuits ran the same play three times where they took a shot from the blue line and had a perfect opportunity for a rebound goal but three times they could not get the puck on the rebound to put it home.  Henry had a one-on-one to the side of the net on the power play as well that he failed to convert and was visibly mad about afterwards.  Although they did not score, Prep almost caught all the way up in shots during those two minutes.  At the 4:35 mark, Kevin Brown tripped up a BC player and that sent the Eagles on their first power play.  However, again BC had more chances lost due to mishandling the puck; Prep also did a nice job o clear the puck a few times.  After the PP, the BC players started looking a little down and it just proliferated the lack of a physical game everyone was seeing.  Both teams were soft on their checks and the players were not looking to be that physical in any situation.  Unker started getting hot for Prep when he made a nice move to beat the defenders but his shot on the ice back across was just wide.  BC also became less physical and aggressive on face-offs and, as a result, lost a lot more of them late in the second.  Prep got increasingly more opportunities as a result as well and they nearly scored their second goal when Unker found White between two defensemen and the pass got him alone with the goalie.  He got a great shot but it was just a little too high and went over the crossbar.  #11 for BC High, Tom Besinger, was working hard at the end of the period but the score remained 1-0 FP with the shots on goal 23-20 in favor of BC.
There was a little bit of intensity from both sides to start the third period.  Two minutes and thirty-seven seconds in, FP's Kenny Kochiss hooked a BC player and the Eagles got their second power play opportunity.  Frankly, the BC defensemen aren't good at keeping the puck in the zone and that cost them a bit on this PP.  Their best opportunity was a 2-on-1 in front of the net but miscommunication on the centering pass ended that threat and the power play.  Back on the other end, Unker got the puck across in front of the net to Henry but BC goalie, Peter Cronin made a good play when he slid over in time and save the puck on this bang-bang play.  BC seemed to have no urgency, purpose or plan really.  They were always searching, never finding; always trying, never succeeding.  The Eagles didn't really ever think ahead and seemed to have a low hockey IQ, at least in this game.  An example would be when Bartley Regan made a nice move up ice to beat one defenseman but went along the boards and tried to shoot it from that angle, giving his shot a very low percentage of going in, even without a goalie in the way.  Again, AJ Unker started doing work for Prep and Cronin kept having to make good saves to stop him.  However, he broke through on an easy goal through Cronin's five-hole.  He just beat him I guess but it wasn't really a relatively fast or hard shot, especially not compared to even others that game.  Billy D'Amore and Connor Henry picked up assists on Prep's second and final goal, 10:44 into the third period.  BC must have been having one of their worst games of the year because they looked stagnant, almost like they didn't know what they were doing.  Also, they did a poor job adapting when things didn't go perfectly.  The ran this nice play in the last minute where they tricked all the Prep players as to where the puck was but the player with the puck, couldn't control it well enough to get a quality shot on the half open net.  Another example would be in the last twenty second when Besinger tripped on his own with the puck while the Eagles were 6-on-5 and trying to score.  Riley Wikman had a remarkable 38 saves to get the shutout, his fourth of the year and second in a row, while Cronin finished with 21 saves as shots still ended in favor of BC, 23-38.
So Prep got the huge win and faces the host, Saint Peter's Prep (from Jersey City, NJ) on Saturday at 2pm.  A larger general concern I have for the BC High Eagles is that they have size and speed but don't use their size to win pucks or work down their opponents or handle the puck well enough for their speed to be effective.  They play Canisuis High School from Canisuis, NY in the consolation game at noon on Saturday.  Good job by the Jesuits representing CT in the Jesuit shootout and hopefully they can win it on Saturday and make CT HS Hockey look even better!

Guilford 0 @ North Branford 2
-Great win for N Branford to move ahead of Guilford in the DII rankings and officially qualify for the DII state tournament in March!  Good defenses seemed to dominate this one as Nb's goalie, Kyle Saroca, picked up his second shutout in a row; check out the box score:
1st period: NB - Alec Martone (Chris Burkle) 2:32.  2nd period: NB - Kyle Deming (Sam Amendola) 1:42.
Saves: G - Chad Faulkner-Filosa 13; NB - Kyle Sarcoa 20.
Shots: G - 20; NB - 15.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Boys' Hockey: Thursday and Friday's Top Games (1/26 and 1/27)

As the end of the week and Janurary creep up on us, there are still some fairly meaningful games left for the "off-days" in h/s hockey.

Cheshire @ Fairfield Prep @ 330pm
-A make-up of a game from last Saturday and I will echo the same sentiment from that write-up.  Cheshire is still searching for that big DI win and I think coming off their 4-0 win over Guilford yesterday helps them in terms of momentum (mentally) but hurts them physically.  They will be looking to catch the Jesuits on an off day but Prep knows this game is now an important SCC-DI match up that will be reflected on both teams' conference records, the only means by which the conference champion is chosen at the end of the season.

New Canaan @ Notre Dame-Fairfield @ 6
-I woudl define this game as how high will NC rise and how low will ND-F fall.  I read a quote from an ND-F player saying last Thursday's 1-5 loss to #2 Hamden was a good thing because it meant they were moving on from Marty Roos' resignation but the team only has three wins and has struggled against the state's top four and only come within two goals of my other top ten teams.  ND-F has the same problem every year of being talented (they beat defending DIII champion, Watertown/Pomeraug) but playing almost every single one of the traditionally top teams from the SCC, CCC and FCIAC.  They are in the SWC but no one in the SWC is in DI (anymore) so they have no conference schedule obligations.  The Lancers are in need of every win they can get if they want to make the state tournament this year and show that they have truly moved on from Roos.  New Canaan beat ND 3-2 in OT a month ago on 12/27 and has only lost one game since.  In fact, the defending FCIAC champs are 6-1-1 since their 0-2 start and all three losses and their one tie have been against top ten teams.  So now they get another quality test to prove just how good they are yet again this year.


#1 Fairfield Prep vs Boston College High @ 530pm @ Prudential Center (Newark, NJ)
-BC High is arguably the #1 or #2 team in MA although I believe the Boston Globe Rankings have them at #4.  Prep is hands down the best team in our state and as the defending DI Champions, they can best represent our state at the Jesuit Shootout in Newark, NJ.   Saint Perer's Prep in Jersey City will be hosting this tournament at their home ice, the AmeriHealth Pavilion at the Prudential Center in NJ (where the NJ Devils play).  I think I'm going to take the PATH ride over to this one and hope to have a full write-up for those unable to attend.  Two powerhouses going at it is a simple recipe for good hockey that needs no hyping; both teams' reputations precede them.

Guilford @ North Branford @ 830
-This is a huge game in DII as Guilford is 7-2 and N Branford is 7-4.  Therefore, not only is this game a battle between two of the divisions top programs but the winner also will officially qualify for the DII state tournament, becoming only the second team to do so.