The Xavier boys hockey team has a long history of success.
That trend continues in the 2017-18 season as the Falcons enter their game Wednesday at New Fairfield/Immaculate (Winter Ice Garden, Danbury, 6:40 p.m.) with a 12-5 record, including 10-3 since Jan. 3 and 4-1 in their last five games.
Xavier coach Dan Deconti said the recent success has been “good” but believes the team has been doing very well the past month.
“I wouldn’t say that we have had recent success in our last five games,” Deconti said. “I would say that we have been playing pretty good hockey since the beginning of January. If you take away the month of December, where we were still figuring things out as a team and seeing who was going to replace the players we lost from last year, we’ve actually had a good run.
“We lost to ND-West Haven 1-0 (Jan. 13) where I had four kids out with the flu and another out due to injury. We were leading Fairfield Prep but couldn’t close it out (3-2 loss Jan. 24) and then the LaSalle Academy (R.I.) team was a very good team (2-1 loss Feb. 3).
Deconti believes their success comes from team work.
“These guys are on the same page, they listen to each other about in-game changes and they don’t let their egos get in the way,” Deconti said. “Everyone is committed to getting better every single day. Our practices have been high tempo and competitive.
“Lastly, my leadership group is outstanding. They have taken the underclassmen and pushed them to play at a high level. But they support them in the process.”
The top players on offense for Xavier have been Aden Hotchkiss (18 goals, 11 assists), Tony DiPreta (16 goals, 10 assists) and Chase Maxwell (10 goals, six assists).
Big win for @Xavier_Hockey over @NDWH_Hockey . Really good game and these two teams will play again in the tournament next month. @athleticsXHS @GameTimeCT @DaveEustis @CTHSHockey #cthk pic.twitter.com/IFqdyc2cZ1
— Erik Dobratz (@Erikd25) February 12, 2018
“In net Tyler Beaulieu has been outstanding and made some huge saves for us that allowed us to compete and have success,” Deconti said. “Defensively, Luke Lappe and Joel Hotchkiss have been very strong for me.”
Deconti believes in a one-game-at-a-time, one practice-at-a-time coaching philosophy.
“My message to the team is that past success does not dictate future performance,” Deconti said. “I wouldn’t say that this success gives us momentum heading into playoffs. We still need to compete every day in practice and in the games.
“Given the success we’ve had, no one is going to take us lightly and we know that whoever we face going forward will give us their best game. I will say that with the adversity that we have battled through (sickness, injury, come-from-behind wins) our team should have the confidence to know that no matter what happens in the game, they are never out of it.”
No. 1 vs. No. 2
As Fairfield Prep coach Matt Sather approaches 300 career wins, the No. 1 Jesuits host No. 2 Ridgefield Wednesday at the Wonderland of Ice in Bridgeport at 6 p.m. On Dec. 16, Prep defeated Ridgefield 6-1.
Sather enters the game with a 298-118-18 career record.
“I think you can throw out the game earlier in the season, no one is the same team they were in December,” Sather said. “ Ridgefield has been the most consistent team over the last two months and I expect them to play really well. We always love to play at home in front of our fans. Their emotion always gives us a bit of a lift.”
video via Erik Dobratz, WTNH