Second-ranked Fairfield Prep cruises past No. 5 West Haven

BRIDGEPORT — Kenneth Kochiss and his fellow senior linemates have played together for three years building chemistry — and it was on display Wednesday night at the Wonderland of Ice.

The line of Kochiss, Matt Wikman and Dean Lockery put on an offensive show, combining for 13 points, in an 8-2 victory over West Haven.

“We have played together for three years,” Kochiss said after finishing with one goal and four assists. “We have a lot of chemistry. We know where we are going to be.”

The Jesuits, ranked second in the New Haven Register Top 10 poll, trailed 2-1 after one period before responding with seven unanswered goals, including four in the second period, to close the game.

Trailing 2-1, the Jesuits (6-2-1) wasted no time setting the tone for the rest of the game.

After controlling play in the first period but trailing by a goal, the Jesuits needed only 1 minute, 33 seconds of the second period to steal the momentum.

Positioned to the side of the net, Lockery took a quick shot that slipped past West Haven goaltender Mike Savino to even the game at 2.

Wikman, who along with Kochiss assisted on Lockery’s second goal, started a run of three goals in 3:01 for the Jesuits to put the game away early.

After Wikman gave Prep a 3-2 lead, Brandon Powell scored from in front 1:01 later for a 4-2 lead. Exactly 1 minute later, Kochiss and Jack Quinn set up Wikman in front for a 5-2 advantage.

“We started to move the puck a little better and win the races,” Fairfield Prep coach Matt Sather said. “We got a couple of good breaks and capitalized on them.”

The Westies (5-3) were thoroughly outplayed in the second period and were fortunate to go to the intermission trailing by just three goals.

“We stopped moving our feet,” West Haven coach Joe Morrell said. “We can’t rely on skill. We have to rely on our ability to keep moving and compete.”

West Haven, ranked fifth in the Register poll, started the third period on a power play and had numerous scoring opportunities early.

Devin Hines’ blast from the point was stopped by Prep goaltender Matt Beck, before Beck denied Peter Lynn in front and a rebound by Matt Kelly seconds later.

West Haven’s best opportunity of the period came just 1:31 in when Hines raced to the slot and fired a shot that Beck turned away.

The Jesuits ended any thoughts of a West Haven comeback with three power-play goals in the final period.

John Hoey set up Justin Blanchette’s power-play goal with 10 minutes remaining, Kochiss scored off assists from Lockery and William Overby 1:55 later and Ryan Deering completed the trifecta with 1:53 remaining.

“I thought we moved the puck well on the power play,” Sather said of his team’s four power-play goals. “We capitalized on a few opportunities.”

The Jesuits started the scoring when Lockery was positioned perfectly on an angle to the net and snapped a shot past Savino for a power-play goal 4:20 into the contest.

The Westies, despite doing plenty of chasing, evened the game with 8:29 remaining in the opening period when Wyatt Condon scored off an assist from Jaeson Puleo.

After Savino denied Wikman in front, Michael Ventricelli in close and a Jack McGowen blast from the right faceoff circle, Peter Lynn tipped in Alex Scranton’s point shot to give West Haven a 2-1 lead after one period of play.

Lockery and Wikman each finished with two goals and two assists, while Overby had two assists.

Beck made 20 saves for the Jesuits, while Savino and Joseph Bepko combined for 32 saves. Bepko stopped seven of eight shots in relief of Savino.

Fairfield Prep 8, West Haven 2
(at Bridgeport)
West Haven    2    0    0    —    2
Fairfield Prep    1    4    3    —    8
First period—FP: Dean Lockery  (Matt  Wikman, Kenny  Kochiss) 4:20; WH: Wyatt Condon  (Jaeson Puleo) 6:31; Peter Lynn  (Alex Scranton, Matt Kelly) 13:26; Second period—FP: Dean Lockery  (Matt  Wikman, Kenny  Kochiss) 1:33; Matt  Wikman  (Kenny  Kochiss, Dean Lockery) 5:32; Mike Ventricelli 6:33; Matt  Wikman  (Jack Quinn, Kenny  Kochiss) 8:33; Third period—FP: Justin Blanchette  (Jack Hoey, Mike Ventricelli) 5:00; Kenny  Kochiss  (Billy Overby, Dean Lockery) 6:55; Ryan Deering  (Billy Overby, Burke Smith) 13:07; Shots—WH: 20; FP: 38; Saves—FP: Matt Beck 18; WH: Mike Savino 23; Joe Bebko 7;
Records—Fairfield Prep 6-2-1; West Haven 5-3


  1. DT16 says

    I was at the game and it wasnt even close. It may have been 2-1 WH after one period but they were dominated all game long. They scored their 2 goals on 4 shots in the first and there is no way they have 20 for the game. They were lucky to have 15 shots. WH is not very good, except for the goaltender who played well despite the score.

    • says

      Playing a team like Fairfield prep is loke playing on a unlevel playing field. How do you compete against these private schools who can recruit top players from alll over the state. Maybe they should be in a all in a league where it’s more even. Give teams like West Haven, and Hamden a better chance to win a state championship. I cant see it being exciting for a team like Prep to win games against West Haven. Like watching the superbowl with the same team winning all the time, just not exciting!!!

      • FP Alum says

        When will the sore losers some harping about recruiting? ND and Prep do not recruit. Period.

        They don’t have to recruit. Good players gravitate to successful programs. Who wouldn’t? Some actually go back to public school when they don’t make the team.

        Please spare us all and stop with the untrue accusations of recruiting.

        • Fairplay says

          Notre Dame places advertisements all over the New Haven Metropolitan area on billboards and in news publications advertising their storied sports programs as a reason to consider making ND your school choice. If this is not recruiting what is? thank you for proving a point. After private schools hand pick top players to field their teams the left overs then may have the option to go back to their home town schools.

          • Reality Check says

            No. Recruiting is a coach going to a player and offering something (automatic admission, scholarship, guarantees spot on the team etc.). Billboards are merely advertising which all private schools need to do.

      • Reality Check says

        Get rid of the good teams so your precious bundle of joy has a better shot at the state title. Attitudes like that are the reason we give kids “participation medals” for everything. The sooner kids learn that there are winners and losers…the sooner they will be competitive and successful in real life!

        • Fairplay says

          I don’t see where anyone said get rid of any team. A team should be in a division that matches their ability and other criteria . F prep and other private schools should be moved to The prep school league. I also suggest it is a short coming of CCIA rules governing the expanse and size of the pool of possible candidates available to any particular school. As I understand East Haven is a team which was moved up and they than ask to go back a division and were not allowed. F Prep and other private schools benefit from this expansive pool of players from which they can draw . F Prep on their own web site states the school attracts students from 51 towns. Public schools can.t do that. I did not see where the blogger said anything about rewarding every team with a trophy to create mediocrity. I agree playing against superior talent is a good life lesson. Teams have played against teams from higher divisions for a long time. I don’t see expecting kids to learn anything positive or of a “life lesson” in a arena where the playing field is so skewed as uneven. This breeds animosity, defeatism , and a rather a negative view on what life and its ways may have to offer.

  2. pj russo says

    I was there too. Prep was at a different skill level, much higher, but the Prep parents are PAYING for it with much higher tuitions than public schools. Does this sound like PRO sports, well….it is, in a way. Be careful what you say these days!

  3. chris scranton says

    networking…recruiting…the fact is these schools harbor no borders ( district lines) like their leaugue public school counterparts…jeesh look at the statistics…it s not a sore loser mentality, it s a satistical fact. There s a unlevel playing field which is inherent in the rules. This is why the the private schools are able to “build” dynasty programs. The success of a private program is by the talent level of a peticular class, i.e. Hamden’s 2 year run, Glastonbury making the finals for a season. This is not a sore loser mentality, we have a ton of pride for our kids and program…when you “compete” with kids from 13 streets in a town against kids from 13 towns from a s just a different level..should be a different division. In some sports, especially a sport like hockey this playing field tilts to a point where it becomes unfair to the kids. Playing a team from a higher division is fine…having a have a “miricle” when facing a team thats a couple of poll spots ahead of you speaks volumes to this position. A poster commented that W.Haven is just not that good…I d say that the more acurate statement would be..that F.Prep is at higher level then its public school counterparts..i.e. statics vs public schools over better then a decade.

  4. Hockey Fan says

    High school hockey in CT overall just isnt what it once was. Kids looking to play at te next level (college or beyond) are leaving high school behind and going the prep school or junior ranks route. Ultimately, that just leaves less talent at the high school level.

    • Fairplay says

      A true point Hockey Fan. That is why public high schools should be in their own division. The top talent is being drawn out and there is no way rules can change a modern trend like this. the only answer is a separate division.

    • Fairplay says

      That could be the answer. But this begs the question? What will the private school solution be when all the public school avalanche to a division down. The CIAC is scared to death that will happen. The solution is the private school can continue and expand in the interstate league they already put so many games and pride in. F Prep boasts on its own web site their pride in their being a National Regional Hockey powerhouse. No where do they brag about being the top in Ct.

  5. DT16 says

    The problem is that there are not enough private schools to create their own division or league in hockey. You have Prep, ND-WH, ND-Flf, Trinity Catholic, Immaculate, Xavier, East Catholic, Northwest Catholic, St Bernard’s, St Joe’s. A few ot them that were mentioned are co-ops so what do you do there. It just isnt feasible to create a separate division.

    • JDP says

      DT16, many have proposed that the Fairfield Prep’s and NDWH’s join the ranks of the Prep League with Choate, Gunnery, and such. You know, the schools that actually can recruit, and do with players from Canada and Europe.

      Your point is right on, there is no where for them to go. So they play in the top division they can as members of the CIAC.

      As far as the comment by someone else about East Haven asking to drop down to division 2 and being denied, maybe they should try playing a D1 schedule on occasion instead of feasting on D2 and D3 teams to qualify for states each year, and maybe they would be dropped to D2.

      • MPT says

        This is the best thing I’ve ever read in there emotionally charges posts on this topic. You are spot on about the boarding schools (who also play post-graduate students). I guess the parents in Hamden and the Havens won’t be happy unless there is an elite division with just 4 schools.

    • Fairplay says

      DT 16 Thanks for answering the question. F Prep loads it rooster with out of state games all season. They brag about their program at the National Regional level on their web site. Thank you for adding even more teams to their league. To JDP The irony in your statement is F Prep has the same thing happening to them as they do to public school teams. They have students recruited out of their program. Anybody who has proposed to you private high schools can join the prep school league do not have the facts. They can’t petition or ask to be in. The Prep school leagues will not allow private high schools in . They are not one in the same. You will have to investigate the particular reasons. I believe it may have to do with having college age students amongst other reasons. Your point that there is no where to go is well taken. My point . Create a new division for private schools who can network, recruit, advertise .what ever you want to call it can go. The fact is many public schools are having trouble fielding teams. Do you see the dozens and as I have been told near a hundred of candidates that some private schools try out and than turn away.

      • JDP says

        Fairplay, my comments were with a hint of sarcasm as the private schools aren’t going to the prep school league.

        By calling for a special “private school only league, what you really mean, is Prep, NDWH, ND-FFLD and Xavier need to form their own 2-4 team division, as they are the only private schools who are ever really good on a consistent basis. And Xavier being thrown in there was a stretch. Those teams already play in the top division. The state is not big enough to do what New Jersey does. Maybe something similar to what Massachusetts does with their Super 8 tournament, but you would still be combining public and private if that were the case.

  6. chris scranton says

    I agree F Prep, ND and the like playing in the founders league would be an unlevel playing surface much like the district bound publics playing the same division as the privates. I would suggest that the privates have their own division, lets call it the (elite dividion) 1.) Take F Prep..they already play 9 out of state games that coupled with say 2 vs each NDs, Xavier, St. Joes, and a couple of games against various Publics (from the lower current Division 1 and they will still have a full schedule. The point being They could still have Elite Division state play-off (you dont need a 16 team field where them playing the current system #8-16 is typically an easy out (making the other team in effect a sacrificial lamb) eventually perhaps they could combined play-offs with the La Salle, Mt. St Charles, e.t.c. that they already compete against year in and out. I think this is one realistic solution to an obvious issue. F Preps own hockey web site boasts of playing the best competion they can find in the northeast, I think forming an elite private league would strenghten that goal. I dont believe the goal of public school members is this lofty..they dont have the resourse of players in their district to do so.

    • in response says

      Question, if the public schools like Hamden, Darien, Ridgefield are complaining so much, why do they agree to play the private schools twice a year? Hamden plays both NDWH and Prep twice a year, but the SCC only requires one game each season. West Haven plays ND-Ffld twice this year.

      And Prep plays 7 out of state games, not 9 based on their posted schedule. Hamden has 5 out of state games, which is more than the 2 NDWH will play. And as far as playing the 8-16 being an easy out, you haven’t paid much attention the last few years have you? Darien played Prep tough within the last few years, and East Haven taking NDWH to overtime last year.

      And all of these schools belong to the CIAC, so you aren’t going to see a crossover “state champion” with La Salle and MSC. Just not going to happen. It seems that the better public schools want to play the better competition, and want to continue to play their rivals. It is the teams like East Haven that seem to have the biggest issue, where they schedule most of their games against lower divisions, then complain when they are not fully prepared come tournament time.

      The fact of the matter is most of the private schools already play in the “elite” division you speak of, and it is called division 1. Life is never perfect, and neither will the layout for CT high school hockey.

  7. Casual Observer says

    People. Please to whining.

    I laugh going to school with gyms full of banners “bragging” about league titles, or worse, divisional titles. All you guys want is for your little darlings or alma maters to win titles. You are just jealous of the private schools success. It is an extension of the ‘little league’ syndrome…give everyone a trophy and make them feel special.

    You all can start ripping this post now! I can take it 😉

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