TAKE A TIMEOUT
The CHSGHA is following the CIAC’s guidance for COVID protocols, and one of the changes which will impact game flow is the mask break. With players and coaches required to wear masks, one-minute breaks are called for during the first stoppage of play after the four-, eight-, and 12-minute marks of each period. A necessary result of the protocols, the breaks could also help teams which may skate fewer lines or have less depth than their opponent, or give teams that are under fire a bit of a rest to regroup.
IN THE FAMILY
With schools limiting team travel during the pandemic, the entire slate of games this season will be in conference. While it means we’ll miss out on interesting cross-conference match-ups such as Simsbury-Darien, New Canaan-West Haven/SHA, or Greenwich-ETB, it also means rivalry games will be more plentiful.
As in other sports during the fall and winter seasons, every team will qualify for the league playoffs. The FCIAC is expanding its playoffs from four to eight teams, the SCC from six to seven teams, and the CCC from four to six teams. The expansion for this year could possibly lead to a major upset or two, as lower seeds match up with top contenders in the first round. Everybody loves an underdog.
WASH, RINSE, REPEAT
Darien and New Canaan have traditionally scheduled two clashes with each other each season, and will end up squaring off even more despite fewer overall games this winter. Teams were allowed 12 game slots, but the two powers had only only nine games scheduled as of last week. Seven of those were official FCIAC games, and the two teams were each scheduled to face Greenwich, as well as each other, a second time. Unable to find other league teams to play, a third Wave-Rams battle was added and the teams will meet on Feb. 13, March 6 and March 9. A fourth head-to-head battle could also be on deck for the postseason.
Of the 21 CHSGHA teams which will play this season, nearly a quarter will feature new head coaches. Two of those are in the CCC, where Dave Olechna takes over Simsbury for Paul Melanson, and Mike Downs takes over the Suffield co-op for Joe Gozzi. In the SCC, Jessica Morgillo now leads Hamden, taking over for Michael Callan, and Alexandra D’Aurio will coach the Milford co-op, taking over Kerri Rowland, who coached the team when it was based out of Notre Dame-Fairfield. In the FCIAC, Frank Oakes is now coaching for Ridgefield, replacing Lauren Lubrano.