The last time Milford played a postseason boys hockey game was 2015. That will change in two weeks.
Milford’s 8-0 win Monday night over Shepaug put the Indians into the SCC/SWC Division III tournament. It’s their first conference tournament berth since the 2012 SCC Division II tournament. At 5-11, they have some work to do to secure their first CIAC tournament bid since the 2015 Division II tournament, but it’s in sight.
“We needed this win,” senior co-captain Rich Carino said. “It helps us in the state picture, too. It’s a crucial win.”
The Indians had lost seven of eight, but they haven’t been uncompetitive. Early in the year, they lost 5-2 to Division II Hand, which is ranked No. 10 in the GameTimeCT poll this week, and they lost 2-0 to Newington, which is among Division III’s top teams.
“Last year it was just kind of teach them how to play the game. They figured it out toward the end. We finished a lot stronger,” second-year Milford coach Ken Mitchell said; Milford went 4-16 last season, when it moved to Division III.
“This year, they need to learn how to win. They need that hunger. We gave up a lot of leads in games this year.”
New Milford comes to Milford on Thursday afternoon; the winner will be the second seed in the SCC/SWC tournament and the loser will be third. New Milford takes second if they tie. Sheehan, the two-time defending league champion, went undefeated in league play and is the top seed. Newtown, 7-2 in its past nine, will be the fourth seed. The semifinals are March 4 at Milford Ice Arena, and the final is two nights later at Bennett Rink in West Haven.
Both Mitchell and Carino pointed to junior forward Kyle Kosh as a player who took steps forward this year. Mitchell said senior Jack Chizmazia started this year on the fourth line but has worked his way up the depth chart.
“It’s a good mix of young and old,” Mitchell said. “We have some kids who came in this year who played right away. Our defensemen are a year older; they’re sophomores this year.”
We’re getting close to knowing the other two SCC/SWC tournament fields, too.
Fairfield Prep and Notre Dame-West Haven have secured a third meeting: They’ll play the SCC/SWC Division I championship game on March 6 at Bennett Rink at 6 p.m. (The joys of a late Thanksgiving.) That matchup was locked in Saturday night when Notre Dame-Fairfield tied Immaculate.
Hand and Branford clinched Division II spots with the Hornets’ win Monday over Guilford. North Haven is a point away from clinching. East Haven-LHK on Saturday may determine the fourth spot, though that’s LHK’s last league game and East Haven has four remaining. The semifinals are March 5, and the final is two nights later, all in West Haven.
FLIP ’EM OVER
The FCIAC could come down to a three-way tie for first place, unresolvable head-to-head. That would, league commissioner Dave Schulz confirmed, leave seeding up to coin flips.
Greenwich beat Darien in league play and lost to New Canaan. The Rams lost to Darien. Greenwich and New Canaan have two league games remaining. Darien has three, including Friday’s home game against Ridgefield. If all three win out, they’d all be 10-1 in the league and 1-1 head-to-head. The top two seeds get byes into the semifinals.
There is lots of hockey to be played before that’s set in stone, though. Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien and Ridgefield have all clinched spots in the six-team tournament, which begins a week from Saturday. Fairfield, Westhill/Stamford, Trumbull and St. Joseph are all in the mix for the final two spots.
Fairfield and Greenwich had to flip for the fifth and sixth seeds last year after they tied in the regular season.
ON THE BOARD
Joe Carbone and Ryan Michonski had three goals and an assist apiece as North Branford won its first game, beating Amity 6-5 in overtime on Feb. 12. Dakota Cooper had three assists.
NOT ALL OF THEM MONDAY
After a somewhat bizarre game at Northford Ice Pavilion — the teams combined for nine third-period goals, four of them Guilford’s, in Branford’s 12-4 win — defenseman Chris Donadio made sure to note that teammate Jack Manware had scored his 100th point. The Hornets forward got there with a 10-point game, four goals and six assists, according to the gamesheet.
Danny Farricielli scored four goals and two assists, and four other Hornets had three points.
The No. 8 Hornets, who lost at WMRP in overtime on Saturday night, close the regular season with North Haven on Wednesday and East Haven and Hand next week; those three could be the teams that join them in the SCC/SWC tournament.
Darien players spent part of Tuesday helping out at the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County.
Blue Wave Hockey giving back to our community today by sorting, restocking and packing food items at @FoodBankLFC. This amazing organization raises awareness and promotes action to help feed almost 200,000 of our neighbors in lower Fairfield County. pic.twitter.com/456Fgmbcj9
— DHS Boys Ice Hockey (@bluewavepuck) February 18, 2020
TWEET OF THE WEEK
A little late for the holiday, but check out @BBD_Hockey’s set of IceCat-themed Valentine’s Day cards.
— BBD ICECATS HOCKEY (@BBD_Hockey) February 14, 2020