Take a little scheduling crunch, add the playoffs, and Hall/Southington could pack six boys hockey games into 10 days as the playoffs begin.
The Warrior Knights played Saturday and Monday and play Wednesday, the state’s last regular-season game. They’ll meet Newington in the CCC South Division semifinals on Thursday, and if they win, it’s off to Storrs for the final on Saturday.
And they’ll have a home game this coming Monday to start the state tournament, opponent to be determined by Wednesday’s game.
Hall/Southington was a bit banged up already, missing defenseman Cam Perez among others, going into Monday.
“We had a guy or two out of the lineup, but it’s no excuse,” coach Brian Cannon said after Monday’s 2-1 loss at McMahon/Norwalk, “and I think unfortunately I think we just lost our big goal scorer in the first period.”
That’s junior forward Sean Roach, who took an awkward hit early in the game that left him with an arm injury that was to be evaluated.
Cody Brew stepped up on defense for the Warrior Knights, scoring their goal Monday. They’ve had big contributions from a lot of players over the year, with a deep lineup backstopped by junior Noah Behrens-Gould.
The end of the regular season includes a couple of long bus trips on top of the busy schedule. They went to Norwalk on Monday, and they’ll go to Danbury on Wednesday to meet JBWA.
Then it’s back closer to home to face the Newington co-op on Thursday in the playoffs.
“It can easily go either way, and it doesn’t take a whole lot to sway it. Us and Newington, it’s always anybody’s game. We’ll see what happens.”
The Warrior Knights still don’t know who they’ll play on Monday: Seeds 13-15 in Division III will be set by Wednesday’s Hall/Southington visit to JBWA. If JBWA wins, Hall/Southington faces Staples. If not, it’s the Housatonic co-op.
The CIAC will release the official pairings and schedule on Friday. Play begins Monday in Divisions II and III, then Tuesday in Division I.
GET MAX BACK
There is just one team in the state unbeaten within its CIAC division. McMahon/Norwalk finished that job Monday night with that 2-1 win over Hall/Southington. It was 10-0-1 (an early 4-4 tie against New Milford) within Division III.
And goalie Max Vitucci is back at what looked like full strength, making 26 saves Monday night. He missed about three weeks with a dislocated shoulder.
“It was tough not being able to play, watching the team go up against hard competition. It felt good to get back,” Vitucci said. “It was important that I took the time off, because states was more important to us.”
This was his second game back. He’d returned with a two-period stint
“There was a little rust,” he said, giving the shoulder a little stretch, “but it’s feeling good now. For the most part, it’s 100 percent.”
His team was 2-17-1 last year, but Monday’s win made it 11-8-1. That secured the program’s first winning season in 14 years, since it reached the first-ever Division III semifinals in 2006 and finished 13-10-1.
“I think (Monday’s win) put our program on the map,” coach Scott Raymond said.
“We’re starting to get healthy from being sick. We don’t get a chance to play a lot of those teams up north, so it was kind of nice to see them before the playoffs. … It was a fun game. Respect, all respect for those guys.”
Raymond noted that Jeb Boyrer reached 100 points with his second goal in the win. With a couple of players out and the lineup shifted around, Boyrer moved back to defense for the night.
‘LOT’ OF THAT GOING AROUND
Trumbull and Lyman Hall/H-K/Coginchaug both went 10-9-1 this season, and both earned 48 CIAC points for those victories and those ties, leaving them unofficially tied for the 10th seed in Division II. If that holds, the spot goes to Trumbull by lot: The CIAC assigns each team a random number, and Trumbull’s was higher than LHK’s.
This is the first time the by-lot tiebreaker was needed since 2015 and only the fifth since 2005-06, the year the tournament went to three divisions and introduced the playoff point system.
That system credits a team with points for its wins and ties (for example, six points for beating a Division I team, four for a D-II team and two for a D-III team), with bonus points if those vanquished-or-tied teams finish their schedule at .400. Those points rank the teams that qualify for the state tournaments.
The first tiebreaker is wins, then (if it’s a tie between two teams only) the season series between the two teams, then total wins and ties. If those can’t solve the deadlock, it comes down to luck.
The chance tiebreaker nearly happened twice this year. Had McMahon/Norwalk lost on Monday, it would’ve been tied with Enfield/East Granby/Stafford at 10-9-1 and 26 points, taking the seventh seed in Division III by lot. Its win Monday left the seventh spot clear.
This comes after the FCIAC determined its top three seeds by lot.
The Eastern Connecticut Eagles’ Will Cannella hit the mark. Stonington’s boys soccer Twitter account sent its congratulations, noting that Cannella is a state champion “as an Eagle” (2018 Division III hockey) and a Bear (2019 Class M soccer).”
Senior Will Cannella earned his 100th career point in hockey on in a 6-0 win Sat.
Will had 2G/2A to hit 100 points.
He has 45G & 55A plus state titles as an Eagle & as a Bear!).
Oh & he is a Stonington Scholar-in the top 10% of the class of 2020. pic.twitter.com/S5t0bViDtH
— Stonington High School Boys Soccer (@StonBoysSoccer) March 2, 2020
Evan Tower has reached 150 points for the Eagles.
Colleague Rich DePreta was on hand Monday as the Crusaders played their final home game, retiring the No. 24 worn by 1997 graduate and Navy SEAL Brian Bill.