It’s league championship season in Connecticut boys ice hockey, with the FCIAC and Nutmeg league tournaments already underway while the CCC and SCC/SWC begin theirs this week. There are also state tournament pairings that will be out by week’s end.
Fairfield Prep, Xavier and Greenwich posted impressive victories this week, which has enabled the three to each move up a spot in this week’s GameTimeCT Top 10 hockey poll.
Fairfield Prep parked into the No. 3 spot, all alone this time, thanks to a 6-3 victory over Hamden. Xavier moved up from No. 8 to No. 7 by knocking off previous No. 3 Northwest Catholic, 4-1. Greenwich’s 3-2 victory over No. 6 New Canaan in the FCIAC play-in round lifted the Cardinals from No. 10 to No. 9.
Unbeaten Ridgefield and 16-4 Darien remained the Nos. 1 and 2-ranked teams, respectively.
|TEAM (1st place votes)||REC||PTS||LAST||DIV|
|1. RIDGEFIELD (14)||20-0-0||140||1||I|
|Results last week: did not play.
Bottom Line: The Tigers are two wins away from their third straight FCIAC championship, which hasn't been done since New Canaan won four in a row, 1996-99.
|Results last week: def. Notre Dame-West Haven 7-3.
Bottom Line: Darien hasn't been in an FCIAC final since it won in 2015. That year ended with a state title, too. The seeds set up two potential finals against Ridgefield in the next three weeks.
|3. FAIRFIELD PREP||11-8-1||107||4||I|
|Results last week: tied Catholic Memorial (Mass.) 1-1, def. Hamden 6-3.
Bottom Line: The Jesuits could blow up that final possible Darien-Ridgefield rematch, potentially meet the Tigers for a third time in the state semis. In the meantime, they'll look for their fourth SCC/SWC Division I title since the rebirth of the title game in 2013.
|Results last week: lost to Xavier 4-1, def. East Catholic 2-0, def. Farmington Valley 7-2.
Bottom Line: The Lions are also in the way of that Tigers-Blue Wave rematch. They'll be the No. 2 seed in the CIAC tournament, and they'll be the CCC North's top seed (they've won the last two titles).
|Results last week: lost to Fairfield Prep 6-3, def. West Haven 6-4.
Bottom Line: In Fairfield Prep's way in both the SCC final and possibly the CIAC tournament: the Dragons. They'll see the Jesuits in the state quarters if the chalk holds. First, though, NFI on Wednesday to close the regular season first.
|6. NEW CANAAN||13-7-1||65||6||I|
|Results last week: lost to Greenwich 3-2 (FCIAC quarterfinal).
Bottom Line: The Rams finished the regular season on a 6-0-1 run in which they were 2-0-1 against Division I foes. That streak ended in Game 21, but it looks as if they'll see the Cardinals again in the CIAC playoffs; it'd be the teams' fourth meeting.
|Results last week: def. Northwest Catholic 4-1, def. West Haven 4-3 (OT).
Bottom Line: The Falcons started 1-7 and finished 7-3-2 against a schedule with no slouches. They had wins against this week's Nos. 4, 9 and 10 teams and a tie with No. 6.
|8. NOTRE DAME-|
|Results last week: lost to Darien 7-3, def. NFI 5-1.
Bottom Line: This was, from Day 1, a team that was hoping to grow together and have some things down by the end of the season. The end of the regular season came Tuesday against Notre Dame-Fairfield. On toward their ultimate goal.
|Results last week: def. New Canaan 3-2 (FCIAC quarterfinal)
Bottom Line: After scuffling through midseason, the Cardinals have produced a couple of big wins to get back into the conversation. Their FCIAC semifinal opponent is Darien, with whom it split in the regular season.
|Results last week: def. Amity 5-3.
Bottom Line: Securing the top seed in the CIAC Division II tournament over Guilford by a tiebreaker (15 wins to 14), it'll be the second seed in the SCC/SWC tournament, drawing a Cheshire team that's 10-1-1 in the past 12.
|Dropped out: None.
First-place votes in parentheses and points tabulated on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.
Records through Tuesday, Feb. 26.
|Others receiving votes: West Haven (10-10) 4, Branford (14-3-3) 1, Simsbury (7-11-2) 1.|
|The following voted: Media: Media: Sean Begin, Hartford Courant; Luke Devoe, CTHSHockey.org; Michael Fornabaio, Connecticut Post; Tim Jensen, Patch Media Corp.; Greg Lederer, Cheshire Herald; Mike Madera, Elm City Newspapers; Dan Nowak, New Haven Register; Pete Paguaga, Hearst Connecticut Media; Jim Stout, MaxPreps.com; Peter Vander Veer, HAN Network. Coaches: Ken Barse, Glastonbury; Shaun Gallagher, Ridgefield; Matt Sather, Fairfield Prep; Larry Vieira, Notre Dame-West Haven.|