As a few teams reach the midpoint of their season, this looks like one of those fun years where no boys hockey team is safe, where no one will run away with Division I, where any game is up for grabs on any given night.
They’re fun, that is, unless you’ve got to try to pick a top 10. Spare us a thought on Monday nights as we vote on the GameTimeCT Top 10 boys hockey poll.
Greenwich’s 3-2 win at Darien on Monday night on Ivan Kovalev’s goal in overtime changed a few minds about who should be No. 1 this week, but not enough to take the Blue Wave out of the top spot after their 5-2 win over the previous No. 1, Notre Dame-West Haven, on Saturday.
— CT HS Hockey (@CTHSHockey) January 14, 2020
The Green Knights fall to No. 2, one spot ahead of Fairfield Prep, but all three teams received first-place votes. We’ve taken three polls this season, and each has led the pack once.
The Cardinals re-enter the top 10 at No. 7, behind Xavier, New Canaan and Ridgefield. Notre Dame-Fairfield, which has stayed competitive with thin numbers, is No. 8.
Hamden hangs in at No. 9, down two spots, one ahead of Branford, down one spot.
Hand and WMRP of Division II, the state’s last remaining unbeaten and untied teams, also received votes, as did Simsbury and Northwest Catholic.
The GameTimeCT Boys Hockey Top 10 Poll (Jan 14)
|TEAM (1st place votes)||REC||PTS||LAST||DIV|
|1. DARIEN (5)||4-2||125||3||I|
|Last Week: def. Notre Dame-West Haven 5-2; lost to Greenwich 3-2 (OT).
This Week: Saturday vs. Fairfield Prep (Darien Ice House), 3:50 p.m.
The Bottom Line: The Blue Wave drew a bunch of power plays on Saturday, then outshot Greenwich on Monday. It split the games. Good showdown coming Saturday.
|2. NOTRE DAME-|
|Last Week: def. Greenwich 3-1; lost to Darien 5-2.
This Week: Wednesday at Xavier (Wesleyan), 6 p.m.; Saturday vs. Bishop Fenwick (Mass.) (Bennett), 2:45 p.m.
The Bottom Line: The Green Knights have a while to wait for a rematch with Darien, Feb.17. That'll be at Bennett Rink, like the other six of their last seven scheduled games. Saturday will be their first game at Bennett this year.
|3. FAIRFIELD PREP (5)||3-2-1||117||2||I|
|Last Week: Tied Notre Dame-Fairfield 3-3.
This Week: Wednesday vs. West Haven (Wonderland), 6 p.m.; Saturday at Darien (Darien Ice House), 3:50 p.m.; Sunday at Mount Saint Charles (R.I.) (Dunkin' Donuts Center), 5:30 p.m.
The Bottom Line: No Division I team will go unbeaten this year, but do you know which Division I team is still unbeaten against state competition, heading into the meat of its schedule? 'Course you do.
|Last Week: def. St. Joseph 6-0; def. Smithfield (R.I.) 5-4 (OT).
This Week: Wednesday vs. Notre Dame-West Haven (Wesleyan), 6 p.m.; Saturday at Northwest Catholic (ISCC), 8:20 p.m.
The Bottom Line: Condolences to standout forward Aden Hotchkiss and his family, who lost Aden's father, Paul, to cancer on Thursday. Aden played Saturday and had four points in the win.
|5. NEW CANAAN||6-1||87||6||I|
|Last Week: def. Staples 6-1; def. Northwest Catholic 5-1.
This Week: Thursday at St. Joseph (Shelton), 4:45 p.m.; Saturday at Simsbury (ISCC), 6:20 p.m.
The Bottom Line: Five in a row is suddenly the longest active winning streak in Division I. The Rams have played five of their first six at home, winning four of those. They're away for the next four, including Saturday's game on the big sheet in Simsbury.
|Last Week: lost to LaSalle Academy (R.I.) 3-1.
This Week: Wednesday at Westhill/Stamford (Conners), 7:50 p.m.; Saturday at Staples (Milford), 6 p.m.
The Bottom Line: The Tigers gained a point and dropped a spot and a half. Yes, friends, it's back: #pollmath. Ridgefield has FCIAC games this week, including against the solid Stamford co-op, before playing two out of three outside the conference.
|Last Week: lost to Notre Dame-West Haven 3-1; def. Hamden 7-0; def. Darien 3-2 (OT).
This Week: Saturday vs. Fairfield (Hamill), 5:45 p.m.; Monday vs. Northwest Catholic (Hamill), 4:15 p.m.
The Bottom Line: Of the voters who tweaked their ballots Monday night, more probably moved Greenwich in a big way than moved Darien. The Cardinals have won three out of four, two of them in overtime, since an 0-3 start.
|8. NOTRE DAME-FAIRFIELD||5-3-1||26||10||I|
|Last Week: Tied Fairfield Prep 3-3; lost to Prout (R.I.) 5-2; def. St. Dominic (Maine) 6-1.
This Week: Wednesday at Simsbury (ISCC), 3:40 p.m.
The Bottom Line: The Lancers will become the state's first team to hit the halfway point of their season Wednesday afternoon up in Simsbury, after which three talented forwards become available to boost the depth of what has been a competitive team with strong goaltending. We'll see what they look like at something like full strength.
|Last Week: def. Simsbury 7-5; lost to Greenwich 7-0.
This Week: Wednesday vs. Immaculate, 8 p.m.; Saturday vs. St. Joseph, 2:15 p.m.
The Bottom Line: One of several teams either banged up or fighting the flu bug; actually, the Green Dragons were both by Saturday's game against Greenwich. Hamden will become the third team to reach the halfway mark on Wednesday night, a little behind Notre Dame-Fairfield and Newtown. (North Haven, while we're running with this, should make it four, a half-hour behind Hamden.)
|Last Week: def. Cheshire 3-0; def. Amity 5-0.
This Week: Wednesday at North Haven (Northford), 8:30 p.m.; Saturday at Watertown/Pomperaug (Taft), 7:30 p.m.
The Bottom Line: Jared Yakimoff posted back-to-back shutouts for the defending Division II champions, who have a few rivalry games coming up over the next couple of weeks, and a few intriguing D-II matchups to follow them.
|Dropped out: West Haven (8).
First-place votes in parentheses and points tabulated on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.
|Others receiving votes: Hand 10; Simsbury 10; WMRP 8; Northwest Catholic 2.|
|The following voted: Media: Luke Devoe, CTHSHockey.org; Erik Dobratz, WTNH-8; 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. Coaches: Ken Barse, Glastonbury; Dean Diamond, Housatonic; Shaun Gallagher, Ridgefield; Matt Sather, Fairfield Prep; Larry Vieira, Notre Dame-West Haven.
Poll compiled by Michael Fornabaio