Styles, to borrow a phrase from an entirely different sport (at least at this level), make fights. And maybe that’s what we’re seeing this season in Connecticut boys hockey.
This team has no answer for that team’s size. But that team has no answer for that other team’s speed. And that other team can’t handle this other team’s depth. How do you rank them? It may depend who’s next.
The top of the GameTimeCT Top 10 poll largely held this week, with Darien still on top, Notre Dame-West Haven still at No. 2, Fairfield Prep still third heading into its first showdown with the Green Knights on Saturday in Bridgeport. And New Canaan remains No. 4.
Below them, teams shuffled. Simsbury’s win over Xavier, the Falcons’ third loss in four games, moved the Trojans, who have now won six straight, up to No. 5 ahead of Ridgefield and dropped the Falcons to eighth behind Greenwich.
Hamden hung in at No. 9 despite losses to West Haven and Fairfield Prep. Branford, which took care of its own business and won two Division II games handily this week, returns to the top 10, swapping places with Notre Dame-Fairfield.
The GameTimeCT Top 10 Boys Hockey Poll (Jan. 28)
|TEAM (1st place votes)||REC||PTS||LAST||DIV|
|1. DARIEN (11)||7-2||136||1||I|
|Last Week: def. Westhill/Stamford 5-4 (OT); def. St. Joseph 8-0.
This Week: Wednesday vs. Staples (Darien Ice House), 5 p.m.; Saturday at Bishop Hendricken (R.I.) (Schneider Arena, Providence, R.I.), 2 p.m.; Sunday at LaSalle Academy (R.I.) (Smithfield, R.I.), 5:30 p.m.
The Bottom Line: No slight on a solid Westhill/Stamford team intended when we look at the No. 1 team in the state and say “comes back to beat a D-II team in overtime?” Darien has sure been up for the big ones, though.
|2. NOTRE DAME-|
|Last Week: def. Notre Dame-Fairfield 3-0.
This Week: Saturday at Fairfield Prep (Wonderland), 1 p.m.
The Bottom Line: After that road-heavy start, Saturday’s is the Green Knights’ last game away from Bennett Rink until, at earliest, the first round of the state tournament, which is the last game they could play there anyway. According to the CIAC schedule, it appears their Feb. 17 rematch with Darien is moving a week later.
|3. FAIRFIELD PREP||6-4-1||112||3||I|
|Last Week: def. Xavier 7-0; def. Hamden 7-1.
This Week: Saturday vs. Notre Dame-West Haven (Wonderland), 1 p.m.
The Bottom Line: When will the Jesuits get into that rhythm, get the (Fairfield Prep outscores two top-10 opponents 14-1 to bounce back from a loss at Darien) Never mind.
|4. NEW CANAAN||9-1||104||4||I|
|Last Week: def. Fairfield 6-4; def. Ridgefield 2-0.
This Week: Wednesday vs. Xavier (Darien Ice House), 7:10 p.m.; Saturday vs. Trumbull (Darien Ice House), 5:20 p.m.
The Bottom Line: Merrily the Rams roll along, winning eight in a row after shutting out Ridgefield. Darien waits in a week, and Greenwich the week after.
|Last Week: def. Conard 3-1; def. Xavier 3-1; def. Immaculate 5-4.
This Week: Saturday at Northwest Catholic (ISCC), 6:20 p.m.
The Bottom Line: Speaking of teams rolling along, the Trojans got a late Alex Pearlman goal Monday at Immaculate to give Simsbury a five-game winning streak. If they didn’t have people’s attention before, they’re catching it now.
|Last Week: def. Notre Dame-Fairfield 6-1; lost to New Canaan 2-0; def. Northwest Catholic 5-0.
This Week: Wednesday vs. Trinity Catholic (Winter Garden), 4 p.m.; Tuesday at Greenwich (Hamill), 4:30 p.m.
The Bottom Line: The New Canaan loss ended a six-game in-state winning streak for the Tigers after an 0-2 start. They got right back at it Monday at Northwest Catholic and still haven’t allowed a state team more than two goals in a game (and that out-of-state team scored three).
|Last Week: def. Trumbull 4-1; def. Fairfield 5-1.
This Week: Wednesday at Wilton (Winter Garden), 8:30 p.m.; Friday at Westhill/Stamford (Conners), 7:40 p.m.; Saturday at LaSalle Academy (R.I.) (Schneider Arena, Providence, R.I.), 4 p.m.; Sunday at Bishop Hendricken (R.I.) (Smithfield, R.I.), 3:30 p.m.; Tuesday vs. Ridgefield (Hamill), 4:30 p.m.
The Bottom Line: Yet another five-game winning streak here, and five’s the magic number this week for the Cardinals: After scoring five goals in the makeup game Sunday, they’ve got five games in seven days beginning Wednesday at the Winter Garden.
|Last Week: lost to Fairfield Prep 7-0; lost to Simsbury 3-1.
This Week: Wednesday at New Canaan (Darien Ice House), 7:10 p.m.; Saturday at Hamden, 2:15 p.m.
The Bottom Line: You can’t say the Falcons’ schedule is soft: They’ve played six of the seven teams ahead of them in the poll, beating Greenwich and Ridgefield to start the year and losing the other four to varying degrees. They’ll complete the set of seven on Wednesday when they meet New Canaan.
|Last Week: lost to West Haven 3-1; lost to Fairfield Prep 7-1.
This Week: Wednesday vs. West Haven, 8 p.m.; Saturday vs. Xavier, 2:15 p.m.
The Bottom Line: Win four. Lose three. Win one. Lose one. Win two. Lose two. Is this a hockey “bottom line,” or one of those “what’s the next number in the sequence?” “bottom line”s? (And you were told there was no math.)
|Last Week: def. North Branford 7-0; def. Woodstock Academy 8-1.
This Week: Wednesday vs. Westhill/Stamford (Northford), 6 p.m.
The Bottom Line: The Hornets, 6-0-1 in January to return to the top 10, have a big Division II matchup on Wednesday, then have nine days off before playing their first game in February.
|Dropped out: Notre Dame-Fairfield (10).
First-place votes in parentheses and points tabulated on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.
|Others receiving votes: Notre Dame-Fairfield (5-6-1) 9; Hand (9-1-0) 5; Farmington Valley (8-1-0) 1; West Haven (6-6-0) 1.|
|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