The CIAC boys hockey tournaments begin Monday night in Division II and the darling team heading into the tournament is recent SCC/SWC D2 champion Branford, which rallied and then beat Guilford in a shootout before dispatching No. 10 Watertown/Pomperaug in the final.
And so, for the first time this season, Branford has cracked the GameTimeCT Top 10. The No. 4-seeded Hornets face off with No. 13 Woodstock Academy in the first round at Northford Pavilion at 4 p.m. Monday.
Elsewhere, unbeaten Ridgefield remained No. 1 after showcasing its collective might in the FCIAC hockey tournament. The Tigers gave us a taste of what’s to come in the Division I tournament by ripping through Westhill/Stamford and Greenwich by an aggregate score of 16-2.
They get a week off before facing the winner of Xavier/West Haven in the Division I quarterfinals on Saturday. They’re three wins away from completing a perfect season…
The rest of the Top 10 mostly remained the same, minus Notre Dame-West Haven jumping back over Xavier to No. 7.
|TEAM (1st place votes)||REC||PTS||LAST||DIV|
|1. RIDGEFIELD (14)||22-0-0||140||1||I|
|Results last week: def. Westhill/Stamford 8-1 (FCIAC semifinal), def. Greenwich 8-1 (FCIAC final).
Bottom Line: The Tigers have won 14 of 22 games by four or more goals. They only won two regular-season games by bigger margins than they won their playoff games.
|Results last week: lost to Greenwich 2-1 (2OT) (FCIAC semifinal).
Bottom Line: The Blue Wave beat the other three teams in their quarter of the Division I bracket four times by a combined 21 goals during the regular season.
|3. FAIRFIELD PREP||11-9-1||104||3||I|
|Results last week: lost to Hamden 1-0 (SCC/SWC Division I final).
Bottom Line: The Jesuits have fallen one goal short in their two biggest games, including the regular-season rematch at Ridgefield. We'll see how they do in the next big ones.
|Results last week: def. Glastonbury 7-2, def. East Catholic 3-2 (OT) (CCC North semifinal), def. Farmington 4-1 (CCC North final).
Bottom Line: The Lions are 12-1-1 in games decided by one or two goals. They're either quite lucky or severely battle-tested going into the tournament.
|Results last week: def. NFI 2-1 (OT), def. Fairfield Prep 1-0 (SCC/SWC Division I final)
Bottom Line: The Green Dragons are on their second three-game winning streak. A fourth straight win gets them to the state quarterfinals for the fifth year in a row.
|6. NEW CANAAN||13-7-1||61||6||I|
|Results last week: did not play.
Bottom Line: The Rams started at ninth in the poll, went to eighth for two weeks, popped up to sixth, dropped back to seventh for three weeks and now have spent four weeks in sixth.
|7. NOTRE DAME-|
|Results last week: def. Notre Dame-Fairfield 2-0.
Bottom Line: What'd we say a couple of weeks ago about the Green Knights' results looking like a sine wave? The curve trended upward at the end of the regular season. They'll need to turn it parabolic.
|Results last week: did not play.
Bottom Line: Like Hamden, the Falcons have won a state playoff game in each of the past four years, which is tied for the second-longest streak in the state. Fairfield Prep last lost its first game in 2009.
|Results last week: def. Darien 2-1 (2OT) (FCIAC semifinal), lost to Ridgefield 8-1 (FCIAC final).
Bottom Line: It's hardly a mark against the Cardinals' late-season revival, which included a quarterfinal win over New Canaan last week, that they lost to Ridgefield like that. Few haven't.
|Results last week: tied Guilford 4-4 and advanced in a shootout (SCC/SWC Division II semifinal), def. Watertown/Pomperaug 2-1 (SCC/SWC Division II final).
Bottom Line: One tremendous comeback (It Was 4-1) and one tremendous defensive effort gave the Hornets a banner (and a season poll debut). They're looking for another banner in two weeks.
|Dropped out: Watertown/Pomperaug (10).
First-place votes in parentheses and points tabulated on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.
Records through Sunday, March 3.
|Others receiving votes: Watertown/Pomperaug (16-4-2) 12, West Haven (10-10) 2, Simsbury (7-11-2) 1.|
|The following voted: 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.|