Alas, the big day is here. The time for talk is over. It’s put-up-or-shut-up time for the D1 heavyweights in Connecticut high school hockey. The field for this year’s tournament should provide for some exciting match-ups (and plenty of surprises):
- Will New Canaan ride its undefeated regular season all the way to the championship?
- Does Hamden pull off the three-peat?
- Is Fairfield Prep poised for a return to glory?
- Can a young Notre Dame-West Haven squad go all the way?
Let’s see: No. No. Yes. No (not yet).
When the dust settles, we think Fairfield Prep will stand alone as the 2011 D1 hockey champs in Connecticut. Beyond the depth, discipline and overall skill that the Jesuits seem to have in spades, the two factors that make them our favorite this year are:
1.) Strength of Schedule – With all due respect to Hamden, Prep plays the most difficult schedule of any team in the state of Connecticut. Games against the best that CT has to offer, along with out-of-state stalwarts like LaSalle College High (24-5-2 in PA), have the Jesuits battled-tested and ready for the playoff hockey.
2.) Absolutely Filthy Special Teams – In particular their power play which is, simply put, a lethal machine.
Not taking anything away from New Canaan, as they have had a great year – one of the best by a public school in recent memory. However, we think they’re ripe for the picking in the early rounds.