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Connecticut Division I: Will this be the year for Notre Dame (WH)?

Connecticut Division 1 Boys Pre-Season Poll

RankTeam WLT
1Notre Dame (WH)1861
2Fairfield Prep2310
3Darien1942
4Notre Dame (F)11100
5Ridgefield2060
6Xavier1372
7Glastonbury1390
8Simsbury1580
9St. Joseph's1861
10New Canaan1382

Connecticut has usually operated by a 40-percent rule at playoff time:
earn 40 percent of your possible points, win a berth in the state
tournament.

This year, though, if fewer than 16 teams in a division reach the
magic number, the state will add teams to the tournament to fill out a
16-team bracket. And with the arrival of Northwest Catholic to
Division I, guess how many teams are in the state’s top division this
year?

Come March, it’ll literally be anyone’s tournament. Anyone at all in Division I.

But for starters, the coaches around the state are looking to last
year’s superpowers.

Narrowly leading the way: the runners-up. Notre Dame-West Haven may
have lost some stars to graduation and its coach to retirement, but
reloaded and with former Lyman Hall coach Tim Belcher taking the
reins, they’re expected to remain among the elite.

No. 2 Fairfield Prep isn’t going anywhere, despite graduating most of
their defense corps and a slew of big scorers. The Jesuits have their
goalies back, though, and have underclassmen who can fill the gaps.

No. 3 Darien seems to be the pick in its conference and a team with a
chance to make noise in the state tournament, maybe even get back to
the final for the first time since 1987. Some key players return as
seniors.

No. 4 Notre Dame-Fairfield has been a program in flux for a couple of
years, with players coming in and surprising, with a coaching change
midseason two years ago. The Lancers seem poised for another big run.

No. 5 Ridgefield has been close in several seasons since moving up to
Division I about a decade ago. They’ll make their try at this year’s
titles with some good scorers and tough defensemen.

There was a coaching change at No. 6 Xavier, too, but the Falcons
expect to remain competitive under former JV coach Dan DeConti with
players like Andrew Meoli, John Burkinshaw and Ben Guidobono back.

No. 7 Glastonbury has strong defensive depth and some upperclassmen in
goal; the Tomahawks have a different offensive mix this season,
though, without the big-name talent they’ve had in recent years but
with some depth.

No. 8 Simsbury also looks strong defensively, though it’ll need to
replace two solid-but-graduated goalies. It’ll also have to find
scoring.

No. 9 St. Joseph looks to have the opposite problem: The Cadets have a
deep group of forwards, deep enough that coach Marty Crouse has confidence that any of them could play with just about anybody else.

They’ll need to be solid defensively, though.

No. 10 New Canaan has more defensive depth than last year and should
be strong up front, too. The Rams graduated their goalie, too, but may
have a successor ready to go.

HNIB Staff
In 1972, two lifetime high school hockey fans started a weekly broadcast of Greater Boston high school games on WBOS-FM (92.9). The duo - Lance LoFaro and Darby Yaeger - called the nightly broadcasts "Hockey Night in Boston". As of late, HNIBnews - over 30 years running - has kept the scholastic hockey world on its feet with its widely-read website HNIBnews.com. In addition to HNIBnews, Hockey Night in Boston runs MassHSHockey.com, and also hosts summer tournaments showcasing the talents of scholastic hockey.
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