Fairfield co-op hockey coach Mark Pettorini is not wild about his club’s results thus far this year.
But if Fairfield keeps playing the way it did Saturday, it’ll be alright.
The co-op team scored twice against Darien, in a 3-2 loss to the Blue Wave at Wonderland of Ice.
“I’m happy with the effort,” Pettorini said postgame, “I’m not happy with the outcome.”
Fairfield– a Division II squad– fell to 2-4, dropping its second straight against a Division I FCIAC squad.
Although it fell to the state’s No. 4 team, it earned some respect from the Blue Wave.
“They were a good team,” Darien forward Brendan Hathaway said. “They came out strong. It was a great effort.”
Fairfield attempted to clog up Darien’s speedy wings with a trap. Fairfield sent one forechecker deep to try to force turnovers, then had its ‘D’ supporting to prevent the Blue Wave’s breakouts. That trap helped Fairfield steal a first-period goal, when Charlie Meder stole an errant pass and beat Darien goalie Michael Colon.
“We threw a trap at them, to try to ruffle their feathers,” Pettorini said. “It seemed to work in the beginning.”
Meder and linemate Kevin Robinson played stellar games. Meder had a goal
and an assist, including a sneaky-pass to Robinson for Fairfield’s other goal. Robinson had several chances to tie the game, especially in the third, but could not beat Colon.
Pettorini admitted his club has blown some winnable games. Fairfield led 2-1 against Greenwich Wednesday before allowing three third-period goals in a 4-2 loss.
But Pettorini said he loaded his schedule on purpose, and he knows that if his club can get eight wins, it’ll be a tough out in the D2 states.
“When I made this schedule, I knew we weren’t going to go 20-0,” Pettorini said. “I made the most aggressive schedule I thought we could handle … we’re going to battle get our eight wins, and that’s the way it is.
“I think we’ll be fine.”
For a little less than two quarters against Weston, ND-Fairfield’s boys basketball team looked lost and disheveled.
Fortunately for the Lancers, they found their groove.
Jaylen Jennings looked like a low-post force as ND trumped the Trojans, 70-51.
Weston led by as many as nine midway-through the third quarter. The Trojans hit shots and capitalized on ND’s lethargic effort.
“They made great shots,” ND coach Vin Laczkoski said. “But we didn’t contest them.
But Jennings dominated the second half, scoring 14 of his 16 then. Earl Coleman looked like the dominant player we all expect him to be.
Dan Upchurch had 18 points, but Weston coach Mike Hvizdo thought his squad successfully defended the senior guard.
“We did a good job on Upchurch,” Hvizdo said. “He had 18 points … we did a good job on him, defensively.”
Only 11 boys basketball teams remain undefeated in Connecticut.
That number will drop by at least one on Tuesday night.
Prep and Hillhouse will square off as the state’s No. 2 and No. 1 teams, according to the New Haven Register. This will be the first time the Academics and Jesuits will meet in the regular season since Jan. 19, 1999, when the Academics beat Prep 68-45.
The Academics ended Prep’s 2011-12 season with a 60-47 win in the Class LL semifinals. Prep won the previous meeting, 56-53, in New Haven in the Class LL first round in 2008.
Prep, undoubtedly, will use its inside-outside approach on offense. Paschal Chukwu has five inches on Hillhouse’s tallest player, Chaise Daniels, and the Jesuits will likely attempt to use that advantage whenever they can.
Hillhouse has won thanks to tough defense, as the Academics have allowed 40 points or fewer five times. The Academics are fresh off a 57-51 over the talented Pope John XXIII of New Jersey on Saturday.
I haven’t seen Hillhouse this year, but I can’t imagine this game will be a rout. I won’t be at it, either, so I feel compelled to make a pick.
Too much Chukwu for Prep, and a huge crowd will likely turn the tide. I think Hillhouse gets Prep in New Haven, but I think round one goes to the home team. Pick: Prep 60, Hillhouse 55.
Pat Pickens is the sports editor of the Fairfield Citizen, a Hearst Connecticut Newspaper organization. Follow him on Twitter here.