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Co-op hockey is close/Prep vs. Hillhouse preview


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

Charlie Meder had a goal and an assist in Fairfield's 3-2 loss to Darien on Saturday.

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.”

I agree.

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.

Expect Paschal Chukwu to be a difference maker in Prep's game Tuesday against Hillhouse

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.

Categories: General

6 Responses

  1. Wilton D says:

    Prep’s has been tough against WHO? they have played no one,Career is in a down year very young and Hamden has not been relevent in ages.

  2. Wilton D says:

    Also you can not with a straight face ,say the level of high school basketball in CT can compare with NJ. There are very few teams in CT that can beat a ranked team in NJ (Pope John was ranked #9). let me know your thoughts.

  3. Wilton D says:

    You had to see this 6 9 kid, he had 2. Guard skills a motor and a big mans mentality on defense. He is ready for low to mid major d1 now. I have seen FFP center he is still undeveloped ( but getting better). They also had a freshman guard who was very skilled, and fearless (HH shut him down). This is a big game for FFP not HH a regular day at the office , I Respect your opinion, lets tip it off and see. P.s. this ain’t Career or Hamden. LOL

  4. Pat Pickens says:

    I’m interested to see what happens. I know ‘House makes a living on its defense, but Prep’s defense and rebounding has been tough thus far this year. Plus a 7-footer is a lot different from a 6-9 kid. No one has been able to keep up with Prep’s offense, and no one has been able to rebound with it either. I know Hillhouse is a different animal, but my prediction is based on my personal instincts. If I’m wrong, I’ll be the first to admit it!

  5. Wilton D says:

    correction, Hill House defense is dominating.

  6. Wilton D says:

    you think Fairfield Prep will route Hill House? you must be kidding. the crowd means nothing have you ever been to the Athletic Center in New Haven? Hillhouse just played a big man in New Jersey who is 6 foot 9, and way more skilled than the Center for Fairfield Prep. and the Center for Fairfield Prep is really skinny the big boys of Hill House will push him out of the paint. the donation is defense of Hill House will turn this game, Hill House guards are unbelievable and they have a strong supporting cast. Hillhouse wins this game going away, the team in New Jersey is a much better team than a Fairfield prep.