By Ed Flaherty
Success has become second nature for the New Canaan (Conn.) High School girls hockey team, and the start of the 2011-12 season has been no different for the Rams.
New Canaan, which has won five state titles in the last seven
years, and went 24-1 a year ago on its way to another championship,
is an impressive 5-0 this season while outscoring opponents
That doesn’t bode well for the Rams’ opponents.
New Canaan lost just two seniors from last year’s championship squad, but returns the services of junior forward Olivia Hompe, who is a threat to shatter Connecticut’s all-time scoring records.
Entering this season Hompe had 166 points on 97 goals and 69
assists, including a state single-season record 112 points a year
ago. The career scoring record of 261 points is well within
Through five games, Hompe has added 19 points to her career total on 12 goals and seven assists.
Hompe isn’t New Canaan’s lone star, however, as Corbett Ripley has seven goals and two assists through five games.
The Rams have been stingy on defense as well, with Madzie Carroll, a first team All-State defender a year ago, patrolling in front of goaltender Britt Gardella, who has a 2.64 goals-against average.
New Canaan faced a challenge earlier this week when it took on
fellow unbeaten Darien, but the Rams were up to the task in a 3-1
Holly Burwick, Ripley and Hompe scored New Canaan’s goals, with Gardella stopping 14 of the 15 shots she faced.
Fairfield Prep continued its early-season surge with a 6-2 win
over South Windsor in a rematch of a Division 1 semifinal from a
Fairfield Prep won that semifinal game, 4-1, on its way to the state title and looks to be a favorite in 2011-12.
The Jesuits jumped out to a 6-0 lead in a dominating start to their victory.
Sean Henry, Matt Brophy (two goals), David White, Tom Worsfold and Tim Edmonds scored for Fairfield Prep.
Riley Wikman made 20 saves in goal to record the victory.
Defending Class A boys champion Thornton Academy cruised to a 4-1 win over Lewiston in a rematch of last season’s state title game.
The Trojans needed two overtimes to dispatch the Blue Devils a year ago, but had an easier road this time around.
One similarity between both games was the contribution of Thornton Academy’s C.J. Maksut, who had the game-winning goal in the state title game and notched two scores in this season’s matchup.
Maksut, a senior, reached the 100-point plateau for his high school career.
The Hingham girls had a remarkable 2010-11 season, which culminated with a Division 1 state championship.
Along the way, the Harborwomen snapped the 100-game winning streak of St. Mary’s of Lynn.
Those two clubs met again on Dec. 21, with Hingham once again having the edge in a 3-1 win over St. Mary’s.
The Harborwomen improved to 2-0 with the win, as freshman
goaltender Taylor Walsh made 17 saves to shut down St.
Jane Freda, meanwhile, paced Hingham offensively with two goals and an assist.
The Manchester Memorial boys have quickly thrust themselves into the conversation when discussing the state’s top teams.
The Crusaders have opened with a 4-0 Division 1 record, defeating Manchester Central, Londonderry, Trinity and Nashua South.
Monday’s 7-0 win over defending Div. 1 champion Trinity would certainly fit the bill as a statement victory for Memorial.
Not only did Memorial roll past Trinity on the scoreboard, the Crusaders outworked the defending champs, outshooting the Pioneers 53-11.
Trinity dropped to 1-1 overall with the loss.
There are just two remaining unbeaten boys teams in Division 1, even after La Salle and Bishop Hendricken squared off last week.
The teams fought to a 2-2 tie in their Division 1/Cimini Division battle in Warwick.
La Salle is now 5-0-1, while Hendricken is 3-0-1.
Rob Buehler had two goals for Bishop Hendricken, while Kevin Divver and Steve Rocchio scored for La Salle.
La Salle has proven to be the class of Division 1 thus far, with a pair of wins over defending Division 1 state champion Moses Brown already on its resume, along with the tie against Bishop Hendricken.
Middlebury won Vermont’s Division 2 state title a year ago, but the Tigers weren’t allowed to rest on their laurels.
Middlebury moved up to Division 1 for the 2011-12 campaign and the Tigers have wasted no time acclimating themselves to their new surroundings.
Off to a 3-0 start, Middlebury made a statement with a 4-3 win over defending Division 1 champion Champlain Valley on Dec. 21, putting the rest of the division on notice.
Tim Shea had the game-winning goal for Middlebury, scoring late in the third period to give the Tigers the victory.
Game of the Week
New Hampshire boys hockey fans will get a treat on the opening night of the Manchester High Schools Christmas Hockey Classic Tournament when Manchester Memorial faces Bedford at the JFK Coliseum at 8 p.m.
Both teams are undefeated in their respective divisions. Memorial is 4-0 in Div. 1, while Bedford is 3-0 in Div. 2.
The eight-team tournament runs for four days, from Dec. 26-29.
New England High School power rankings
1. Fairfield Prep (2-0)
2. Notre Dame/West Haven (3-0)
3. West Haven (3-0)
4. Xavier (2-0)
5. Daniel Hand (2-0)
6. Milford (2-0)
7. Northwest Catholic (2-0)
8. East Haven (2-0-1)
9. Ridgefield (1-1)
10. Joel Barlow (2-0)
1. Thornton Academy (3-0)
2. Bangor (3-0)
3. Marshwood/Traip (4-0)
4. Brewer (4-0)
5. York (2-0-2)
6. Hampden Academy (2-0)
7. Scarborough (3-0-1)
8. Gorham (3-1)
9. Leavitt (3-1)
10. Cony (1-1)
1. Malden Catholic (1-1)
2. St. John’s Prep (2-0)
3. Catholic Memorial (1-0)
4. BC High (1-0)
5. Marshfield (2-0)
6. Woburn (1-0-1)
7. Wakefield (2-0)
8. Needham (1-0)
9. Wilmington (1-0-1)
10. Hingham (1-1)
1. Pinkerton Academy (2-0)
2. Manchester Memorial (4-0)
3. Concord (2-1)
4. Bedford (2-0)
5. Merrimack (2-0)
6. Keene (2-0)
7. Souhegan (3-0)
8. Alvirne (2-0)
9. St. Thomas Aquinas (2-1)
10. Trinity (1-1)
1. La Salle (5-0-1)
2. Bishop Hendricken (3-0-1)
3. Cumberland (5-0)
4. Smithfield (3-1-1)
5. Pilgrim (3-1-1)
5. Cranston West (2-1-1)
6. Prout (3-2-1)
7. Coventry (3-1)
8. Johnston/North Providence (5-0)
9. Middletown (3-1-1)
10. Portsmouth (3-1)
1. Middlebury (3-0)
2. BFA-St. Albans (4-0)
3. Essex (3-0)
4. Burr and Burton (3-0-1)
5. Colchester (2-1)
6. Champlain Valley (3-2)
7. Missiquoi (3-1)
8. Northfield (3-1)
9. Spaulding (1-1)
10. South Burlington (2-1)
Ed Flaherty can be reached at email@example.com.