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Welcome to the New Haven Register high school sports blog where our talented staff of Chris Hunn, Joe Morelli, Dan Nowak and Mike Pucci will keep you up to date on everything to do with high school sports in Connecticut. Mike Pucci's Gridiron Glory blog for high school football remains. We hope you enjoy and feel free to join in the conversation.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

CIAC DIVISION II BOYS' HOCKEY TOURNAMENT: Nowak predictions take a hit

What a rough night on Tuesday with my predictions in the first round for the CIAC Division II boys’ hockey tournament.
Three of my final four predictions –Amity, Hand and Milford - were eliminated.
Fortunately the team I picked to win the championship, Branford, is still alive and kicking. The Hornets ended up with a 4-0 win over Fermi/Enfield/East Granby/Stafford.
The biggest surprise was top seed Amity losing 2-1 to No. 17 Newtown. This win by Newtown certainly gives all lower seeds hope in all three divisions, showing us all that anything can happen, especially when you face a hot goalie.
It was a tough finish to the season overall for the Spartans who ended up 2-5 in their last seven games including the regular season. Scoring was an issue for the Spartans with three of the losses by one goal.
No. 10 Hand, with goalie Chase Briggs carrying the team on his back with over 40 saves in the game, looked like it was going to hold on to a slight 1-0 lead against a strong No. 7 Northwest Catholic in the first round . But a third period goal and another in OT gave Northwest Catholic a 2-1 win.
I’m not so surprised about No. 6 Guilford defeating No. 11 Milford 5-3. That was one game I figured could go either way. But I did predict that whoever won that game would at least advance to the D-II semifinals.
Lastly, apologies to North Branford who I failed to mention in my hockey predictions. Any time you have an outstanding, speedy scorer like Dylan Podbielski on your team you are always going to be competitive. The Thunderbirds actually have a lot more than that going for them with talent front to back.
I predicted the SCC would dominate Division II and I’m sticking to that prediction. My adjusted Final Four now has Branford, North Branford and Guilford with No. 2 East Catholic in the Final Four. I still think Branford has the motivation and talent to win the title.
Here is a link to my original tournament predictions -

Here are links to my other pre-tournament hockey stories/predictions/Top 10 Poll:

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