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Fairfield co-op (Ludlowe, Warde) boys ice hockey preview

Published 10:23 pm, Wednesday, December 11, 2013
  • Fairfield's Conor Scharlop works the puck in the offensive end during the first period of their boys hockey matchup with North Branford in the Class 2 Semifinals of the 2013 Ice Hockey State Tournament at Ingalls Rink in New Haven, Conn. on Monday, March 11, 2013. Photo: Brian A. Pounds / Connecticut Post
    Fairfield's Conor Scharlop works the puck in the offensive end during the first period of their boys hockey matchup with North Branford in the Class 2 Semifinals of the 2013 Ice Hockey State Tournament at Ingalls Rink in New Haven, Conn. on Monday, March 11, 2013. Photo: Brian A. Pounds

 

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Key players graduated and a few decided to play elsewhere this winter, but the Fairfield co-op boys ice hockey team will play the 2013-14 season held in the highest esteem, regardless of the record it compiles. Last year's team won the CIAC Division II state championship and all of the team's opponents this winter will have added incentive in trying to topple the defending champions because of the prestige a victory over Fairfield would bring.

Fairfield was seeded 13th of the 18 teams in the Div. II tournament last winter off a 10-10-0 regular-season record. Fairfield upset the Nos. 4, 5 and 8 seeded teams (Watertown-Pomperaug, Branford, North Branford) in marching through the semifinals before meeting No. 2 East Catholic in the final at Yale's Ingalls Rink on March 20. Fairfield scrapped for a 4-3 victory in overtime to win the state championship and finish at 14-11-0.

"We lost a huge core of our team last year to graduation and other programs, but we had a great younger class that no one got to really see because of the size of our senior class," said Mark Pettorini, coaching players from Fairfield Ludlowe and Fairfield Warde for the fifth year. "The key to this year is to get these guys into their roles and to be comfortable quickly."

Fairfield's title defense will be led by six returning players -- five starters graduated -- and a new skillful sophomore. Warde senior Conor Scharlop, a talented defenseman in his fourth year on the team, is the captain. Ludlowe senior Jack O'Rourke, a gritty forward, Pettorini says, is the assistant captain. Junior defenseman Zach Weinstein has a strong shot within his considerable skill set, senior forward Austin Armas is a strong and fast skater and junior Kyle Greenhut is back as the starting goalie.

Junior Matt Roberts, a forward, has good size and reads the ice well, and sophomore Owen Emmoendorfer is likely to skate on one of the first two lines.

In 2012-13, Fairfield finished third of seven teams in the FCIAC West with a 5-7-0 division record and qualified for the Div. II tournament for a third straight year. The 2013-14 season kicked off on Wednesday with a game against Branford at the Wonderland of Ice, the co-op's home rink.

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