FCIAC players honored on All-State teams after winter tournaments were cut short

Though there were many very good boys ice hockey players from the FCIAC who were denied their opportunity to conclude their careers by playing in state tournaments, plenty of those players were still recognized for their stellar play by being selected to all-state teams by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association and GameTimeCT.

On March 10, the CIAC canceled the remaining games and tournaments in its winter season due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The boys ice hockey tournaments had just gotten underway, with Div. II and III opening round games being played on March 9, and the Div. I playoffs scheduled to start on March 10.

The CHSCA selected a total of 82 players on all-state first and second teams for Division I, Division II and Division III; while GameTimeCT honored a total of 73 players – 12 players apiece for its all-state first, second and third teams, and another 37 players earned Honorable Mention.

Darien senior Bennett McDermott and Jamison Moore, his junior teammate, and New Canaan junior Boden Gammill were three of the best forwards in the state as they were all selected to both the CHSCA Division I All-State First Team and the GameTimeCT All-State First Team.

McDermott was named MVP by the CHSCA while his coach at Darien, Mac Budd, was named Coach of the Year by GameTimeCT. Budd was previously named the FCIAC Coach of the Year.

McDermott scored 63 points in his last two years, including 25 goals and 14 assists for 39 points this past winter. The senior captain was among three Darien players and nine total players selected to the 2019-20 All-FCIAC Boys Ice Hockey First Team.

Moore, also previously chosen to the All-FCIAC First Team, centered Darien’s potent top line. He had 24 assists and netted 11 goals this season and has racked up 65 points the last two years, having had 20 assists and 10 goals last year.

Darien junior defenseman Luke Johnston was the fourth player from the FCIAC selected to the GameTimeCT All-State First Team and he also made the CHSCA Division I All-State Second Team. Johnston previously made All-FCIAC First Team.

There were two more Blue Wave players who earned all-state honors in some form. Junior goalie Chris Schofield made the CHSCA All-State Second Team and GameTimeCT All-State Third Team, while junior forward Sam Erickson was GameTimeCT All-State Second Team.

In addition to Gammill, also for FCIAC team champion New Canaan, senior defenseman Justin Wietfeld was a second-team all-state selection by both the CHSCA and Game-TimeCT, and freshman goalie Beau Johnson was all-state second team by the CHSCA and all-state third team by GameTimeCT. Wietfeld had made All-FCIAC First Team.

Westhill/Stamford senior forward Gavin Dolan and senior defenseman Tyler Tuccinardi each made both the CHSCA Division II All-State First Team and the GameTimeCT All-State Third Team. Dolan made the All-FCIAC First Team in March.

Senior defensemen Ryan Columbo of Greenwich and Kevin McNicholas of Ridgefield each made both the CHSCA Division I All-State Second Team and the GameTimeCT All-State Third Team. Columbo was previously named to the All-FCIAC First Team.

A pair of juniors from the Fairfield co-operative program, forward Rhys Davies and defenseman Sam Swanson, both made the CHSCA Division I All-State Second Team and GameTimeCT Honorable Mention. Davies was previously All-FCIAC First Team.

The other six FCIAC players who made GameTimeCT Honorable Mention included senior defenseman Marco Minopoli and goalie Alex Tsymbalyuk of Trumbull, senior forward Jack Kinahan and junior goalie Jeffrey Reda of Trinity Catholic, Norwalk/McMahon senior forward Jeb Boyrer, and Staples sophomore defenseman Will Richards.

All six of them also earned CHSCA all-state honors. Tsymbalyuk, an All-FCIAC first-teamer, and Minopoli, his Trumbull teammate, both made the CHSCA Division II All-State First Team while Reda, Richards, Boyrer and Kinahan were selected to the CHSCA Division III First Team.

Tucker Healy and Hunter Gilchrist of Westhill/Stamford and Trumbull’s John McLean were selected to the CHSCA Division II All-State Second Team.

Lucas Thelen and Tyler Everitt of Wilton, Finn Bean of the Norwalk/McMahon co-operative program, and Jake Glickman of Staples made the CHSCA Division III All-State Second Team.

The CHSCA released its all-state teams in March and GameTimeCT released its all-state teams April 29.

Cheshire senior goalie Nick Maringola was chosen Player of the Year by GameTimeCT.

The CIAC announced the cancellation of the remainder of the winter high school sports season on March 10, due to the coronavirus pandemic, when the three divisional state tournaments had just begun.

The last GameTimeCT Boys Hockey Top 10 Poll was released March 9.

Fairfield Prep (13-6-2) had vaulted over Darien and into the No. 1 ranking while Darien’s 18-5 Blue Wave dropped to No. 2.

The main cause of that exchange of spots was because New Canaan won the FCIAC championship with a 4-3 victory over Darien. New Canaan’s Rams won a 3-2 double-overtime thriller over Ridgefield and Darien advanced with a 3-1 victory over Greenwich in the FCIAC semifinals.

That conference crown enabled New Canaan’s 19-2-1 Rams to remain No. 3 as there were four FCIAC teams ranked among the top seven.

Notre Dame-West Haven (14-7) was ranked fourth, Greenwich (13-7-1) finished No. 5 and was followed by Xavier (10-7-3), seventh-ranked Ridgefield (12-10), Branford (19-2-1), Notre Dame-Fairfield (10-8-2) and Simsbury (13-7-1).

Fairfield (12-9) received the 13th most points in the polling as the only FCIAC team among the five total teams in the “Others receiving votes” category.

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