When the 2021-22 FCIAC Boys Hockey Tournament commences Saturday with four quarterfinal games, from what has transpired during the regular season, it should be a great conference tournament because of the quality of the higher-seeded teams.
The four quarterfinal games, highlighted by a doubleheader at Darien Ice House, are played at the home rinks of the four highest-seeded teams.
For Saturday’s quarterfinals schedule, with each team’s FCIAC record and overall record as of Feb. 22 in parenthesis: top-seeded Darien (8-2-0, 11-6-1) hosts eighth-seeded Trumbull (4-2-0, 11-6-0) at Darien Ice House at 7:30 p.m.; No. 2 Fairfield Warde/Ludlowe (7-3-0, 16-3-0) hosts No. 7 Westhill/Stamford (6-0-0, 11-6-0) at Wonderland of Ice at 6:30 p.m.; No. 3 New Canaan (6-3-1, 12-5-3) hosts No. 6 St. Joseph (2-8-0, 6-13-0) at Darien Ice House at 5 p.m.; and No. 4 Ridgefield (3-6-1, 8-10-1) hosts. No. 5 Greenwich (3-7-0, 6-12-1) at Winter Garden at 7:50 p.m.
The two semifinal games will be played at the home rinks of the higher seeds on March 2 at times to be announced. The FCIAC championship game is March 5, a Saturday, at Danbury Ice Arena at 4:30 p.m.
The league playoff format ensured that all six teams from the West Division would qualify for the conference tournament in the top six seeds and the top two teams in the four-team East Division, which consists predominantly of Division II and Division III teams, would get the final two seeds.
The six teams in the West Division each had 10 conference games, playing against each other twice, while Westhill/Stamford and Trumbull each had six conference games against East Division foes.
Darien, Fairfield co-op, New Canaan, Ridgefield, and Greenwich have been ranked in the GameTime Top 10 Boys Hockey Poll virtually all year.
Greenwich just dropped out of the Top 10 for the first time in the latest poll as the Cardinals received the 11th most polling points.
Notre Dame-West Haven (14-3-0) was the unanimous No. 1 choice with all 12 first-place votes.
New Canaan was No. 2, Xavier (11-6-1) was ranked third, Fairfield co-op was No. 4, and Darien and Northwest Catholic (12-4-2) were tied for fifth.
Fairfield Prep (10-4-2) and Hamden (10-7-1) were ranked seventh and eighth, respectively, while Ridgefield and North Haven (16-2) were tied for ninth.
Because of the quality and balance of the FCIAC’s Division I teams, that assured that most of the games in the month of February were big games toward determining the seedings for the conference tournament.
Darien’s 4-3 overtime victory at home over Fairfield co-op on Feb. 1 eventually became the pivotal game toward deciding the top seed of the FCIAC tourney as the Blue Wave went 4-0 from Feb. 1-16 against the other top five teams in the conference.
Matt Jankovsky had two goals and two assists to lead Fairfield co-op to a 5-0 victory over Greenwich on Feb. 19. That set up a showdown for the No. 2 seed two nights later and Fairfield co-op snatched the second seed with a 4-2 home victory over New Canaan on Feb. 21. That avenged a loss one week earlier when New Canaan goalie Beau Johnson had 49 saves in a 4-1 win over Fairfield co-op on Feb. 14.
In the games in which the top five teams of Darien, Fairfield co-op, New Canaan, Ridgefield, and Greenwich all played against each other throughout the season, Darien had a 7-1 record, Fairfield co-op was 5-3, New Canaan 4-3-1, Ridgefield was 1-6-1, and Greenwich 2-6.
In those games in which Darien, Fairfield co-op, New Canaan, Ridgefield, and Greenwich played against each other, the scores are listed below in the order of the dates in which they were played:
Dec. 29 – Darien 4, Greenwich 2
Jan. 5 – New Canaan 7, Greenwich 1
Jan. 8 – New Canaan 1, Ridgefield 1
Jan. 12 – Darien 2, New Canaan 1 (OT)
Jan. 12 – Fairfield co-op 5, Ridgefield 2
Jan. 15 – Greenwich 4, Ridgefield 3
Jan. 19 – Fairfield co-op 6, Darien 4
Jan. 22 – Darien 1, Ridgefield 0
Jan. 25 – Greenwich 2, Fairfield co-op 0
Feb. 1 – Darien 4, Fairfield co-op 3 (OT)
Feb. 1 – Ridgefield 4, Greenwich 1
Feb. 7 – New Canaan 4, Greenwich 1
Feb. 9 – Darien 5, Greenwich 0
Feb. 9 – New Canaan 3, Ridgefield 1
Feb. 12 – Darien 3, New Canaan 2
Feb. 12 – Fairfield co-op 3, Ridgefield 0
Feb. 14 – New Canaan 4, Fairfield co-op 1
Feb. 16 – Darien 4, Ridgefield 1
Feb. 19 – Fairfield co-op 5, Greenwich 0
Feb. 21 – Fairfield co-op 4, New Canaan 2