• Luke Devoe

Road To Ingalls

Bucks Score For Jacob

Jacob Roger Poulin was a vibrant four year old boy who loved nothing more than playing hockey and trying to be the best American Ninja Warrior around. At least that's what people tell me. I never had the privilege of meeting the kid. I do have the privilege of honoring him, however and that's due in large part to a couple of EO Smith-Tolland hockey players who came up with a really cool idea. We'll get to that soon, but first let me give you a little background on Jacob and his heartbreaking story. Back on April 2, 2016, Jacob's parents Steve and and Sarah got the devastating news that their son, Jacob had a super rare and aggressive brain tumor. Jacob fought valiantly but ultimately passed away on October 1, 2016, his father Steve's birthday. Since his passing his parents established the Jacob Roger Poulin Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity. The main goal of all of this is to ultimately build J4cob's Park in Ellington. The park would incorporate all the things Jacob loved. In the past, Tri-Town has raised money in Jacob's name, a name that has become rather popular throughout the northern high school hockey circuit. So popular in fact, that two EO Smith-Tolland Bucks' players decided they wanted to do something to truly help out, to truly give back and they're doing it in a really cool way. Juniors Matt Fritz and Gavin Till started thinking back a few months before the season started about how they could help. "We knew about the Poulin’s story from last year because the youth organization that they were involved in, plays out of the same rink and a lot of the players that play for the Bucks come from that organization and wanted to do something to help. We originally planned to host the fundraiser on a website called PledgeIt, but they were looking to charge around 10% of the total amount we would raise, so we decided to do it all by ourselves," Fritz said. The boys had the idea that people could pledge a certain amount of money for each and every goal the Bucks score this season. For instance, if you pledge 50 cents and the Bucks score 70 goals this year, you would donate $35. According to Fritz, the pledges are coming in steadily but they could always use more. The Bucks have flyers available at every one of their home games and the Bucks even have their own page on the JRPF website. To visit and to make a pledge please go to https://www.jrpf.org/bucks.

I can't speak highly enough of the Bucks' community and these young men for doing this. It's really a fun and innovative way to truly help out a family who is trying to honor their child by giving back in a way they know would've made him smile.

Here at CTHSHockey we are challenging anyone to match our donation of $1.00 per goal. Light the lamp Bucks!

Cardinals Are Soaring

The Greenwich Cardinals have gotten off to a hot start to their 2017-18 campaign. Greenwich made a statement right out of the gate crushing FCIAC rival St. Joseph 10-2 in a game which saw the Cardinals score seven goals in the first seven minutes of the game. Greenwich followed that up with a 5-2 win on the road against West Haven. Depth is something that is already on full display for the Cardinals as they received goal contributions from eight different skaters in their first game, led by Connor Santry's hat trick. In their second win, Player of the Year candidate Alex Mozian scored twice and assisted on two more. The simple fact that Greenwich won't have to solely rely on Mozian is something that should inspire a lot of confidence around Dorothy Hamill Rink. Coach Chris Rurak gave the first go in net to sophomore Ben Nash who was later relieved in the rout. Senior Dylan Dreher performed admirably in the Cardinals second win over West Haven. I'm sure at some point one goalie will rise above the rest but with Greenwich's offensive potency, that doesn't seem to be a concern right now. The culture around the team is rather contagious and has certainly put the rest of the state on alert. Greenwich and Rurak have done a nice job showcasing their successes with a devoted and accomplished social media campaign. Team swag and elite rink design are also some aspects that have separated Greenwich from the rest of the pack. Furthermore, Greenwich behind some very generous donors, have started broadcasting most of their games on https://locallive.tv/greenwichhighschool. Announcing these games is Rob Burnett (Producer of the David Letterman Show). If that's not enough, we are only a few days away from the Outdoor Winter Classic. Greenwich will be facing Darien in an out of conference regular season game at the Greenwich Skating Club. Tickets were limited to 300 and the place will be rocking. HAN Network will provide the TV coverage and it'll be shown in local restaurants.

D3 Terror

The Terrorcats of Tri-Town have jumped out to a great start the Division III level taking down newly anointed Division II member Hall-Southington 3-2 in the opener and making a clear statement, beating potential DIII favorite Housatonic-NW-Wam 6-2 last time out. Tri-Town, the state's original co-op, is getting contributions from up and down the roster but are certainly led by senior Andrew Gaines (3 G, 3 A), junior Mike Shuman (2 G, 3 A), senior Connor Roberts (2 G), senior Zach Roy (3 A) and junior Ben Kingsbury (G, A). Senior Zach Vargo has been solid in net for the Terrorcats this year allowing only two goals in each of their first two wins. First year Head Coach Kyle Fijalkowski is happy with where is team is right now but is eager to see what else they can do. "We're working towards playing great team defense and I think that showed Saturday night. I'm excited to see how much more we can improve as a team." The defensive end will certainly be the major area that Tri-Town will have to bolster down. There's no question about their elite offense and Fijalkowski is aware of this. "With the offensive talent and depth we have, we're going to score goals," Fijalkowski said when asked of his offensive firepower. Fijalkowski also commended his team's practice and work ethic and believed that's why Tri-Town's time of possession numbers were so high in their first game. Tri-Town has a week off and then take on the Eastern CT Eagles twice sandwiched with a game vs. Enfield Co-op.

Woodstock Rebuilds

They stood tall. They lived up to the hype and ultimately they embraced, they cried and they celebrated. Woodstock Academy was the tape to tape favorite at the DIII level last year and they won their first state boys ice hockey title. But as 7th year Head Coach Mike Starr prepares for games this year he does so without plans of writing in Ryan Black or Nathan Deluca's names. Gone are over 200 points of production and years a quality service to Centaur Nation. Also gone is goalie Cal Wilcox, last year's @CTHSHockey DIII Goalie of the Year. To make matters worse, Gunnar Moore and his 27 points from a year ago jumped ship to play junior hockey down south. This would cause many programs to shudder, to do everything possible to turn away from adversity and possibly even collapse. Regardless of their opening night loss to Westfield (MA), Coach Starr doesn't see this happening. "So far the start to the year has been pretty positive. We played really well in our scrimmage against East Catholic. Then faced a real tough team in Westfield. We had a solid week of practice leading up to Friday’s cancellation. There is still some mixing and matching of lines, making sure all the kids are really on the same page system-wise, but we are clicking, just need some game experience at this point." And experience is huge especially given the fact that many of the kids being thrust into the limelight hid quite well in the towering shadow of Black/Deluca last year. That's not a knock on the Avery Riva's and Doug Newton's of the world. Those guys produced last year in sub top line duty however these are the guys that are now going to be required to carry the lumber. At the end of the day, I agree with Coach Starr. The Centaurs will be okay. The growth that that program has seen since their first year of CIAC varsity hockey back in 2013-14 is astronomical. Will they drop a few ones they probably should have this year? No doubt. Would I want to go to Pomfret for a late season game or possibly the first round of playoffs? No way.

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