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The St. Joseph boys hockey team ran into a fired-up Ridgefield squad eager to avenge two postseason losses to the Cadets last year.
Sean Wilkinson and Christopher Morrow each scored two goals as Ridgefield overwhelmed St. Joseph 6-0 at the Terry Conners Rink to advance to Saturday's tier one finals against Darien (6 p.m.).
The Blue Wave reached the final with a 5-2 victory over New Canaan in the first game of Wednesday's semifinal doubleheader.
Ridgefield hadn't play in more than a week, but there was no sign of rust Tigers came out flying, peppering Cadets goaltender Ron Johnson with 21 shots in the first period.
St. Joseph (15-7) couldn't keep up with Ridgefield's speed, especially Wilkinson, who was the best player on the ice.
The Tigers bear Johnson twice in the first period, but it could have been a whole lot worse if not for the sometimes spectacular play of the St. Joseph netminder.
Ridgefield finally broke throw on Morrow's first goal with 4:36 left in the first period before Terrance Guider made it 2-0 1:22 later.
The Tigers broke it open, however, with three goals in the first 5:17 of the second. Wilkinson tallied his first on the power play at 1:45, Vincent Rella beat Johnson with a wrister from the right circle and 3:02 and Morrow converted a feed from Timothy Kelly at 5:17.
Wilkinson capped the scoring with the prettiest goal on the night, using his speed to registered a shorthanded breakaway goal at 7:18.
Ridgefield dominated throughout, outshooting St. Joseph 46-18, although the Cadets did blank the Tigers in the third period when Marc VanEtten replaced Johnson and made 11 saves.
After completing only the second undefeated season in Vito Montelli's 50 years as coach, the boys basketball team has earned the top seed in the Class LL state tournament.
The Cadets secured the No. 1 seed over Hillhouse and Hartford Public, who also went 20-0 in the regular season, and will host No. 32 seed Shelton (8-12) in the first round on Tuesday (7 p.m.).
For the second straight year, St. Joseph was shocked by the No. 8 seed in the quarterfinals of the FCIAC playoffs, falling to Bridgeport Central 62-58 last Saturday.
A year ago, St. Joseph regrouped to win the 10th state championship in school history and first since 2001. The Cadets are hoping to follow a similiar path this season.
The Class LL bracket is stacked, however. In addition to Hillhouse and Hartford Public, it features No. 4 Windsor (19-1), No.5 New London (18-2), which moved up after winning the Class L title last year, No. 6 Fairfield Prep (18-2), which lost to the Cadets in last year's final, and No. 7 Crosby (18-2).
Assuming they get past the Gaels, the Cadets would face either No. 16 Cheshire or No. 17 Stamford in the second round on Thursday.
In the quarterfinals, St. Joseph could get No.9 seed Ridgefield while a possible semifinal battle with Windsor is looming down the road.
Hillhouse, which lost to Career in the SCC final, and Hartford Public are in the bottom half of the bracket and wouldn't play St. Joseph until the state final.
The Trumbull and St. Joseph girls basketball teams each will host second-round games in the Class LL state tournament on Thursday.
The eighth-seeded Eagles, who were fortunate to escape with a 39-37 win over No. 25 seed Bristol Eastern on Monday, welcomes No 9 seed Newtown.
No. 7 St. Joseph, which held on to beat Westhill 57-47 after building a 23-point halftime lead, entertains No. 10 seed Mercy. Both games get under way at 7 p.m.
Newtown advanced with a 71-41 win over No. 24 Amity while Mercy will be playing its second straight FCIAC opponent after eliminating No. 23 Stamford 52-37 on Monday.
Trumbull is one game away from a possible quarterfinal rematch against undefeated Danbury, which defeated the Eagles in the FCIAC finals. The Hatters, who are 24-0, host No. 16 Sacred Heart Academy with the winner meeting the Trumbull-Newtown survivor on Monday.
Trumbull is looking to advance to the quarterfinals for the second straight year. Last season, the Eagles bowed to eventual state champion Career Magnet 64-52 in the round of eight as the top seed.
St. Joseph is looking to win a second state tournament game without leading scorer Nany Stablein, who is out for the season after suffering a torn ACL in the Cadets' loss to Stamford in the FCIAC playoffs.
The St. Joseph-Mercy winner takes on either No. 2 Lauralton Hall or No. 15 East Catholic in the quarterfinals.
FCIAC semifinals, at Terry Conners Rink
Darien 5, New Canaan 2
Ridgefield 6, St. Joseph 0
FCIAC finals, ppnd to Friday, 4:30 p.m. at Westhill
Newtown at Trumbull, 7 p.m, Class LL second round
Mercy at St. Joseph, 7 p.m., Class LL second round
Overall RecordWesthill* 13-5 14-6 Danbury*l 10-8 12-8 Bridgeport Central* 10-8 11-8 Greenwich 9-9 11-9 Trumbull 9-9 10-10 Staples 8-10 9-11
Overall RecordRidgefield* 13-5 15-5 Stamford* 11-7 12-8 Fairfield Ludlowe 9-9 9-11 Norwalk 8-10 10-10 McMahon 4-14 4-16 Harding 3-15 4-16
Overall RecordSt. Joseph* 18-0 20-0 Trinity Catholic* 14-4 15-5 Bassick* 13-5 15-5 Fairfield-Warde 9-9 11-9 Wilton 8-10 10-10 Darien 1-17 2-18 New Canaan 1-17 2-18
FCIAC RecordOverall Record Danbury* 18-0 22-0 Trumbull* 15-3 19-3 Staples 11-7 12-8 Westhill 10-8 11-9 Greenwich 4-14 4-16 Bridgeport Central 1-16 2-17
Central DivisionNorwalk* 13-5 15-6 Stamford* 11-7 12-10 Fairfield Ludlowe 7-11 8-12 Ridgefield 7-11 7-13 McMahon 3-15 3-17 Harding 2-15 4-15
East DivisionSt. Joseph* 15-3 17-4 Wilton* 13-5 15-6 Trinity Catholic* 12-6 13-8 Darien* 11-7 12-9 Fairfield Warde 10-8 12-8 New Canaan 8-10 10-10 Bassick 0-18 0-20
BOYS HOCKEYEast DivisionFCIAC RecordFCIAC PointsOverall RecordDarien* 11-1 22 14-5-0 Ridgefield* 11-1 20 18-2-0 St. Joseph* 9-3 18 13-7-0 New Canaan* 8-4 16 12-7-1 Wilton* 8-4 16 10-10-0 Trinity Catholic* 8-4 16 9-11-0 Stamford 4-8 8 6-13-1West DivisionFCIAC RecordFCIAC PointsOverall RecordFairfield 7-5 14 9-11-0 Westhill 5-7 10 5-12-2 Trumbull 4-8 8 11-9-0 Staples 2-10 4 8-11-0 Greenwich 1-11 2 3-17-0 Norwalk/McMahon 0-12 0 2-18-0
TeamsFCIAC RecordFCIAC PtsOverall RecordNew Canaan* 14-0 28 19-1 Ridgefield* 10-3-1 21 13-5-1 Greenwich* 10-4 20 12-5-1 Darien* 9-4-1 19 11-6-1 Fairfield 4-9 8 6-10-0 Wilton 4-9 8 5-11-1 Staples-Trumbull 3-11 6 6-12-0 Stamford 0-14 0 1-14-0