The FCIAC playoffs were on the mind of the Staples-Weston-Shelton boys hockey team on Thursday night, as a 5-2 win over Westhill set up a virtual play-in game with Fairfield co-op in the season finale next week.

Or so the co-op thought.

The Wreckers found out immediately after the win that they would be ineligible for the postseason as Weston and Shelton are not members of the FCIAC. An FCIAC rule states that co-ops that do not include a member school cannot participate in the postseason, according to Warde AD Seth Fry.

The Staples coaching staff and its players were completely unaware they wouldn't be allowed to participate until the FCIAC tweeted the news out soon after Thursday's game.

"We had no idea we wouldn't be in it, and that's a goal we wanted to have," said Staples junior Ryan Johnson, who attends Weston, prior to Friday's practice. "We play an FCIAC schedule, we want to be in it."

Wreckers coach Todd Sharinn said Monday that it would all be moot if the Wreckers don't prevail against Fairfield, but added if they pull off the mild upset would deserve to qualify.

"My focus is on winning Wednesday," Sharinn said. "I coach to win just like every game; my focus is on getting my kids ready. Fairfield is an excellet team with a great record. No final decision has been rendered yet. That said if Fairfield can feel good about losing and going to FCIACs, then shame on them; that's a shallow, empty win."

New Canaan AD Jay Egan -- who runs the boys hockey tournament for the FCIAC -- said Monday in an email to refer to the FCIAC standings page, which claims the Wreckers are ineligible. He wouldn't confirm if the decision was final. Trumbull AD Mike King, who is the president of the conference, said Monday he is investigating the matter.

Eighteen of the 22 varsity players on the roster attend Staples, which was allowed to participate in the postseason a year ago and has done so in the past. Weston has been a part of the program for well over a decade and Shelton was added in 2011.

"I think it's definitely a challenge being a Division III team having to compete in the FCIAC all year, with all the D1 and D2 talent that's obviously there," Staples junior defenseman Ian Offenberg said. "We wish we would have known 18 months ago; we're no different than we are now."

Staples' win over Westhill locked up the final spot for the Fairfield co-op, which could have been caught by the Vikings.

"I don't have the bandwith to waste my time with why, when or how it happened," Sharinn said. "It's interesting to find out all of a sudden that we didn't know all season, beat Westhill and miracously it's on the (FCIAC) website. It wasn't there all season long, I check the season standings as do my players. They never called us or told us at any earlier part of the season. They grandfathered us in (last season) and they would likely have done so again."

The only other example of this in boys hockey is Danbury, -- which co-ops with Brookfield and Bethel -- but that team plays a SWC-SCC schedule.

Fairfield (12-6, 6-5 FCIAC) and Staples (10-8, 5-6) faceoff Wednesday at the Wonderland of Ice in Bridgeport. The FCIAC reduced the number of playoff teams from eight to six this season.