STAMFORD -- The Blue Wave girls have been playing high-octane hockey all season, but for the FCIAC title game on Saturday Darien ramped up the intensity to an entirely new level. From the initial puck drop at Terry Conners Rink, the Wave were firing on all cylinders overwhelming Ridgefield, 8-1, to claim the FCIAC crown for the second year in a row.
"This is the best game I've seen them play all season," said Ridgefield head coach Lauren Gibbs. "They were all over us and played a very smart game."
When the two teams met in the final game of the regular season, Darien (13-0 in the FCIAC, 19-2 overall) just squeaked past Ridgefield (9-4, 10-8-1) with a 3-2 win.
"We were all in the zone and ready to play," said Blue Wave co-captain Sage Thacher, who said that her team showed up at the rink two hours early to get psyched up. "We knew Ridgefield would come out with everything they had, so we just buckled down."
Darien's scoring onslaught was led by Amanda Sload, Marissa Baker, and Georgia Cassidy, all of whom netted two goals. Additionally, Sload and Baker registered two assists and Cassidy had three.
Sload, who was named the game MVP, said, "I think anyone could have gotten the MVP. Winning the FCIAC's was the most important thing, and I just feel lucky to have received the award."
In the first period, Cassidy helped get the party started for the Wave when she took the puck down the right side and cut toward the net before deftly sliding the puck over to Baker whose shot to the low corner put Darien on the scoreboard.
The Wave took a 3-0 advantage into the first intermission after Sload scored on a power play and Baker netted her second.
The only scoring in the middle stanza came when Darien's Schuyler van den Broek tipped in a shot by Cassidy from the point. Baker also registered an assist on the play.
The Tigers finally came to life at the beginning of the third period. Just 22 seconds into that frame, Ridgefield's Meredith Keenan took a pass from Maeve Reilly and fired a riser from the high slot over the glove of goalie Shannon Hall. Keenan's goal cut the Wave lead to 4-1. Darien, however, was not going to let this one slip away and unleashed a barrage of four unanswered goals -- two from Cassidy, one from Sload, and the fourth from Lauren Cicero who scored on a power play.
The Wave went 3-for-7 on the power play while the Tigers were 0-for-5.
Ridgefield goalie Michaela Gleeson turned away 23 shots and Hall stopped 10 for Darien.
Following the game, Gibbs reflected on the Tigers' season.
"I couldn't be more proud of my girls. We have a short bench, and every game they responded, worked hard and played to the end." Read Full Article
Darien 8, Ridgefield 1
DARIEN 3 1 4-- 8
RIDGEFIELD: 0 0 1--1
Goals: Darien--Amanda Sload 2, Georgia Cassidy 2, Marissa Baker 2, Schuyler van den Broek 1. Ridgefield--Meredith Keenan 1. Assists: Darien--Georgia Cassidy 3, Amanda Sload 2, Sage Thacher 2, Kirby Chandler 2, Katie Zaro 1, Marissa Baker 1, Ellie Bennett1, Allegra Molkenthin 1, Sammy Nielsen 1. Ridgefield--Reilly 1
Goalies: D--Shannon Hall (10 saves); R--Michaela Gleeson (23 saves)