WEST HAVEN -- The bullseye is getting bigger.
But the Darien High School boys ice hockey team continues to embrace the challenge.
The Blue Wave continued their reign in the Division I penthouse Saturday by posting a convincing 2-1 triumph over West Haven on the road at Bennett Rink.
"We played well throughout. We had to be resilient because we couldn't solve their goalie," said Darien head coach Chris Gerwig. "I'm very proud that we won on the road, in the afternoon in a difficult place like Bennett rink. Our staff is very pleased."
It was a successful business trip for Darien (10-1-1), which hasn't lost since opening night against Hamden.
The Blue Wave -- No. 3 in the state Division I standings behind Notre Dame-West Have and Fairfield Prep -- dominated possession for nearly the entire 45 minutes. Darien's offense was stymied by West Haven junior goalie Mike Savino (33 saves).
"Savino made some great saves. But there were a number of rebounds we couldn't get to around the net," Gerwig said. "The fans got their money's worth today."
After a scoreless first period, Darien broke through with 5:02 left in the second period.
Jack Pardue tallied from the left circle off a behind the net feed from Connor Davis for 1-0.
"I was able to make the same play twice to Jack and the second pass was the charm," Davis said. "Jack beat the goalie with a low shot."
It was Davis who made it 2-0 with 12:17 left in the third period.
"Aidan Loh did a great job of chipping the puck to me," Davis recounted. "I was able to beat the goalie to the top left corner."
The goals were a reflection of the depth of the Darien squad.
"I have three forward lines and three defense pairings," Gerwig said. "I also feel like we have two No. 1 scoring lines. Our other forward line got shut out, but Pardue, Davis and Craig Miller got the goals we needed today." Read Full Article
Defenseman Alex Scranton tallied on the powerplay for West Haven (5-5-1) with 3:49 to go for 2-1.
But the Darien defense (Nicholas Allam, Sam Knowlton, Jack Massie, Nicholas Tuzinkiewicz, Brendan Cassidy and Loh) responded to the challenge in front of senior goalie Michael Colon (13 saves).
"We relish working hard. We relish close games," Davis said. "It's great to play as many Division I teams as we do. We have 10 seniors and we feel this is our year to do it in the playoffs."
West Haven head coach Joe Morrell certainly came away a believer Saturday.
"I'm impressed by how few goals they've allowed (two or less in all but one contest) this season," Morrell said. "We didn't quit. But Darien is No. 1 in the state for a reason. We play Darien, Notre Dame-Fairfield and Notre Dame-West Haven back-to-back-to-back. I think we'll get a lot out of this week."
Darien 2, West Haven 1
DARIEN 0 1 1--2
WEST HAVEN 0 0 1--1
Records: Darien 10-1-1; West Haven 5-5-1.
Goals: D--Jack Pardue, Connor Davis. WH--Alex Scranton. Assists: D--Davis, Aidan Loh. WH--Jaeson Puleo, Devin Hines. Goalies: D--Michael Colon (13 saves). WH--Michael Savino (33 saves).