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Friday, November 16 High School Sports

Darien skates past New Canaan in OT

DARIEN—Both Darien coach Mac Budd and New Canaan’s Clark Jones thought Friday’s matchup between the rivals would be a much different affair than the first time the two teams met this season.

They were right.

The winning team remained the same as Darien came away with a 3-2 overtime victory, but the play was much different than on Dec. 23, an 8-1 drubbing by the Blue Wave.

“It was a great high school hockey game, that’s what I expected,” Darien coach Mac Budd said. “You get New Canaan and Darien and that’s the game that you come to expect…you got an opportunity to see the skill and the speed of two very, very good high school hockey teams. It was just too bad one team had to lose.”

With a minute left in regulation, it seemed like Darien (7-8-1, 6-1-1 FCIAC), trailing 2-1, might be that team. After pulling the goalie for an extra attacker, Will Dickson sneaked a shot through the five-hole from the left circle, tying the game and setting up overtime.

“I just came around the corner and he gave me a little bit of space, so I took the shot,” Dickson said of the tally, his second of the game. “Luckily it snuck through. This team doesn’t give up so it was big to get that — huge momentum shift.”

In overtime, a gassed Bennett McDermott slid a shot far-side from the left point that found its way through a screen and in for the game-winner.

“I mean, I was just dead,” the sophomore said. “Full shift going as hard as I could, just put it to the net and good things happen…just put everything you got out there. This is our rival, we need to do everything we can to be the team on top. We know we’re better than them, so we did it for the rest of our town and our fans.”

After a scoreless first, Dickson scored midway through the second on a power play snipe from the slot. Three minutes later New Canaan’s (6-9, 3-4) Gunnar Granito tipped in Walker Ker’s power play slap shot.

Early in the third, Ker put New Canaan up—again on a power play—with a long shot from the high slot.

“We talked about the process of playing structurally and making good decisions and I thought today, for the most part, we played a really solid game,” Ram first-year coach Jones said. “We played at a great pace. Our forecheck was working for a lot of the game.”

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Dickson, Darien. It could have gone to a number of players on either end, but the Darien captain scored two goals—including the equalizer with a minute left in regulation—to lead the Wave.

STANDING TALL

While the final score was tame, it could have easily been a barn-burner as both forechecks were buzzing throughout the game. Both junior goalies, Darien’s Henri Pfeifle and New Canaan’s Dylan Shane, tallied 24 saves to keep their respective squads in the game.

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“Unbelievable,” Jones said of Shane’s performance. “He plays big. He’s so calm and he made some huge saves during pivotal moments that can derail you, and he stepped up and made the play, which is great.”

UPHILL BATTLE

While the loss doesn’t eliminate the Rams from the FCIAC tournament, they are fighting upstream to secure a spot. They have their shot, however, with four of their remaining five games coming in-conference.

“It’s just focus on how we’re playing,” Jones said. “If we play the right way, generally we’re going to have the right result, so that’s our focus. We’re trying not to focus so much on (the playoffs) or rankings and just continue to get better at what we’re supposed to do.”

aparelli@bcnnew.com @reportedbytheAP

DARIEN 3, NEW CANAAN 2 (OT)

DARIEN 0 1 1 1—3

NEW CANAAN 0 1 1 0—2

Records: Darien 7-8-1, 6-1-1 FCIAC; New Canaan 6-9, 3-4. Goals: D—Will Dickson 2, Bennett McDermott; NC—Gunnar Granito, Walker Ker. Assists: Ker, Seamus O’Hora. Goalies: D—Henri Pfeifle (24 saves); NC—Dylan Shane (24). Shots: D—27; NC—26.

Anthony E. Parelli|Sports Writer, Sports Editor

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