When a team falls just a single win shy of a conference championship, chances are that the goals for next season include getting back to the title game and leaving with a different result.
The Darien boys hockey team is certainly no exception to that rule.
"We've got a lot of young talent coming up, a lot of speed and a very powerful offensive core. Obviously, the FCIAC championship is high on our esteem right now," Darien captain and defenseman Dana Wensberg said. "Also, we're looking forward to some of the big games in the regular season like (Fairfield) Prep, New Canaan, Hamden -- the usual big programs."
Under first year coach Chris Gerwig, the Blue Wave completed last season with a 16-6 record, but they were defeated in the FCIAC championship game 3-2 by Ridgefield, leaving them with some unfinished business for 2012-13.
"For the first year, it was satisfying to get there, but I think we're going to be a little greedy this year and try to get there and win it," Gerwig said. "We really like our team so far this year."
Darien lost all three of last year's captains (Hank Glick, Max Rothston and Nick Bruno) to graduation, along with Hunt Bartram, Grayson Horan, Griffin Cook, Alec Foresta, George Gregory and Michael Casey.
Despite the losses, Darien appears to be in prime position to make another run at an FCIAC title.
Darien's new captains are last year's leading goal-scorer and forward Brendan Hathaway, forward Trent Bergin and Wensberg, and the trio likes what they've seen thus far, including a 5-0 scrimmage win over Ridgefield on Saturday.
"We have good chemistry and a good flow," Hathaway said. "We had to come out against them hard because they knocked us out of FCIACs last year, so it felt good to put up some goals against a good team. It was tough losing last year, so (getting back is) definitely one of our main goals."
"We were pretty hungry for that win," Wensberg said. "We came out, showed them who's boss and it's a really good sign of things to come."
The three captains will be counted on to provide some offensive fireworks for the Wave.
"Those guys are going to be dangerous," Gerwig said. "I don't know if I'm going to have them on the same line or not."
Rothston was an all-state goalie for the Blue Wave, but Gerwig believes senior Michael Collins is ready to fill that void.
"We're looking for him to be the guy on paper and be our No. 1," Gerwig said. "It's not set in stone yet."
Although his lines are always somewhat subject to change, Gerwig provided a rough draft of his probable lineup for Darien's first game of the season at the Darien Ice Rink against Hamden on Wednesday at 3:50 p.m.
"Those are the top seven forwards. I'm also thinking about some other things too," Gerwig said. "We've got a jamboree this Saturday against Greenwich and New Canaan, so that's going to be something else where I can kind of experiment and try some different combinations."
According to Gerwig, the trio of Waters, Koorbusch and Juterbock are likely to play on the same line, either the second or third.
"We're heavy-loaded up front with a lot of experience," Gerwig said. "We might be using (Waters-Koorbusch-Juterbock) as a little surprise or even as a third line to match up with other teams and give teams headaches."
Darien believes its depth could bode well, particularly during a potential playoff run at the end of a grueling 20-game regular season schedule.
"We've got lots of depth at forward and we're young at defense. We're returning four of our top six forwards," Bergin said. "So far, I see that our depth is not going to be touched in the FCIAC right now. We have three strong lines that I think could play first line anywhere else in the FCIAC."
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