DARIEN -- The Lancers of Notre Dame-Fairfield gave Darien all it could handle on Saturday evening in a game that the Blue Wave owned for the first two periods. Notre Dame forced the game into overtime after a wild third period at Darien Ice Rink.
Thanks in large part to the heroics of Darien captain Brendan Hathaway, who notched a hat trick plus an assist, the Wave came through with a 5-4 victory.
"We made it harder for ourselves, but it's good that we came out with the win," Hathaway said. "There are lots of things we'll have to tighten up to win big games down the stretch."
With the win, Darien remains unbeaten, improving to 3-0-1. Notre Dame meanwhile drops to 1-2.
Halfway through the first period, Darien's Patrick Collins lit the lamp first when he received a pass from Trent Bergin and then put it past Notre Dame goalie Stone Denbok to give Darien the lead. Aidan Loh also registered an assist on the play.
Three minutes later, Darien scored its first powerplay goal of the game when Hathaway circled behind the net and fed the puck to Bergin in front, who wristed it top shelf.
The Lancers began to show some fire in the second period when sophomore Jonathan Suporn stunned Darien with a short-handed goal, which cut Notre Dame's deficit in half.
Darien answered back a few minutes later with a short-handed goal of its own when Hathaway collected an errant pass, found himself on a breakaway, did a little toe drag and put it in the back of the net. The Wave went to their locker room at the second intermission with a 3-1 advantage.
In the final stanza, the tempo quickened.
Suporn scored his second of the evening on a Notre Dame power play with just under five minutes remaining in the game.
Darien swarmed in front of the Lancers' net where Hathaway got a rebound from a shot by Jack Knowlton and sent it past Denbok to put the Wave on top with 1:07 remaining in the game.
Notre Dame pulled its goalie for an extra skater in the final minute of play and Christian La Croix got the puck past Colon with 25 seconds remaining to send the game to overtime.
Notre Dame was whistled for hooking halfway into the overtime period, and on the ensuing powerplay, Hathaway fired the puck from the slot for the game-winner.
Darien coach Chris Gerwig had mixed feelings after the game.
"We got a little complacent with that 3-1 lead, and we stopped playing," Gerwig said. "We were still thinking about trying to score goals, and we didn't concentrate on defense first. We got sloppy there at the end."
Gerwig was pleased with the offensive firepower of his first line of Hathaway, Knowlton and Bergin.
"That line is probably one of the top lines flying around the state right now," Gerwig said. "They're producing game in and game out."
Gerwig opted to start his backup goalie Michael Colon.
"Mike played great until we stopped playing defense in front of him," Gerwig said.
Notre Dame coach Steve Hetherman felt there were positives to take away from the game despite the loss.
"It's a young group and they're learning," Hetherman said. "What you saw tonight was a maturation of the boys in which they began to believe in themselves."
Darien senior co-captain Dana Wensberg was hurt in the first period and saw only limited skating time in the remainder of the game.
Colon turned away 28 shots for the Blue Wave, and Denbok stopped 21 shots for the Lancers.
Notre Dame was one-for-four on the power play, while Darien was two-for-three.
Up next, the Lancers host New Canaan on Saturday, and the Blue Wave will take on the No. 1 ranked team in the state, Notre Dame-West Haven, on Wednesday, Jan. 2 in West Haven.
DARIEN 5, NOTRE DAME-FAIRFIELD 4
Darien....................... 2 1 1 1 5
Notre Dame-Fairfield 0... 1 3 0 4
Goals: ND--Suporn (2), Khorasani, La Croix; D--Hathway (3), Collins, Bergin. Assists: ND--LaCroix (2), Sereno, Gintolli; D-- Bergin (2), Loh, Hathaway, Knowlton. Goalies: ND--Stone Denbok (20 saves); D--Michael Colon (28). Shots: ND--32 D--17.