STAMFORD -- With a display of offensive fireworks in the second period, the No. 3 seed Darien boys hockey team turned a would-be competitive clash with fellow FCIAC powerhouse and No. 6 seed St. Joseph into a convincing 5-2 victory Saturday night at Terry Conners, earning a trip to the Division-I state semifinals.
Darien advances to take on No. 2 Notre Dame-West Haven on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Ingalls Rink at Yale University.
"I'm very proud of 23 guys. These guys have been a team all year. Our goal all year was to get back to Yale in the semifinals," Darien coach Chris Gerwig said. "We'll enjoy this for a little while, and we'll get back to work."
Entering the second period tied 1-1 after surrendering a late goal in the first period, Darien dominated the first half of the middle stanza.
Just 56 seconds in, Darien's Jack Knowlton scored to give his team the lead for good at 2-1. Eighteen seconds later, the Wave padded their lead when Trent Bergin and Owen Koorbusch set up Robert Juterbock's goal.
"They were all over us in the first seven minutes (of the first period) and then it really turned and the last half was ours," St. Joseph coach Marty Crouse said. "The first six minutes of the second was a disaster and that was the difference. Mistakes and turnovers killed us. The rest of the game was even or even our momentum."
With 2:06 remaining in the period, Darien extended its lead to four goals when Tommy Watters set up Knowlton for his second goal.
"We came out hard, we worked and we just did everything right. Our defense played well," Darien goalie Michael Collins said. "(The quick goals) were great, but we couldn't count St. Joe's out. The last time we played them, they scored four quick ones on us on a penalty. We knew we couldn't come out flat in the third."
Darien got its first goal early in the first period when Dana Wensberg assisted Watters on the powerplay, but St. Joseph countered with 53 seconds remaining in the first period when Sean Smith scored unassisted.
Darien's Brendan Hathaway is out for the season with a fractured ankle sustained against Ridgefield.
"These guys have really rounded around that, and they're doing it for him and for themselves," Gerwig said. "We feel like we're riding this momentum, and when you get to Yale, anything can happen."
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Darien 5, St. Joseph 2
ST. JOSEPH 1 0 1 -- 2
DARIEN 1 4 0 --5
Records: St. Joseph 16-5-1; Darien 18-2-2.
Goals: SJ -- Sean Smith, Christian Keator D -- Jack Knowlton 2, Tommy Watters, Robert Juterbock, Dillion Fitzpatrick. Assists: SJ -- Dominic DeRosa, Colin Powell; D -- Dana Wensberg, Owen Koorbusch, Trent Bergin, Jack Pardue, Watters. Goalies: SJ -- Marc Van Etten (23 saves). D -- Michael Collins (29).