DARIEN -- The Darien Ice Rink was rocking Monday night as the archrival Darien and New Canaan girls hockey teams clashed for FCIAC supremacy. While each side had its chances in a spirited game, the New Canaan juggernaut could not be stopped and ended up blanking Darien 2-0.
With the win, the Rams improved to a perfect 10-0 overall and 6-0 in the FCIAC, while the Blue Wave fell to 7-2-1 and 5-1, respectively.
"Darien's a lot of fun to play, for a lot of reasons," said New Canaan captain Madzie Carroll, who scored the game's first goal. "They're a great team, they're really well coached and they're relentless."
"The game was really close, the periods were really tight," New Canaan captain Corbett Ripley said. "The rivalry is at its peak."
A large and lively crowd fed into that rivalry, ratcheting up the intensity level for both sides. The game remained close to the end, with neither team able to deal a knock-out blow. The Rams had an edge in shots, 30-22, but were also whistled for more penalties, six versus five for the Wave, and neither team found the back of the net in the first period.
It was not until halfway through the second stanza that New Canaan's Olivia Hompe let loose a shot from the blue line which bounced around in traffic in front of the net and was finally put away by Carroll.
Ripley also registered an assist on the play.
New Canaan added to its lead in the final frame when Hompe went top shelf over the glove of Darien goalie Shannon Hall for an unassisted tally. The goal was Hompe's 198th of her Ram hockey career.
The Rams goalie, Nathalie Deney, was a brick wall between the pipes, notching her third shutout of the season.
"There is a lot I can say about New Canaan," Darien captain Lily Christensen said. "They're a great team, but we're going to figure out how to beat them. It's a learning experience; I think we psyched ourselves out a little too much. We have to keep our heads up and don't let it bother us."
Darien's head coach, Jamie Tropsa, had a similar take.
"We should not be intimidated by who New Canaan is; they are a very good hockey team, but we have to realize that we are also a very good hockey team," Tropsa said. "We just have to learn to take advantage of our opportunities when we get them, because we definitely had them."
A golden scoring opportunity for the Wave came with just two minutes left in the game. Darien was awarded a penalty shot after New Canaan was called for hooking on a Darien break away.
The Wave's Sage Thacher took the puck from center ice, deked left then right and just missed getting it past Deney who was able to deflect the shot.
NEW CANAAN 2, DARIEN 0
New Canaan 0 1 1 -- 2
Darien 0 0 0 -- 0
Records: New Canaan 10-0 (6-0 FCIAC); Darien 7-2-1 (5-1 FCIAC).
Goals: NC--Madzie Carroll, Olivia Hompe. Assists: NC--Corbett Ripley, Hompe. Goalies: NC--Nathalie Deney (22 saves); D--Shannon Hall (28). Shots: NC--30; D--22.