Boys Ice hockey: Darien 3, Stamford/Westhill Co-op 2 (OT)
Published 12:40 am, Wednesday, January 25, 2017
STAMFORD — William Johnston bailed Darien out Saturday evening.
But somehow, with just 19 seconds left before a tie, Johnston found a loose puck on the right side of the net and cut hard to his left, wrapping it around and in to give Darien a 3-2 OT road win.
“It was super exciting,” Johnston said of the goal. “19 seconds left in overtime is cutting it close, we were all just super happy with the win.”
From a coaching standpoint, the emotions were slightly different.
While the win brings Darien to 4-5 on the season, and maintained its perfect 3-0 start to conference play, the execution Saturday was far from crisp.
“I felt like we got outplayed honestly in the second and third period,” Darien coach Mac Budd said. “It seemed like we had a good first period, I was happy with the first. We had good puck movement, and for the most part we were doing well with our adjustments and I felt like we were getting pucks to the net — we got two goals and seemed to be in control of the game.”
Darien scored just over a minute in behind a pair of sophomores as CJ Hathaway found James Gregory to break the ice.
William Dickson bookended the first for Darien, tallying with just over a minute to play in the opening stanza.
“The second, it came unraveled,” Budd said. “We took a penalty or two and we lost our poise a little bit. The momentum changed there without a doubt and from that point on they outplayed us; I was happy to get the victory at the end of that game; it was quite lucky.”
Stamford got stronger as the game went on, a seemingly impossible feat given that it was skating just five forwards and three defensemen.
“We’re ecstatic with our guys’ performance tonight,” co-Head Coach John Santagata said. “They had four lines going, for us this is close to a win. I got two guys out of the lineup with a concussion, one with a fracture, if we have them in the lineup it’s a totally different story.”
Santagata’s analysis of the contest was in-step with Budd’s.
“We outskated them, we outshot them, we worked hard,” Santagata said. “I’m really proud of our guys tonight, they did a hell of a job. We’re starting to turn the season around and we’re pleased with what we saw tonight.”
While Darien has the pedigree and the talent to be successful in the FCIAC, there is one glowing deficiency holding the Blue Wave back.
“Our penalties and lack of discipline bother me more than anything,” said Budd of a Darien team that committed five penalties on the night, including one in overtime. “The guys who are getting the penalties won’t be playing any longer and that’s all there is to it, I’m deeply disappointed more than anything.”
DARIEN 3, STAMFORD/WESTHILL 2 (OT)
DARIEN 2 0 0 1—3
STAMFORD/WESTHILL 0 0 2 0—2
Records: Darien 4-5, 3-0 FCIAC; Stamford/Westhill 5-4, 1-1. Goals: D—James Gregory, William Dickson, William Johnston; S—Gavin Dolan, Owen Kilian. Assists: D—CJ Hathaway, Johnston. Goalies: D—Henri Pfeifle (23 saves); S—Christian Complottaro (14). Shots: D—17; S—25.