Darien, St. Joseph battle to wild 4-4 OT tie
Published 10:51 pm, Wednesday, February 6, 2013
DARIEN -- If this is a preview of what the FCIAC boys ice hockey playoffs will be like, those battles will be dandy.
The St. Joseph boys ice hockey team scored four power-play goals during a 5-minute man advantage in the second period, but Darien was able to regroup and rally for a 4-4 overtime tie Wednesday night at the Darien Ice Rink.
"We played well in our 5-2 victory over Greenwich Tuesday. But I felt this was our best effort. Darien is the best skating team we've faced all season," St. Joseph head coach Marty Crouse said. "To compete like this is great."
With the stretch run of the FCIAC regular season underway, the road to the FCIAC Championship figures to be a four-way fight.
Ridgefield (8-1 FCIAC), New Canaan (7-1), St. Joseph (6-1-1) and Darien (7-0-1) are in the upper echelon.
With four strong contenders, playoff seeding will not be as critical.
Darien (12-1-2 overall) led 2-0 after one period. Brendan Hathaway put home a rebound with 2:19 left in the period and just 18 seconds after St. Joseph killed off a penalty.
Davis scored again in the second, this time into the top right corner of the net off a Tom Watters pass with 6:41 left in the period for a 3-0 edge.
Darien appeared on its way to an impressive victory when the momentum changed.
Senior captain and defenseman Dana Wensberg elbowed a St. Joseph player in the head and into the boards at the blueline with 5:13 to go in the second period.
The result was a five-minute St. Joseph powerplay as well as an ejection and automatic one-game suspension for Wensberg, who had missed seven games this season with a shoulder injury.
The Cadets (11-4-1 overall) began their comeback.
Matt Greenhut tallied at 4:38 followed by Dom DeRosa at 3:30 for 3-2.
Darien called timeout and turned to junior Michael Colon in net.
But St. Joseph kept coming as Christian Keator tallied at 2:51 and 2:12 for a 4-3 Cadets lead.
"Putting pucks on net and fighting for rebounds. That's our game on the powerplay," Keator said.
Darien, however, refused to fold. Senior captain Trent Bergin scored with 12:47 left in the third period to forge a 4-4 deadlock.
The St. Joseph powerplay had one chance towards the end of the eight-minute overtime, but couldn't cash in.
Darien was also shorthanded when forward Owen Koorbusch left less than six minutes into the contest after taking a slap shot in the hand that resulted in severe finger injury.
"We were in control until that 5-minute powerplay. In all, we killed four penalties and that's too many," Darien coach Chris Gerwig said. "That is the first time in my hockey coaching career I can remember seeing four goals on one powerplay. But Michael Colon did a great job in the heat of battle in net in the third period and overtime. This was a night where the luxury of having three good goalies came in handy.
"We salvaged the tie. And we found out how good St. Joseph is," Gerwig continued. "We will cross paths with them again."
Darien has challenges ahead as contests against Ridgefield, New Canaan and Fairfield Prep remain in the regular season.
St. Joseph is ready to rumble in the postseason as well.
"We shot well to score four on the long powerplay. We didn't get any shots on the power play in overtime," Crouse said. "Darien is strong. We skated well. We would have loved to win. We're happy with a tie. We did a lot of things right tonight."
St. Joseph 4, Darien 4 (OT)
ST. JOSEPH 0 4 0 0--4
DARIEN 2 1 1 0--4
Records: St. Joseph 11-4-1, 6-1-1 FCIAC; Darien 12-1-2, 7-0-1 FCIAC.
Goals: StJ -- Matt Greenhut, Dom DeRosa, Christian Keator 2. D -- Brendan Hathaway, Connor Davis 2, Trent Bergin. Assists: StJ -- Keator 2, Colin Powell, Ryan Corcoran. D -- Jack Pardue, Jack Knowlton, Tom Watters.
Goalies: StJ -- Marc Van Etten (25 saves). D -- Michael Collins (20 saves), Michael Colon (16 saves).
Highlights: D -- Defenseman Dana Wensberg ejected for elbow to the head penalty. Will be suspended for DHS' next game.