Darien stretched its unbeaten streak to five games by hitting the Fairfield co-op with a barrage of goals Wednesday night at the Darien Ice Rink for a 6-2 victory in an FCIAC boys ice hockey game.
The Blue Wave and Fairfield battled to a 1-1 tie entering the second period after skating on even terms. After Owen Koorbusch gave Darien a 2-1 lead a half-minute into the period by completing a two-on-one break with Robbie Juterbock, the Fairfield goal was unlocked in front of goalie Kyle Greenhut, one of Fairfield’s most reliable players this season.
In a span of 6:24, Darien was skating with a 6-1 lead. Greenhut was replaced by sophomore Mike Grace and Fairfield settled down.
Darien improved to 4-1-1 overall and 3-0-1 in the conference. Fairfield, the defending CIAC Division II champions, dropped to 2-5-0 overall and 2-1-0 in the FCIAC after having won two straight.
“We were a little flat at the start of the second period,” Fairfield coach Mark Pettorini said. “They peppered us, and that took a little wind out of our sails. We were flat and legless. The last five minutes of the period we played all right.
“Against a team like Darien, it’s a long shot to bounce back from. They are probably the top team in (the state in) Division I right now. Give them a tiny bit of breathing room, and they will put the puck in the net.”
Following Koorbusch’s go-ahead goal, the Blue Wave pressed to the attack. Craig Miller scored the third Darien goal 17 seconds later. The third goal in the spree — and fourth of the game for Darien— came 4:16 later on Miller’s feed to Jack Pardue 5:03 into the period. Tommy Watters found the net for Darien 1:45 after Pardue’s tally. Six seconds later, Watters netted another goal, converting a pass from Juterbock.
Darien junior goalie Will Massie gave up a goal to Trevor Demilt with 1:50 remaining in the second period. Demilt had given the co-op of players from Warde and Ludlowe a 1-0 lead by blasting home a shot from deep on the right wing 2:45 into the first period. That was answered by Tiger Sullivan’s short-handed goal at 7:08.
For Massie, it was his first career win in his first start as a varsity goalie.
“We just made a little bit of an adjustment for the second period,” Darien coach Chris Gerwig said. “They (Fairfield) were doing a good job on their forecheck. We settled down in the second period and played the way we know that we can.
“When we weren’t playing well in front of Will (Massie), he weathered the storm. Our defense did a good job in the second period getting our transition game going and settling us down. We like to play at a high tempo.”
Darien’s senior line of Watters, Koorbusch and Juterbock asserted itself in the second period, Gerwig said, then the second line of Pardue, Miller and Conor Davis joined in. Once the Blue Wave got up by five goals, Gerwig said, he gave the third- and fourth-line players an opportunity to get experience.
Fairfield’s goaltending change was not purely intended to shake things up, Pettorini said. “I did not want my starting goalie getting peppered like that,” Pettorini said. “It gave him (Greenhut) a chance to relax and to give Mike (Grace) a chance. Mike played great.”
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Darien 6, Fairfield 2
FAIRFIELD1 1 0—2
DARIEN1 5 0—6
Records: Fairfield 2-5-0, 2-1-0 FCIAC; Darien 4-1-1, 3-0-1 FCIAC. Goals: F—Trevor Demilt 2; D—Tommy Watters 2, Tiger Sullivan, Owen Koorbusch, Craig Miller, Jack Pardue. Assists: F—Matthew Stern, PJ O’Reilly, Owen Emmoendorfer; D—Robbie Juterbock 2, Sam Knowlton, Pardue, Conor Davis, Miller, Nick Tuzinkiewicz. Goalies: F—Kyle Greenhut (10 saves), Mike Grace (6 saves); D—Will Massie (21 saves). Shots: F—23; D—22.