WEST HAVEN-- Five penalty minutes killed.
Two senior captains sidelined.
One remarkable victory captured for top-rated Darien.
Behind a pair of goals from Dillon Fitzpatrick, the Darien boys hockey team (16-1-1, 11-0-1 FCIAC) bested No. 3 Notre Dame-West Haven (11-4-2) 2-1 in overtime Monday afternoon at Bennett Rink. Fitzpatrick tipped home the game-winner three minutes into the extra period, moments after the Blue Wave killed off a five-minute major whistled with 3:31 left in regulation. The penalty resulted in the ejection of captain Mark Koorbusch, who was soon joined off the ice by fellow captain Tommy Watters due to an injury.
"We knew it was going to be a dogfight coming in here," said Darien coach Chris Gerwig. "It was a dogfight the last time we played them. The one thing I'm very proud of is that our guys were pretty resilient."
Blue Wave goaltender Mike Colon snared 31 saves, one more than his Green Knight counterpart Wade Conlan. Notre Dame got on the board in the second period with a game-tying goal courtesy of Colin O'Connor, set up by Casey Hoban and Alec Andreucci. Taking advantage of some ample space on a power play, the sophomore defenseman rifled in a well-aimed shot from the right point to knot the game at one.
One period later, another Green Knight defenseman, Padriac Connors, was on the receiving end of Koorbusch's game-changing hit against the boards. Connors immediately crumpled onto the ice and clutched his left leg, before being helped off by his teammates. The controversial check, and its resulting delay, induced shouting matches between all coaches and players, thus permanently ratcheting up the game's intensity.
Then, thanks to a cluster of clears, Darien kept Notre Dame-West Haven from getting settled offensively in the Blue Wave zone. However, with seven seconds remaining, Watters dove at the blue line to block a Green Knight slapshot, which fired directly into his left knee.
"Thought I was out for the rest of the season," Watters said post-game. "I'm just happy it's not too bad. Just happy I can stand on it."
Darien stood strong on defense for the remainder of the game, largely thanks to its excellent penalty kill unit.
The first goal of the contest came five minutes into the middle frame, when Fitzpatrick poked a loose puck past Conlan through the bottom right corner. Carter Joyce was credited with the assist, in what eventually turned out to be another one-goal between the two teams.
Exactly three weeks earlier, the Blue Wave slipped by the Green Knights at home 1-0.
"I'm sure we'll cross paths with those guys again, hopefully in the states," Gerwig said. "And, you know, I'm sure if we do it will be another barn burner like the first two were."
DARIEN 0 1 0 1--2
ND-WEST HAVEN 0 1 0 0--1
Records: Darien 16-1-1, ND-West Haven 11-4-2. Goals: D--Dillon Fitzpatrick 2; NDWH--Colin O'Connor. Assists: D--Carter Joyce, Ryan Misthopoulos; NDWH--Casey Hoban, Alec Andreucci. Goalies: D--Mike Colon (31 saves); NDWH--Wade Conlan (30). Shots: D--32; NDWH--32.
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