No. 1 Fairfield Prep gets past Darien
Updated 10:09 pm, Saturday, January 20, 2018
DARIEN — Onward they march.
Top-ranked Fairfield Prep got all it could handle from Darien, but as it has done all year, it walked away unscathed, defeating the Blue Wave 4-1 on the road to move to 10-0 on the season.
After a scoreless first, Darien drew first blood when Bennet McDermott backhanded in a rebound resulting from a Blue Wave two-on-one chance.
“It’s tough letting up that first goal,” Prep goalie Jake Walker said. “You always want to get the first goal and always want to get ahead, but you just have to reboot your computer and forget and reset for the next one.”
It took Prep just 55 seconds to reboot as Devin Blanchette hit Carter Kral with a perfect pass through the crease that Kral put over the leg pad of Darien’s Henri Pfeifle.
Colin Belle poked in a loose puck with just over a minute left in the second to give the Jesuits a 2-1 lead they would never relinquish.
“I thought we played a little loose in the first period and then towards the second half of the second period we started to find our rhythm a little bit,” Prep coach Matt Sather said. “We haven’t played a lot of hockey in the last two weeks, we’ve only had a couple of games but we’re starting to find our rhythm.”
Darien (3-8) had a prime chance for the equalizer, earning a power play early in the third, but the closest it could get was a shot that rang off the outside of the post.
“I thought we hung in there pretty well for 2 1/2 periods and then a couple unfortunate goals and you’re on the wrong end of it pretty quickly,” Wave coach Mac Budd said. “I was certainly happy with the effort level from the guys tonight, I thought they fought hard and played well. They’re a good team, hats off, they clearly deserved to win, but I’m happy with how we played.”
Prep put the game out of reach with two goals in a 1:05 span late in the third, one each from Cole Casl and Joseph Mancini.
All told, Prep’s four goals came off four different sticks.
“That’s what you want,” Sather said. “You hope that each line contributes and has a good day offensively, but more importantly I thought we did a great job defensively.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Walker, Prep. Although the Jesuits pulled away late, Walker helped keep the Jesuits on top despite early third-period pressure from the Wave.
“Going into a 2-1 game at the start of the third period, you just have to treat it like it’s 0-0,” Walker said. “If you think for one second that (when) the game is in the bag that’s when you let up, you have to keep yourself composed and keep working.”
PEAKS AND VALLEYS
After a 1-6 start, Darien seemed to have turned the corner with back-to-back wins — including handing Greenwich its first loss last Saturday — but two straight losses have it once again trying to figure out how to get back on track.
“It’s just having the guys stick with the process,” Budd said. “The first half of the season is over and it’s been brutal, we wanted better results, there’s no doubt, but I think the guys are working hard. If we continue to work like we are now, given the second half of our schedule, I think we’ll be where we want to be come February.”
“We’re a really good team this year,” Walker said. “We’re really senior-heavy so we just want to stay aggressive and stay composed and keep our foot on the gas all the way until March.”
FAIRFIELD PREP 4, DARIEN 1
FAIRFIELD PREP 0 2 2—4
DARIEN 0 1 0—1
Records: Fairfield Prep 10-0; Darien 1-8. Goals: FP—Carter Kral, Colin Bella, Cole Casl, Joseph Mancini; D—Bennett McDermott. Assists: FP—Devin Blanchette. Goalies: FP—Jake Walker (13 saves); D—Henri Pfeifle (28). Shots: FP—32; D—14.