Westhill-Stamford boys hockey ties Darien, 1-1 (OT)
DARIEN — Senior Night wasn’t all that it could have been for the Darien High School boys ice hockey team Saturday night.
The Blue Wave — and the 12 seniors on their roster — faced a determined Westhill-Stamford Co-op squad and came away with a 1-1 overtime tie at the Darien Ice rink.
“Give Westhill-Stamford credit. They are a good team that played well tonight,” said Darien coach Mac Budd. “But frankly, I’m disappointed with where we are.”
Darien saw its 1-0 edge vanish with 5:23 left in regulation. Westhill-Stamford’s senior assistant captain Jordan Marchese put home a power-play goal off the work of teammates Ryan Hart and Tucker Healy.
The Blue Wave didn’t break through during the eight-minute overtime period, leaving the 1-1 final.
STRETCH RUN TIME FOR DARIEN
The tie left Darien at 4-8-1 overall but 3-1-1 in the FCIAC.
The Blue Wave have historically played an extremely challenging schedule.
So far this season, Darien has lost twice to Fairfield Prep, split two contests with Greenwich and beaten rival New Canaan in the first of two meetings.
The Blue Wave have lost to Hamden, Notre Dame (West Haven), Xavier, LaSalle Academy (R.I.) and Staples.
The benefits of those tough battles should be showing up in this stretch of nine regular-season contests (eight FCIAC) that Darien started with a victory on January 24.
“We’re not getting the job done. Our lack of consistency is obvious,” Darien coach Budd said. “We played solid in a lot of those early games. But our guys were not focused tonight. We didn’t have a lot of intensity. We have more to give on the ice.”
Darien’s ability to roll three forward lines and have depth on defense was nullified by the six penalties the Blue Wave took on the evening.
Senior Parker McLane scored the lone Darien goal with 1:20 left in the first period off assists from seniors Will Johnston and Connor McCarthy.
The sharpest Blue Wave of the night was junior goalie Henri Pfeifle. He registered 27 saves including some big saves during Darien penalties late in regulation and during the eight-minute overtime.
“Pfeifle played very well. He stopped some quality shots that resulted from unnecessary penalties,” Darien’s Budd said. “Both our goalies (Pfeifle, senior Nick Elwell) have been solid.”
WESTHILL-STAMFORD ON GOOD PATH
The tie left Westhill-Stamford at 4-4-1 overall, 2-2-1 in the FCIAC. The Co-op is 0-4-1 against Division I opponents and is 13th in the current Division II state rankings.
Since its second victory of the year over King may not count in the state rankings, the goal for Westhill-Stamford is to get to at least eight victories with ten contests left in the regular season.
Scoring will have to pick up for Westhill-Stamford to get there. Shortly, Kyle Bernard and Shane Sexton will join the squad after sitting out the mandatory ten contests after transferring from Trinity Catholic.
“Our conditioning is solid. Fatigue was not a factor,” said Westhill-Stamford co-head coach John Santagata. “The pace of the FCIAC games is always good for what we want to do. Everybody did their part tonight.”
Senior goalie John Kanaris was impressive Saturday as he collected 37 saves.
“John has been working hard in practice. He’s improved a lot on controlling or not allowing rebounds. He came up big tonight,” said Westhill-Stamford’s Santagata. “Our defense helped clear some rebounds as well. Both goalies were sharp tonight.”
Darien travels to Shelton Rink on Monday to battle St. Joseph. Westhill-Stamford will face Scarsdale (N.Y.) on Monday at Murray Skating Center in Yonkers, NY.
WESTHILL-STAMFORD CO-OP 1,
DARIEN 1 (OT)
WESTHILL-STAMFORD 0 0 1 0—1
DARIEN 1 0 0 0—1
At Darien ice rink. Records: Westhill-Stamford 4-4-1, 2-2-1 FCIAC; Darien 4-8-1, 3-1-1 FCIAC.
Goals: West-SHS—Jordan Marchese. D—Parker McLane. Assists: West-SHS—Ryan Hart, Tucker Healy. D—Will Johnston, Connor McCarthy. Goalies: West-SHS—John Kanaris (37 saves). D—Henri Pfeifle (27 saves).