Boys hockey: Hamden opens season with win over Darien
Updated 9:17 pm, Saturday, December 16, 2017
HAMDEN — Although it was the opener for both the Hamden and Darien hockey teams, both forechecks already looked to be in midseason form.
The teams combined for ten goals in the inaugural game of the 2017-18 season, with Hamden coming out on top 6-4 at Lou Astorino Ice Arena in Hamden Saturday.
Darien broke through first when Parker McLane tallied five minutes in, but the Green Dragons responded on a power play goal from Michael Gethings three minutes later and Mason Boyhen made it 2-1 Hamden at the end of the first.
“We had a good response,” Hamden coach Todd Hall said. “That’s not with coaching or anything, that’s just the kids bearing down and making the right plays and getting the right opportunities.”
Quick responses were the theme of the afternoon for the Dragons.
Will Johnston made it 2-2 for Darien with a rebound off a Bennett McDermott shot early in the second period, but Tyler Routh gave Hamden a 4-2 lead with two goals in a three-minute span. The first was a slap shot from the high-slot that found its way through multiple screens, the second a breakaway in the waning seconds of a power play.
“Every time they scored we just worked as a team to get it back,” Routh said. “Just kept grinding.”
Darien scored twice in the third on goals from Hudson Pokorny and Robert Stewart, but again Hamden retaliated immediately.
Boyhen scored his second just eight seconds after Pokorny’s tally and Routh completed his hat trick with 4:33 to play.
Despite the outcome, Wave coach Mac Budd was happy with his team’s start.
“I come away today with a lot of positives, notwithstanding the score,” Budd said. “I think we showed a lot of offense. I felt we had pretty decent skill and we showed that today. I think we have pretty good team speed and I was happy the way we played today.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Routh, Hamden. The junior recorded a hat trick in the season opener, scoring twice in a three-minute span in the second period and putting the game away in the third.
“One shot happened to get through and went in,” Routh said of his second-period flurry. “The other was a nice play by Jack Gethings on a breakaway pass.”
The two-goal difference in the game came courtesy of the power play.
Hamden went 2-2 with the man-advantage while holding Darien to 0-4.
“Your goaltender is your best penalty killer and (Steven) Turner was great today,” Hall said. “Power play-wise, I think they were two broken plays, but a goal is a goal.”
Despite the discrepancy in special teams efficiency between the two, Budd wasn’t unhappy with the effort.
“I thought we did a really good job,” Budd said. “I was really happy with our power play. I was happy with the puck movement and player movement.”
“We’ve played Darien the first game every year since I was playing here,” Hall said. “They’ve been the toughest team to play against because they go hard from the drop of the puck...they play hard from the minute you drop the puck until the last buzzer sounds, so don’t let up.”
HAMDEN 6, DARIEN 4
DARIEN 1 1 2—4
HAMDEN2 2 2—6
Records: Darien 0-1; Hamden 1-0. Goals: D—Parker McLane, Will Johnston, Hudson Pokorny, Connor McCarthy; H—Michael Gethings, Tyler Routh 3, Mason Boyhen 2. Assists: D—William Culliton, Bennett McDermott, James Gregory; H—AJ Luedee, Jack Gethings. Goalies: D—Henri Pfeifle (21 saves); H—Steven Turner (27 saves). Shots: D—31; H—27.