Darien blanks New Canaan to reach FCIAC championship
STAMFORD -- Will Massie was in the zone Wednesday afternoon, and it couldn't have come at a better time for the Darien boys hockey team.
The senior goaltender pitched a shutout against rival New Canaan for the right to go to the FCIAC championship, recording 25 saves en route to a 2-0 victory at Terry Conners Rink in Stamford.
The win advances second-seeded Darien (18-2-1) to Saturday's championship against the winner of the late semifinal between No. 5 St. Joseph and No. 1 Greenwich.
Early on New Canaan had all the momentum, buzzing around ice while putting constant pressure on Massie, but the veteran net minder was able to persevere long enough for his team to find its footing.
"I know the boys weren't playing they wanted to be," Massie said of Darien's slow start. "But we were up so I figured if I could just continue to play my game we'd make it through."
Wednesday was the third time the arch rivals met this season. Darien won all three and a significant factor in all three victories according to Gore was early-period scoring.
"We came out flying the first period," New Canaan coach Pat Gore said. "We dominated the first period, the only thing we did wrong was not coming out with the lead."
Beating any quality team three times in a season is no easy feat, and it was something Massie had on his mind before puck drop Wednesday.
"I was on the team last year and we had trouble beating a bunch of teams three times, especially when it really mattered," Massie said. "But coming into this game we knew we couldn't let it happen again."
New Canaan's goal all year has been to win a state title, and while it wanted to shine in the FCIACs the loss now brings the Rams back to their original focus for the season.
"It stings," Gore said of the loss. "But at the end of the day we regroup and get ready for Notre Dame-Fairfield next week."
Darien's coach Chris Gerwig noted how proud he was of Massie for giving the Blue Wave a chance to win the game. The rest of the skaters returned the favor with a dominating third period performance that iced the victory for Darien.
"When you're riding high like we are and we know were one period away from getting to the finals we knew we just had to play smart, simple hockey," Gerwig said. "Don' t make mistakes -- and we got it done."
Darien 2, New Canaan 0
DARIEN 1 1 0--2
NEW CANAAN 0 0 0--0
Records: Darien 18-2-1; New Canaan 11-7-3
Goals: D--Maxwell Romeyn, Jake Kirby. Assists: D--Carter Joyce, Craig Miller. Goalies: D--Will Massie (25 saves); NC--Liam Mooney (16). Shots: D--18; NC--27.