DARIEN -- You knew quickly it could be Darien's day, its most dominant day of hockey against Fairfield Prep in recent memory, right from the start. The Blue Wave just had to keep it up.

They did, for most of the afternoon Saturday, not letting the Jesuits generate any kind of transition or keep the puck for long. Darien emerged with a 3-2 win in a rematch of last year's state final, which the Jesuits won in overtime.

"The forecheck was phenomenal," Darien coach Chris Gerwig said. "We didn't allow them to move the puck. We didn't give them a lot of time."

The Blue Wave (2-0, with a 4-3 win over Hamden to open the year) disrupted the Jesuits (1-1, with a 6-3 win over Ridgefield) everywhere. Fairfield Prep couldn't get out of its zone. When it finally did, it found the other blue line impregnable.

"When you see us dump and chase, you know our guys are not comfortable," Jesuits coach Matt Sather said. "We've got to learn to be comfortable at the pace Darien played."

In all Darien outshot the Jesuits 35-15, fairly evenly spread out, though Fairfiield Prep may have had more zone time in the third period.

Both teams had lots of turnover. For Darien, last year's defensive-minded group gave way to a flock of forwards that forced and recovered turnovers, keeping Fairfield Prep hemmed in.

"Our forecheck definitely wore them down. We were very physical," senior forward Jack Pardue said.

"We had a ton of shots. That's what (the coaches) told us. keep shooting."

Goalie Jack Taubl was up to the challenge for the Jesuits. Taubl, a senior who Sather said has waited his turn, made a couple of huge saves on Pardue to start the third.

"He's very different from a lot of the goalies we've had in the past," Sather said. "He's small (5-foot-8, 155 pounds) but very athletic.

"He almost plays like a goalie from 20 years ago," the coach added. "He's not big enough to go in the butterfly. ... I think it makes some shooters uncomfortable, seeing a goalie out of his crease. It's not what they're used to."

But Darien broke the ice 41 seconds into the second period on Brendan Cassidy's goal off a faceoff in the Prep zone.

"That goal was huge. I think it was the turning point of the game," Pardue said.

Pardue and junior linemate Jake Kirby combined for the next two Darien goals, though the Jesuits made it interesting in between: Vinny D'Amore's goal through traffic made it 2-1 with 13.6 seconds left in the second period.

Pardue took a lead pass from Nick Tuzinkiewicz, beat a man at the blue line to make it a two-on-one and fed Kirby at the front for a 2-0 lead. Then 2:47 into the third Kirby sent Pardue in on a breakaway to make it 3-1.

The Jesuits answered not a minute later, John Edmonds' deflection of Jack McGowen's center-point shot on a power play, but that was all to beat Will Massie.

"We were expecting the intensity they showed," Sather said. "I think both teams are kind of starting from scratch.

"To (the Blue Wave's) credit, they were ready to play a game like this, and we clearly were not, certainly not for the first two periods."

mfornabaio@ctpost.com; http://twitter.com/fornabaioctp; http://blog.ctnews.com/fornabaio


DARIEN 0 2 1--3

Records: Fairfield Prep 1-1; Darien 2-0. Goals: FP--Vinny D'Amore, John Edmonds; D--Brendan Cassidy, Jake Kirby, Jack Pardue; Assists: FP--Ryan Deering, Justin Blanchette, Jack McGowen; D--Sam Knowlton, Riley Mullin, Pardue, Kirby; Goalies: FP--Jack Taubl (32 saves); D--Will Massie (13); Shots: FP--15; D--35