Darien girls hockey blanks New Canaan
DARIEN—No, the Darien offense didn’t repeat its performance in its last two games—combining for 16 goals in those contests—but it was no matter, as the Blue Wave defense did what it quietly has all season.
That defense has allowed no more than one goal in its last 11 contests, and goalie Emily Gianunzio notched her fourth-straight shutout Monday night, defeating rival New Canaan 2-0 at the Darien Ice House.
“Our defense is doing very well right now,” Gianunzio said. “We hit a little bump in the road where one of our best defenders (Kiki Tropsa) broke her arm, but Sally Cassidy stepped up really big and we have two lines of defense again. Our forecheck also helps our defense because we always have one person pressuring the puck and forcing the other team to make mistakes.”
The Blue Wave (13-3, 11-1 FCIAC) got both its goals in the first four minutes of the contest as freshmen Katie Daileader and Claire Knight scored within 30 seconds of each other. From there however, Darien was unable to tally again, despite a prolonged forecheck and five power play chances.
“I know we had a lot of time off because of snow, but it’s very frustrating to watch the way we played,” Darien coach Jamie Tropsa said. “I was not impressed with too many things. We did play well defensively, you can say that, we didn’t allow a lot of quality shots but our offense was non-existent—we had nothing and that’s the frustrating part.”
A month ago, the Blue Wave downed New Canaan (8-5-4, 8-3-2) by a lopsided 6-0 tally. Since then, the Rams have grown exponentially, and were able to hang with the deep, talented Darien team.
“We’re a different team now,” New Canaan coach Rich Bulan said. “We’re better than we were and, to a point, we proved that. You still want to win obviously, but at the until tonight we hadn’t lost in our last seven, we’ve come on strong and beaten or tied some really good teams.”
With just three games to go before the FCIAC playoffs, Bulan is happy with where his team sits.
“We’ve got games left that we can win,” Bulan said. “It’s in our hands and we know that.”
Meanwhile, the defending FCIAC and state champion Blue Wave haven’t lost in their last 12 contests, and look as strong as ever as the postseason draws closer.
“The streak is great,” Tropsa said. “What we have going for us is that we’re very deep; we can throw three or four lines out there and wear other teams down and that’s the positive we can take into the playoffs.”
DARIEN 2 0 0—2
NEW CANAAN 0 0 0—0
Records: Darien 13-3, 11-1 FCIAC; New Canaan 8-5-4, 8-3-2. Goals: D—Katie Daileader, Claire Knight. Goalies: D—Emily Gianunzio (10 saves); NC—Kara Fahey (28). Shots: D—30; NC—10.