ND-West Haven hands Darien hockey first loss of season
Sometimes the bounces just don't go your way.
Tied at two in the final period, Notre Dame-West Haven's Joe Ansaldo ripped a shot from the right slot that ricocheted off Darien goalie Will Massie and the post before landing in the back of the net to give the Green Knights a 3-2 victory and hand the Blue Wave their first loss of the season Monday night.
"You have to give them credit," Darien coach Chris Gerwig said of Notre Dame. "They really worked hard and outplayed us in the first period and we took it to them in the second and in the third the puck bounced their way, they took advantage of their opportunities."
Notre Dame (3-3-1) came out in the first period and put 16 shots on net to Darien's eight, the Knights capitalized twice, both off the stick of Alec Andreucci to take a 2-1 lead over the Wave. Darien's (3-1) goal came from Jake Kirby after Jack Pardue skated through the Notre Dame defense and hit Kirby with a nice cross.
"We knew (Darien) hadn't played in a while so anytime a team's coming off a lay-off their tendency is to feel the game out a little bit," Notre Dame coach Tim Belcher said of his early strategy. "I told our guys to come out and shoot the puck from wherever we are, we just wanted to pepper them with as many shots as possible."
In the second period Darien bounced back, outshooting Notre Dame 19-9 and tying the game on Nick Tuzinkiewicz's power-play slap shot goal.
The third period however was the defenses turn, with both goalies making opportune saves before Ansaldo's shot found its way in.
"Joe's (Ansaldo) got a knack for the net," Belcher said of his forward, who in two games at Darien Ice Rink (the first against New Canaan) has scored four goals. "Tonight was a great high school hockey game, there was hitting, there was a lot of shots and that's the way the game should be played and we're happy to be on top."
For Darien, the loss didn't come at the worst time. Despite losing their undefeated record, the Wave and coach Gerwig now have something to build on, and being just the fourth game for Darien that could prove useful.
"Early on you don't want to be playing your best hockey," Gerwig said. "A loss isn't a bad thing, it builds a little character, we saw some things as a coaching staff to work on and good teams go to the drawing board to try to get better and that's what we're going to do in practice."
As far as the problem in Monday's contest, Gerwig said it was simple, "It takes three periods to beat the big boys -- and we didn't do that tonight."