New Canaan’s Granito, Darien’s Cassidy reach exclusive 200-point club
Published 12:32 pm, Wednesday, February 24, 2016
If in the fall or winter one happened to venture to a field hockey or ice hockey game between Darien and New Canaan, one would likely see a girl on each team, both wearing No. 2 on their backs, doing something to help her team win.
For New Canaan it would be Catherine Granito, and for Darien, Georgia Cassidy.
As of Monday both girls have put their names where only three have been before them — the 200-point club for ice hockey.
They join Olivia Hompe (384), Maggie Westfal (261) and Jana Persky (226), all of New Canaan, as the only players in state history to do so.
“I’m really excited about reaching that milestone,” said Granito, who reached the plateau in mid-January and currently sits at 226 for her career. “It was a huge accomplishment; I’ve always looked up to all those girls who have graduated from New Canaan girls hockey so to put my name up there is such an accomplishment and I’m so happy about it. It’s also cool to think in a few years people can look at my name and think back to all the work that we’ve put in and all the championships we’ve won.”
While her name will be associated with the greats before her, her game, at least in the mind of Rams coach Rich Bulan, will not.
Connecticut’s Girls Ice Hockey 200-point club
Only five girls in the history of girls ice hockey in Connecticut have reached 200 points for their career:
Olivia Hompe, New Canaan 384
Maggie Westfal, New Canaan 261
Jana Persky, New Canaan 226
Catherine Granito, New Canaan 226
Georgia Cassidy, Darien 200
“When you looked at Olivia and Maggie those were just girls that, like five-tool players in baseball, they had had speed, a shot, vision,” Bulan started. “Catherine, she can skate, but she doesn’t bother to try to go around people, she goes through, she’s different that way. She’s got that great ability to just go the quickest route and doesn’t worry about anything else.”
When talking to the bubbly Granito it’s tough to imagine her as the physical player she is, but her style of play is the product of growing up around brothers.
“I grew up in a family with all boys so sports were kind of my thing,” Granito said. “I wasn’t a dancer or ballerina or anything like that.”
On the field or the ice or just about anywhere, Darien and New Canaan are the absolute bitterest of rivals. Still, Granito and Cassidy can’t help but root for each other given their background as teammates at the youth and travel levels, as well as their similar career arcs.
“Georgia and I grew up together, we know each other’s playing style, we played hockey together, we were linemates,” Granito said. “Right from the start you can tell she was going to accomplish; I’m so proud of her, even though we’re rivals it’s great seeing your friend do that.”
Cassidy echoed the sentiment.
“I always love playing with her, she’s a great athlete — once we were in high school we became rivals but it’s friendly. We love seeing her succeed and she loves seeing us succeed but when the time comes it’s heated.”
Cassidy reached the 200-point mark Monday, scoring two goals in a win over Hamden and setting the Darien single-season points mark at 57, breaking her own record to put the finishing touches on Darien’s one-loss regular season. Cassidy, as she’s always been, was quick to credit her teammates.
“Definitely owe it to them,” the soft-spoken Cassidy said. “Chandler Kirby and Katie Zaro I’ve been with since youth, they were kind of under the radar but they’re incredible defenseman, they give me opportunities and are a huge part in how much offense I can generate.”
While the Blue Wave finished undefeated in the FCIAC, New Canaan lost only twice, both to Darien, and both in one-goal contests.
In the first matchup Granito scored the tying goal in the third, but Cassidy registered the winner just minutes later — a perfect microcosm for the duo’s ability.
In Bulan’s opinion, the writing was on the wall from the moment he saw them as freshman.
Both on varsity as ninth-graders Granito scored a goal and had an assist in the state championship game against Darien. Earlier that season, Cassidy’s late goal helped down the Rams in the FCIAC championship.
“You could see then how special they would be,” Bulan said. “It’s been very interesting to watch their parallels.”
With playoffs looming and Darien and New Canaan ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in the state, the final chapter that’s been building for four years should be something special to watch.