WEST HAVEN >> Since a season-opening loss to Hamden, the Darien boys hockey team has not lost to a team ranked in the New Haven Register/GametimeCt.com Hockey Top 10. Despite a valiant 31-save effort from West Haven goalie Mike Savino on Saturday, you can add another win to the Blue Wave’s unbeaten streak against ranked teams.
Connor Davis scored the go-ahead goal and goalie Michael Colon had 17 saves to lead No. 1 Darien to a 2-1 non-league win over No. 9 West Haven at Bennett Rink. Since that loss to the Green Dragons, the Blue Wave have gone 5-0-1 against ranked teams, including 3-0 against Southern Connecticut Conference foes.
The Blue Wave’s success can be attributed to the combination of speed, depth and experience. Darien coach Chris Gerwig added one other factor.
“We’re playing a great schedule this season, a tough schedule that prepares us for games like this one,” Gerwig said. “In order to be prepared for the postseason you need to play the best teams. That’s why playing against well-coached SCC teams like Fairfield Prep, Notre Dame (of West Haven) and now West Haven is so important and rewarding when you come out with a win.
“We expected a close, tough game against West Haven. I thought we played a complete game today, but for the most part we couldn’t solve Mike Savino. It turned out to be a pressure cooker at the end.”
After a scoreless first period, Jack Pardue gave Darien (10-1-1) a 1-0 lead off a pass from Davis. Davis sent a pass to Pardue at the bottom of the left circle, who one-timed a shot into the lower right corner of the net for the game’s first goal at 9:58 of the second period.
Davis made it 2-0 at 2:43 of the third period off a rising shot that flew into the upper left corner of the net.
“I shot it high to the short side of the net,” Davis said. “I was fortunate to get that goal because they really took it to us at the end of the game.”
The Westies got on the scoreboard when defenseman Alex Scranton made it 2-1 on a power-play goal at 11:11 of the third period. The Blue Devils (5-5-1) had four quality shots the last three minutes of the game with a chance to tie, including three with their goalie pulled in the final minute. But Colon made the saves to preserve the lead and the win.
“I figured it would be a defensive game today,” West Haven coach Joe Morrell said. “Both goalies did a great job and Mike (Savino) certainly kept us in the game. For us it’s usually a team effort when we’re successful and we had a team effort today. We actually got stronger at the end of the game and had our chances (to tie) but we just couldn’t get that second goal.”
Darien 2, West Haven 1
(at West Haven)
Darien 0 1 1 — 2
West Haven 0 0 1 — 1
Second period—DR: Jack Pardue (Connor Davis) 9:58; Third period—DR: Connor Davis (Aidan Loh) 2:43; WH: Alex Scranton (Devin Hines, Jaeson Puleo) 11:11;
Shots—DR: 33; WH: 18;
Saves—WH: Mike Savino 31; DR: Mike Colon 17;
Records—West Haven 5-5-1; Darien 10-1-1