DARIEN – It was a year to the day exactly.
New Canaan’s Beau Johnson made 30 saves on Monday night in the Rams’ 2-1 win over No. 1 Fairfield Prep. The win extended the Rams’ streak to nine games and exactly 365 days since their last loss.
On that day, Johnson allowed all 10 goals as the Rams were run out of a packed Darien Ice House by their rivals Darien, 10-2, in front of a raucous crowd.
“Never that bad,” Johnson recalled a year later about his performance. “I am pretty sure. That was a really tough game and a tough night, but we knew that was a fluke. We know we are a good team.”
Johnson and the Rams’ rallied to win their next eight games to finish out last season, including a 4-3 win over Darien to win their first FCIAC title since 2014. Johnson was named MVP for making 34 saves in the win.
The Rams also positioned themselves to be the No. 2 seed in the Division I state tournament.
“I think that was a super important part of our season, taking that beating,” New Canaan coach Clark Jones said. “Certainly, for younger guys like him, just getting used to (playing in) that environment.”
Johnson burst onto the scene when he took over as the starting goalie on day one.
When the season was over, he had gone 19-2-1, had a 2.08 goals against average, a .935 save percentage and was named to the GameTimeCT All-State third-team. None of it surprised his coach.
Jones said Johnson had won multiple state titles at lower levels and had played at US National tournaments.
Even with all the success on the ice, Clark said that his goalie never played in front of a crowd like he did that day against Darien.
He also told Johnson the harsh reality: It’s going to happen again.
“It’s not the end of the world,” Jones said he told Johnson. “You need the experience of playing in those moments and he has that now.”
Since that game Johnson has allowed just 15 goals in the nine games. That’s good for a 1.67 goals against average.
“It’s tough to beat Beau, unless you’re pulling off an extraordinary play,” Jones said. “It’s really tough to beat him.
“He’s super calm in everything he does and that’s what you need behind you.”
Jones said that on top of his calmness, nothing phases Johnson when he is in net. Johnson said he has become more comfortable and is becoming more vocal during games.
With all of his growth as a goalie, one thing his father (Tom Johnson) told him will always resonate with him.
“If you’re not nervous, you’re not ready,” Johnson said. “All I can do in my power is play the best I can and that’s what I try to do every time I touch the ice.”