WEST HAVEN — The last time the Darien hockey team ventured to the Edward L. Bennett Rink, Dillion Fitzpatrick’s line combined for four goals in a preseason scrimmage. Fitzpatrick clearly likes playing there.
Scoring twice, including the game-winner in overtime, Fitzpatrick led Darien, the No. 1 team in the Register Top 10 poll, to a 2-1 victory over third-ranked Notre Dame-West Haven Monday afternoon.
It was the Blue Wave’s 13th straight win since a tie with New Canaan and kept their streak without a loss alive since opening the season with a loss to Hamden.
“I am very proud of the guys,” Darien coach Chris Gerwig said after his team improved to 16-1-1. “They gutted it out. We had the penalty, but we were able to step up. I thought it could be the kiss of death in such a great game, but the guys wanted to win this game.
“Dillion Fitzpatrick has worked hard all season. That third line scored four goals when we were up here in a scrimmage. We are a three-line team and we have three sets of defense. We will enjoy this one as it is well deserved against a very good team.”
The penalty Gerwig referred to came with 3:31 left in regulation as Owen Koorbusch received a 5-minute major for hitting from behind.
The Blue Wave faced relentless pressure from the Green Knights, including a blast from Matt Dumas in the slot with 3 minutes remaining in regulation, then a point shot from Ryan Lynch 20 seconds later, but goaltender Michael Colon was up to the challenge each time.
After killing the penalty in overtime, Darien sealed the win.
Sophomore Sam Knowlton’s shot from up top was deflected past Notre Dame goaltender Wade Conlan by Fitzpatrick with 5 minutes, 59 seconds remaining to give Darien the regular-season sweep.
“This is huge for us, especially having to kill a 5-minute major,” Fitzpatrick said. “It was one of the crucial points in the game. We are sticking to our system and battling hard. Coach keeps telling us good things will happen when you do that.
“This is the best win of my hockey career. I have been playing since I was 3. To have a two-goal game against one of the best teams in the state year in and year out, and to get the overtime winner, feels great.”
Notre Dame (11-4-2) forced the overtime with a power-play goal late in the second period.
Trailing 1-0, the Green Knights evened the contest when Casey Hoban’s hard work allowed Colin O’Connor to rip a shot past Colon with 4:03 left.
“It was a good hockey game,” Notre Dame coach Tim Belcher said. “It’s hard to lose again by one goal. All four of our losses have been by one goal.
“I thought he (Conlan) played great. He was awesome. He made the first save all the time except the deflection at the end. He did a good job. Their goalie played well also.”
After a scoreless first period in which each goalie made 11 saves, Darien took a 1-0 lead 5:04 into the middle period. Carter Joyce took the initial shot that was stopped in front, but Fitzpatrick fired home the loose puck on the doorstep.
“We are not scoring a lot of goals, but we are not allowing a lot,” Gerwig said of his team that has allowed just 19 goals all season. “Defense wins games. I am very proud of the guys.”
Colon finished with 32 saves for the Blue Wave, while Conlan made 30 saves for Notre Dame.
WATCH the video from GoGreenKnights.com. Mike Madera is on the call.
Darien 2, Notre Dame-West Haven 1
(at Notre Dame-West Haven)
Darien 0 1 0 1 — 2
Notre Dame-West Haven 0 1 0 0 — 1
Second period—DR: Dillion Fitzpatrick (Carter Joyce) 9:56; NDWH: Colin O’Connor (Alec Andreucci, Casey Hoban) 4:03; First overtime—DR: Dillion Fitzpatrick (Sam Knowlton) 5:59;
Shots—DR: 32; NDWH: 33;
Saves—NDWH: Wade Conlan 30; DR: Mike Colon 32;
Records—Notre Dame-West Haven 11-4-2; Darien 16-1-1