STAMFORD — After losing in the FCIAC semifinals last week, Darien was more than ready for the state tournament to begin.
Mother Nature had other plans.
After weather caused Friday’s quarterfinal matchup between the No. 2 Blue Wave and No. 10 Simsbury to be postponed to Saturday afternoon, another wrench was thrown in when the Darien Ice House was without power.
Fortunately, the powers that be were able to audible and play the game at Terry Conners rink in Stamford Saturday night.
A grateful Wave squad shutout Simsbury 3-0 in the first step on the quest to a three-peat.
“It’s a whole new season,” Darien coach Jamie Tropsa said of the state tournament. “We have to let what happen go by and forget about it and get better from it. It’s pretty simple. It’s the mindset we have to take forward. We had to do it last year, so now we have to do it one more time.”
Darien will play the winner of No. 3 New Canaan and No. 6 West Haven in the semifinals on Wednesday.
The Rams have defeated Darien three times this season, most recently in double-overtime of the FCIAC semis.
“It was a heartbreaker to lose in double-overtime, but we knew there was still work to be done,” Wave senior Corinne Bevill said. “And we could make our season turn around if we won states and kept working really hard and kept the positivity up.”
Shea van den Broek put the Wave up 1-0 in the first and Bevill added a second goal early in the second on a power-play rebound.
“It was a perfect setup straight from the faceoff,” Bevill said. “We won it and were able to pass it around like we do in practice and the puck was right in front of me and I put it in the net.”
Three minutes later, Nelle Kniffin converted a fat rebound after a Kit Arrix slapshot for the final goal of the contest.
The Trojans had limited scoring chances on the day, and when they did, Darien goalie Hallie Kreppein was up to the challenge. The sophomore made a big kick save midway through the second and a glove save with less than a minute left in regulation.
“They had a couple really good chances,” Tropsa said. “Hallie made some good saves.”
The Darien depth. There wasn’t one player that really stood out for the Wave, and that’s the point. The Wave win with talent and speed from top-to-bottom of a deep roster.
“That’s kind of our M.O.,” Tropsa said. “We try to keep the speed up and wear teams down and today it worked out for us.”
DEFENDING THE NET
Darien’s Kreppein wasn’t tested all that much, largely because whenever Simsbury would have a sustained forecheck, the Wave defenders would pack in front of the netminder.
“We’ve been working on that a lot,” Tropsa said. “A couple of our losses, we got a little lackadaisical in our own end, so that’s something we’ve worked on our last couple practices.”
NO. 2 DARIEN 3, NO. 10 SIMSBURY 0
SIMSBURY 0 0 0—0
DARIEN 1 2 0—3
Goals: D—Shea van den Broek; Corinne Bevill, Nelle Kniffin. Assists: D—Kate Bellissimo, Kit Arrix. Goalies: S—Victoria LaCroix (21 saves); D—Hallie Kreppein (15). Shots: S—15; D—24.