FAIRFIELD — Tighe Cummiskey kept winning faceoffs. Darien kept setting up its offense quickly. It kept, well, not missing.
And once that ball gets rolling downhill against a young team, it’s not stopping quickly.
The No. 1 Blue Wave took control in the opening minutes, even after allowing the first goal, and defeated No. 3 Fairfield Prep 12-7 on a picture-perfect spring Saturday afternoon at Rafferty Stadium.
“We were changing our (shooting) planes, which definitely helped on this goalie. Low-to-highs was phenomenal for us,” said Darien attackman Matt Minicus, who led all scorers with four goals and six points. “We just kept shooting, kept working. It was good.”
The Blue Wave are 12-1, 12-0 against CIAC competition. The program is perfect in its past 57 regular-season games against CIAC teams since a late-season loss to Greenwich in 2015.
“Coach B (Jeff Brameier) told us in the locker room today we were treating it as a playoff game,” Darien goalie Andy Demopoulos said.
“We’re going to see teams like (No. 4) Ridgefield, (No. 2) New Canaan maybe two or three times at the end of the season. It’s hard to beat a team twice. Hopefully we’ll see these guys down the line and put up a good fight with them.”
Teddy Bednar won the opening draw for Fairfield Prep, and 57 seconds in, the Jesuits’ Adan Derby scored, wrapping around the net from Demopoulos’ right.
The Blue Wave scored the next six, four of them in just over two minutes; Cummiskey controlled things at the ‘X’ and finished the day 16-for-22. Darien put eight of its 11 first-quarter shots on target and scored on seven.
Not surprisingly, that percentage didn’t keep up, and Jesuits coach Graham Niemi said Fairfield Prep’s defensive aggressiveness and physicality picked up after that first quarter. But the damage was done.
“They’re got some offensive weapons who can rip the net, and they did. They chipped away and got back within striking distance,” Brameier said of the Jesuits (10-3), who’d won eight in a row after back-to-back losses to Ridgefield and New Canaan.
“Our M.O. is we’ve got to be smarter with our possession time when we got that lead, but that’s not our MO, either. We like to run and shoot. We’ve been working on it when we haven’t practiced, try to get them to throttle it down. We did a better job in the fourth quarter.”
The young Jesuits, with lots of underclassmen all over the field, settled down a bit too as the game went on. Some long second-half possessions went for naught.
“(Darien does) a lot of the little things really well,” Niemi said. “Despite being good on offense and defense, the thing about them that’s really tough to deal with is they get a lot of ground balls, make saves and win lot faceoffs and clear it well. When you play teams that do that, they’re hard to beat. You have to match that in the game.”
Out-of-state games were more or less off the table when teams were scheduling this season. Schools that usually max out their non-CIAC slates, like Darien and Fairfield Prep, looked elsewhere. They hooked up for this game this year. But Brameier would prefer to return to playing some of the Long Island powers next year.
“For me to play Prep, I have to give up one of the out-of-state competitions that have just been bigger rivals for us in the last 10-15 years,” Brameier said. “I’m not going to do it. Obviously I appreciate him picking us up. He needs a big game, too, because he’s lost Chaminade (N.Y.) and those games he played.”
The teams last met 14 years ago Monday, a 12-4 Darien win on the same site, though Rafferty Stadium is an entirely new facility from the old Alumni Field.
Darien was without attackman and Georgetown commit Holt Matheis again.
“He had the hamstring. It’s supposed to be not the same hamstring spot, but it’s probably interconnected,” Brameier said.
“I’ll keep my fingers crossed pretty much for him, because it’s his senior year and he’s played four or five games. That’s not the way you want to go out. He didn’t play last year, and he didn’t play that much as a sophomore.”
The emergence of freshman Brady Pokorny has helped ease the pain of Matheis’ absence, but he’s still missed.
“It’s been definitely lonely down there,” Minicus said, “but people are stepping up.”