DARIEN — Saturday was a big day for Darien High School athletics.
The school opened up its sports facilities to fans for the first time since the pandemic started more than a year ago. And what better way to christen this renewed era than with a Top 10 boys lacrosse showdown with arch-rival New Canaan? Students from both schools packed the bleachers, trading their familiar and taunts.
Nature — at last — is healing.
If there was any more proof needed, Darien reminded everyone it’s still the team in Connecticut boys lacrosse with trademark domination.
Jamison Moore and Connor O’Malley scored three goals apiece and all-state goaltender Andy Demopoulos made 15 saves as the top-ranked Blue Wave rolled to a 15-6 victory over No. 5 New Canaan.
Darien (4-0) never gave New Canaan much of a chance. Four different players scored goals within the first five minutes and, before New Canaan finally woke up, it was already trailing by four goals.
“We had the ideal start,” said Moore, who has now scored five goals in Darien’s two games against Top 5 foes — Ridgefield and New Canaan. “We came out fast. We came out hard. Our shots fell early. We did what we needed to do to put the pressure on them and shut them down from the get-go.”
New Canaan (3-3), which was led by two goals apiece from Tommy Augustine and Chris Canet, twice managed to cut the deficit to two. But each time, Darien answered in kind.
“I was happy with the way we responded to that,” Darien coach Jeff Brameier said. “They were chipping away and we kept answering.”
It also didn’t help New Canaan that Demopoulos was in peak form. After allowing consecutive goals late in the first quarter, which pulled New Canaan within 4-2, the senior made five big saves during a crucial second-quarter.
“Goalie is a groove game,” Demopolos said. “Even if I let two or three in, I have to focus on my next shot and that’s what we did. I credit all of my (defensive) guys. Jeremiah (Stafford), Sam (Erickson), Oliver (Bolton) and David (Evanchick). A goalie is as good as his defense and it really showed today.”
Ahead 9-4 at halftime, Darien removed all doubt with two, quick goals from Moore and Joe Cesare to make it 11-4 Darien early in the third quarter.
Faceoff specialist Tighe Cummiskey, fresh off a dominant effort in a 14-7 win over Ridgefield, helped Darien win 13-of-22 faceoffs, mainly against New Canaan’s Hayden Shin. He also scored a goal off a draw during his team’s early outburst.
“New Canaan is used to dominating in people in face off — and Shin’s another good faceoff guy,” Brameier said. “It was a battle, but I thought Tighe certainly held his own, if not won more than 50 percent. That puts a big plus in our favor, not being dominated by New Canaan face-offs.
“We’re a very explosive team and we have best goalie in the state, so they’re going to have to shoot really well to beat him. Those were two of the difference makers.”
Darien, the de facto defending Class L champions from 2019, has now won eight-consecutive meetings vs. New Canaan, dating back to a three-overtime loss in 2015. It was also the second-consecutive victory over the Rams by eight-or-more goals, following a 12-4 victory in 2019.
Matthew Minicus added a pair of goals and an assist and Matt Stein had two goals for the Blue Wave. Holden Busby made 13 saves for New Canaan.