DARIEN — It’s been 344 days since Tiernan Curley scored the game-winning, shootout goal in Fairfield Prep’s conference championship win last winter season.
On Saturday, Curley played in a game for the first time since that goal after missing the first two games this season, and he made his presence felt.
The junior forward scored all three goals in No. 1 Fairfield Prep’s 3-0 win over No. 2 Darien at the Darien Ice House.
“Darien is a great team, one of the best teams in the state, if not the best,” Curley said. “It felt great to do this against them.
“It shows me I can do this against anyone.”
With Curley back on the top group, the line got rolling. Linemates Aksel Sather and Mason Whitney each had an assist.
“They were our best line last (year) and most consistent offensively,” Fairfield Prep coach Matt Sather said. “They compliment each other, they’re all different. When one is missing their whole line struggles.”
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Curley scored his first goal of the game 11 minutes in as he snapped one past Darien goalie Teddy DeBeradinis.
“(The first goal) sort of calmed me down, it was nice to get one,” Curley said. “But to me I just had to focus on getting the next one.”
Curley got the next one on the power play in the third period and then added an empty-net goal to complete the natural hat trick.
“Tiernan has been waiting for this moment for three weeks,” Fairfield Prep goalie Tommy Martin said. “He was just zoned in. He just played really good.”
While Curley was lighting the lamp, Martin was the one who prevented Darien from getting on the board. He finished with 29 saves to post his second straight shutout.
“This was another level,” Sather said of Martin’s performance. “I said to him that is one of the best games I have seen a Prep goalie play in 20-something years. You can’t do it any better.”
One save in the third period stood out to Sather, keeping Darien off the board.
“It didn’t look fancy, but everyone who knows the game saw that play and said that puck beat him, and he was there,” Sather said.
Martin said his defense made his night easy, not allowing many second chances.
“While we did have a fair number of shots a lot of those shots were from the point,” Darien coach Mac Budd said. “We didn’t give ourselves second looks and part of that is hats off to their goalie.”
The senior goalie only started a handful of games last year, including a start against Darien. Martin allowed six goals in a loss.
“It was definitely redemption for me, makes me feel like I am a starter,” Martin said.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Tommy Martin, Fairfield Prep’s goalie that made 29 saves to pitch the shutout.
“It was a special night for him, I am super proud of him. He has been patient waiting for his opportunities and clearly in the first three games, he is locked in.” — Fairfield Prep coach Matt Sather on his goalie Tommy Martin.