MILFORD -- Darien's speed, depth and experience were just too much for the Staples co-op to handle, and it was evident early.

The Blue Wave tallied five first period goals en route to a 9-3 rout of Staples/Weston/Shelton at the Milford Ice Pavilion Wednesday afternoon.

The early scoring was a direct result of Darien's first line of Jack Pardue, Jake Kirby and Craig Miller, who had a hat trick. Additionally, Pardue scored twice and Kirby added two assists for the Blue Wave (11-2-1, 7-1-1 FCIAC). Miller's third goal came a minute into the second period and trio wouldn't see another minute of the ice in the contest.

"It's nice to be able to separate yourself a little bit," Darien coach Chris Gerwig said of the early lead. "And to give your younger guys that work hard every day in practice some experience in a game situation in case somebody needs to step in."

One of the benefactors of that situation was sophomore Thomas Sulger, a fourth liner who saw extended minutes and contributed two goals to the win.

"It was great for the fourth liners to get out there and have some time," Sulger said. "It was awesome."

Having a roster that's 25 boys deep with a variety of classes has been a good problem for Gerwig to have, and that depth creates competition in practice, allowing players that hit the ice for the majority of Wednesday's contest to have the ability to perform at a high level.

"It's something that we've really cherished over the last few years," Gerwig said of the amount of players he has. "We've had big numbers recently and I've been able to develop guys in practice and when you have 25 going hard in practice the younger kids get better going against our stars."

That mentality is something that translated even to the opposing bench. Staples coach Todd Sharinn doesn't have a senior on the roster, so despite the lopsided score he believes his Wreckers (8-8, 3-6) are better for the experience.

"This year, more than anything, has been unbelievable for these kids," Sharinn said. "We have 14 freshmen, four sophomores, four juniors and not a single senior, so you can't be anything but proud of how hard they're working and how quick they're maturing."

Sharinn called his squad the best JV team in the state, and told them after the tumultuous first period that they had a choice to make, and he was happy with how they responded, even outscoring Darien 3-0 in the final period.

"Darien's like a dynasty with how good they are," Sharinn said. "We regrouped between the first and second and I explained to them, `You can go out and give the best you can or you can give up,' and I was really impressed with our second period and the third we played well and got a couple pucks in."

Gerwig has preached all season that he wants Darien to be playing its best hockey come playoff time. The Blue Wave have a tough road ahead but if Wednesday is any indication, they're on the right track.

aparelli@bcnnew.com; @reportedbytheAP

Darien 9, Staples 3

DARIEN 5 4 0--9

STAPLES 0 0 3--3

Records: Darien 11-2-1, 7-1-1; Staples 8-8, 3-6.

Goals: D--Pardue 2, Miller 3, Benjamin Brown, Riley Mullin, Thomas Sulger 2; S--Jesse Greenspun, Ryan Johnson, Sebastien Zeman. Assists: D--Jake Kirby 2, Jay Dickson, Brendan Cassidy, Jack Pardue, Nick Rohn, Alexander Kostrzewski; S--Ryan Johnson, Ian Offenberg. Goalies: D--Luke Kostrzewski (19 saves); S--Zachary Bloom (16), Angus Fuori (9). Shots: D--34; S--22.