DARIEN — When Darien and New Canaan play each other in any sport there’s no telling what could happen — especially when they are two of the best teams in the state.

Saturday’s girls hockey matchup between the two schools was evidence of that.

The Blue Wave edged the Rams 3-2, handing New Canaan its first loss while maintaining their own undefeated streak in the conference.

“Whenever New Canaan plays Darien in any sport the rivalry is just so tremendous,” Wave coach Jamie Tropsa said. “These girls couldn’t wait to play this game, I’m sure New Canaan couldn’t wait to play this game and its great to see that we came ready to play.”

For the first two periods it looked as if Darien (9-1, 8-0) would cruise to an easy win over its rival. The Wave scored twice in the opening frame, first from Elise Maro then later Cassidy Schiff tipped in a Katie Zaro shot to give Darien a 2-0 edge.

The teams were scoreless in the second but Darien was all over the Rams, outshooting them 15-1 in the period. If it weren’t for the stellar play from Rams freshman goalie Amanda Hill (27 saves) the game could have easily gotten out of hand at that point.

“She’s played so cool under pressure,” Rams coach Rich Bulan said of Hill, who has split time this season with sophomore Sarah Street. “Against Ridgefield, against Stamford, against Hamden — she played a great game, didn’t let us down that’s for sure.”

In the third period the tide shifted dramatically in the contest. New Canaan (8-1, 6-1) came out and outskated the same Darien team that had dominated the first 30 minutes.

With 9:25 left in the game New Canaan got its first goal when Katherine McMahon banged a loose puck in from a foot away.

Five minutes later it would be New Canaan’s star, Catherine Granito, during a power play bouncing a sharp-angle shot off the back of Darien goalie Emily Gianunzio and into the net to tie the game.

“All we talked about was simple adjustments,” Bulan said of the speech that turned the game in between the second and third periods. “(Darien’s) the best skating team in the state, they’ve got depth, Jamie does a great job with that team. It wasn’t even a rah-rah speech it was, let’s be smart, get in their zone, out of our zone and try to make things happen and God bless them they went out there and did it.”

One minute after New Canaan’s star tied the game, Darien’s made her own mark.

Georgia Cassidy controlled a loose puck, skated through the neutral zone and slid a shot perfectly between two defenders and, eventually, the five-hole for the winning score.

“I just aimed between their skates because I knew they were screening the goalie and she couldn’t see anything,” Cassidy said. “So I shot it hard on the ice and it went in.”

Having a player like that who can put the game in her hands like Cassidy is a luxury that Tropsa knows he’s lucky to have.

“Georgia wasn’t ready to roll over, she wanted to make something happen herself and obviously she did,” Tropsa said. “Our whole team, what a great group of girls, they didn’t have any quit in them either.”

aparelli@bcnnew.com @reportedbytheAP


NEW CANAAN 0 0 2—2

DARIEN 2 0 1—3

Records: New Canaan 8-1, 6-1; Darien 9-1, 8-0. Goals: NC—Katherine McMahon, Catherine Granito; D—Elise Maro, Cassidy Schiff, Georgia Cassidy. Assists: NC—Granito; D—Hannah McLane, Katie Zaro. Goalies: NC—Amanda Hill (27 saves); D—Emily Gianunzio (7); Shots: NC—9; D—30.