Darien girls win FCIAC title
STAMFORD — For the seniors of the Darien girls hockey team the FCIAC dynasty is complete.
The Blue Wave defeated rival New Canaan 2-0 for the conference title Saturday afternoon at Terry Conners rink in Stamford.
The win means that Darien’s six seniors; Georgia Cassidy, Marissa Baker, Katie Zaro, Hannah McLane, Schuyler van den Broek and Chandler Kirby never lost a conference game, earning four championships along the way.
“It’s awesome, the six of us, we couldn’t be happier about it,” Cassidy, the MVP of the championship said. “We’ve been through all of it together and we’ve worked so hard, we’ve never lost an FCIAC championship, never lost an FCIAC game, the six of us together love playing with each other so it means everything.”
Cassidy, as she’s done so many times, whether it be field hockey or on the ice, came up the biggest when it mattered most.
Late in the first she took a pass from Courtney Lowe and shook a couple defenders before burying a breakaway opportunity.
“It’s pretty amazing isn’t it?” laughed Darien coach Jamie Tropsa regarding Cassidy’s propensity for the big stage. “She’s a very unique athlete.”
For the majority of the contest the teams played even with each other, no surprise given that both matchups earlier in the year were decided by one goal.
Early in the third Cassidy would strike again, this time on a power-play chance with a slapshot from just inside the blue line that a screened Amanda Hill couldn’t stop.
“Winning big games like this, I just feel like there’s nothing better,” Cassidy said. “It’s my favorite thing in the world, to win games like this and celebrate with my team.”
The two blemishes on the freshman Hill weren’t indicative of the ability she played with against the explosive Darien team that scored eight goals in the semifinals. Hill had three consecutive brilliant saves in the second to make sure her team always had a shot.
“I’ve known Gianna since I was 10 years old and we’ve become really good friends,” Gianunzio said. “But on the ice there’s always tension because we always want to beat each other, so her being the person who always got the breakaway gave me a little more ‘I needed to stop her.’”
New Canaan coach Rich Bulan was upbeat after the loss, his team left everything on the ice and he was rewarded by his players after he switched to rotating just two lines to try to matchup with Darien’s skill with an increased energy level, especially in the third.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the girls,” Bulan said. “We had our chances, if the puck bounces differently you never know, we might still be playing but they kept coming at us and I think they were surprised we had a little extra energy still left to battle — but it was a great game, congratulations to them.”
DARIEN 2, NEW CANAAN 0
DARIEN 1 0 1—2
NEW CANAAN 0 0 0—0
Goals: D—Georgia Cassidy 2. Assists: D—Courtney Lowe. Goalies: NC—Amanda Hill (14 saves); D—Emily Gianunzio (11). Shots: NC—11; D—16.