Ridgefield, Darien advance to FCIAC girls hockey final
DARIEN — A total of six periods were played between four teams at the Darien Ice Rink Wednesday evening, but two were the difference between advancing to the FCIAC finals and going home.
First Ridgefield turned a tie game after two periods into a 6-3 win over New Canaan and Darien followed with a 6-1 win over Stamford/Westhill/Staples, using a four-goal second period.
“Not stopping, just taking one shift at a time and we’ll just look up at the scoreboard at the end and see what the score is.” Ridgefield coach Lauren Lubrano said of what she told her team after the second intermission, where it was tied with New Canaan 2-2.
“It’s very exciting,” Reilly said of the hat trick and resulting victory. “We just can’t wait to get to the finals and I think we came out here with our eye on making it all the way to the end.”
Reilly isn’t just a leader on the ice, but in the locker room as well and has been the driving force of a team that hopes to upset Darien Saturday afternoon at Terry Connors Rink in Stamford.
“She’s unbelievable,” Lubrano said of her captain. “Every game she responds, she doesn’t stop, she’s our hardest worker. She’s a great leader and she deserves everything she’s gotten; she carried this team on her back.”
For the Blue Wave (15-2) it was a relentless attack that separated them from the Stamford Co-Op (13-4). After taking a 1-1 tie into the first intermission Darien came out in the second and put 22 pucks on net to Stamford’s two, resulting in four goals in the period.
“It was definitely one of our better games,” Darien coach Jamie Tropsa said of his team’s offensive outburst. “We wanted to keep wearing them out and we knew we had to get a lot of shots and a lot of bodies to the net and hopefully things would bounce our way and they eventually did.”
For rival New Canaan (9-7-1) it was a battle just playing the game; the Rams had the flu bug hit their locker room and their speed was clearly affected later in the contest, but coach Rich Bulan isn’t using that as an excuse of why a talented Ridgefield team was able to come away with the victory.
“Give them credit,” Bulan said of Ridgefield, who his Rams had defeated twice in the regular season, both times 4-3. “They came after us the whole time and came at us hard, they played very well, they took it to us, they scored when they needed to and now we have to wait until Monday and see what we can do in states — hopefully everyone gets better.”
The other team that came up on the short side Wednesday night, SWS, has only had a program for four years, and the growth that coach Eli Williams has seen has been nothing short of remarkable.
“We won one game our first year then doubled that our second year and then last year we won six,” Williams said of his program still in its infancy. “They push each other and the work ethic is unreal, there’s three different schools, different walks of life, but they come in that locker room and put that jersey on and they’re united, that’s a family in there, it’s unreal.”
Williams has relied on the play of his goalie Claire Parry, who gave up six goals in the contest but it could’ve easily been double-digits as Darien recorded 46 shots on net.
“She’s the best in this state for a reason,” Williams said of Parry, the sophomore who had 40 saves. “She works her tail off game in game out, in practice, and she’s been our rock; that’s our rock back there.”
Darien’s Tropsa watched the Ridgefield win and is now looking ahead to Saturday, where he says his team will need to use its speed to come away with the FCAIC title.
“Ridgefield is a very good team,” Tropsa said. “We have to play with confidence, we have to play with a lot of energy, I think were faster than they are and that’s what we’re going to tell our kids.”
RIDGEFIELD 0 2 4—6
NEW CANAAN 1 1 1—3
Records: Ridgefield 11-6; New Canaan 9-7-1.
Goals: R—Maeve Reilly 3, Meghan Hyatt, Maddie Burns, Tracey Stafford; NC—Brooke Deane, Catherine Granito, Gianna Bruno. Assists: R—Burns, Reilly, Stafford, Hyatt; NC—Elizabeth McCarthy. Goalies: R—Michaela Gleeson (20 saves); NC—Sarah Klearman (9), Sarah Street (1). Shots: R—16; NC—25.
DARIEN 1 4 1—6
STAMFORD-WESTHILL-STAPLES 1 0 0—1
Records: Darien 15-2, Stamford 13-4.
Goals: D—Sally Cassidy, Marissa Baker, Schuyler van den Broek, Georgia Cassidy, Chandler Kirby; S—Cassie Miolene. Assists: D—Allegra Molkenthin; S—May Fay. Goalies: D—Emily Gianunzio (4 saves), Izzy Scribano (5); S—Claire Parry (40). Shots: D—46; S—9.