Top-seeded Darien knocks off Staples
STAMFORD -- Darien's strategy in the FCIAC quarterfinal game against Staples was simple: put as many pucks at the net as possible and hope to find some offensive success.
That game plan worked for the Blue Wave (18-2-1) as they grossly outshot the Wreckers 64-19 before coming away with a 5-1 victory.
"Scoring has been limited for us this year," Darien coach Chris Gerwig said of his team, who prior to the FCIAC playoffs scored only one goal apiece in its final three games. "We're not putting a lot of pucks in net and you can only win games like that so many times."
The win advances Darien to Wednesday's 8 p.m. semifinal against No. 4 Trinity Catholic, a 2-0 winner over Greenwich.
Because of the offensive lull Gerwig and his staff preached success by repetition in practice, a message that his players heard loud and clear.
"This whole week coach has been focusing on getting pucks at the net and drilling it in our head," said senior Thomas Watters, who scored two goals on the afternoon.
Complimenting Watters was Connor Davis who scored two goals of his own, the first of which came just 1:15 into the contest, while also assisting on one of Watters scores. Also tallying for Darien was junior Jack Pardue. Nicholas Tuzinkiewicz and Dillion Fitzpatrick both had assists on the day.
Three minutes after Davis' quick strike Staples' (8-12-1) Eric Zurmuehle stole a puck at the Darien blue line and converted over the goalies right shoulder to tie the game at 1, but Darien would go on to score the final four goals unanswered.
"I'm proud of these boys," Staples coach Todd Sharinn said. "I think there were moments where we showed what we're capable of but unfortunately the game is 45 minutes long and you have to sustain it. When we let down they capitalized, they're a very good hockey team."
Doing his best to keep the Wreckers in it was goalie William Englehart who had to face the unending barrage of Darien shots and despite giving up five goals registered an impressive 39 saves.
"Will's an amazing kid," Sharinn said. "He works so hard in practice and it shows; his form is always off but he does it, he gets the job done, he kept us in this."
Gerwig doesn't plan on changing his strategy .
"It's playoff hockey and goals don't always come pretty," Gerwig said. "Sometimes it's the ugly ones that are going to win a championship."
Darien 5, Staples 1
STAPLES 1 0 0--1
DARIEN 2 1 2--5
Records: Staples 8-12-1, Darien 12-1-1
Goals: S-Eric Zurmuehle; D-Connor Davis 2, Thomas Watters 2, Carter Joyce; Assists: D-Nicholas Tuzinkiewicz, Connor Davis; Goalies: S-William Englehart (44 saves); D-Michael Colon (16); Shots: S--19; D--64