Stout defense and an explosive four-goal third period paved the way for New Canaan to turn another would-be classic with Darien into a fairly one-sided 9-4 victory. The Rams moved to 5-0 (4-0 FCIAC) while the Blue Wave dropped to 3-3 (3-1 FCIAC). New Canaan also snapped a five-game losing streak to their archrivals.
Persky vs. Lindley: One of the more entertaining matchups on the night was Darien attacker Peter Lindley against New Canaan defenseman Eric Persky. Entering the game, Lindley was scoring goals at a torrid pace for the Blue Wave, but Persky was instrumental in holding the dangerous sniper at bay.
Lindley’s only goal came with just 1:10 remaining after the game’s outcome had long since been decided. Lindley was able to rack up six shots, but most of them went wide of the cage or were stopped by New Canaan goalie Trent Nader.
If there’s a Round 2 – or even Round 3 – between the Rams and Wave, this will be an entertaining matchup to watch.
“Our defense has been incredible,” New Canaan coach Chip Buzzeo said. “(Nader) is a special goalie and the guys in front of him played well.”
Better days ahead for Darien: For the first time in a long time, the Blue Wave may not be the FCIAC and state tournament favorites. After a one-loss regular season campaign in 2012 and a Class M state championship, Darien has started just 3-3 (3-1 FCIAC) in 2013.
But don’t count out the Wave. Their losses have come at the hands off quality teams — national powers Manhassett, NY and Niskayuna, NY and the Rams. The upcoming schedule is hardly a picnic, but many are games that Darien will expect to win. Darien’s next four FCIAC games are home against St. Joseph, at Staples, home against McMahon and home against Norwalk.
“Persky is a top defensive player in Connecticut, and he’s going to lock down on a lot of good kids,” Darien coach Jeff Brameier said. “We tried to do too much against him, and he created a lot of pressure on us and put the ball on the ground.”
It’s all but guaranteed that teams such as Wilton, Ridgefield, New Canaan, Greenwich and Darien will be in the FCIAC tournament at season’s end. Seeds are very unlikely to matter much –- especially from the semifinals and beyond — and if the Wave hit their stride at the right time, they’ll certainly be a threat to recapture the title.
New Canaan not resting on its laurels: Not only are the Rams off to a 5-0 start, but they haven’t exactly had too many layups to start the season. New Canaan won a barnburner by coming from behind to defeat Wilton 10-8 on Opening Night, and also has a trio of fairly lopsided wins over three contending FCIAC squads in Norwalk (17-7), St. Joseph (10-3) and Darien (9-4). The other win was an 8-4 decision over Somers, NY.
While pleased with their five-for-five start to the campaign, the Rams sound well aware that they haven’t won anything yet.
“It’s only five games, but it’s five good games that we’ve won. We’re just going to keep it going,” New Canaan’s Harry Stanton said. “We have a lot of guys, we’re a well-rounded team and it’s not just one guy. We have a lot of confidence in our team in that locker room, and we’re definitely going to keep it going.”