No. 2 Darien romps over No. 4 New Canaan in rivalry battle

DARIEN — One of the keys to playing in the Darien-New Canaan boys ice hockey rivalry is controlling the emotions of the moment.

It also doesn’t hurt when the offense scores 10 goals.

Jamison Moore netted the opening goal at 2:35 and the No. 2 Blue Wave turned their game against No. 4 New Canaan into a party as they romped, 10-2, in front of a raucous crowd at the Darien Ice House on Saturday.

“Our captains talked to us and said just go out and play your game,” said Moore, who led the attack with one goal and four assists. “We’ve been practicing hard and really looking forward to this one. (The captains) did a good job keeping us in check during warm-ups and we all knew we had to come out and play like we’ve been practicing.”

The victory caps a huge week for Darien (10-4 overall, 5-1 FCIAC), which also beat No. 1 Fairfield Prep 2-1 on Wednesday and will almost assuredly take over the top spot in the next GameTimeCT top 10 poll on Tuesday.

It was also Darien’s fifth straight win against New Canaan dating back to the start of the 2017-18 season. The Wave topped the Rams three times that winter and then took a tough 4-3 decision in their only meeting last year.

On Saturday, nine players scored for Darien, which led 3-1 after one period before racking up six goals in the final 9:48 of an amazing second period.

“We didn’t expect that, that’s for sure,” Darien coach Mac Budd said. “That’s as good a game as I’ve seen our team play certainly all year and in a long time. (New Canaan) just had an off day and never really got going, so it’s one of those things that happens in hockey. The guys played really, really well.”

It was a shocker for New Canaan (11-2-1, 6-1), which had been undefeated in its past 10 games, and carried an unbeaten FCIAC record into the clash.

“Our strength has been our defensive play and we were doing stuff we normally don’t do,” New Canaan coach Clark Jones said. “Stuff right in front of the net, wide open, faceoff breakdowns, and on top of that Darien played really well. They won 90% of the board battles.”

New Canaan briefly had a chance to make some noise in the first period after goals by Moore and Albert Liam had given the Wave a 2-0 lead.

The Rams’ Jack Johnson intercepted a pass behind the Darien net and sent it out in front to Michael Rayher, who scored top shelf to cut the deficit to 2-1 with 2:25 remaining in the first.

Just 1:06 later, however, Darien responded when Ryan Spengler found the net with assists from Moore and Bennett McDermott for a 3-1 lead.

Matt Fiorita and McDermott made it 5-1 in the second period when Johnson scored the Rams’ second goal, but again Darien answered in a little over a minute to keep the momentum.

“We came into this with the mentality that no one was stopping us,” Moore said. “We played really well in our last game (against Prep). We didn’t think this (score) was going to happen, but we were pretty confident we were going to come out on top.”


Before the game, the teams honored the life of Kaleigh Griffiths, a New Canaan High School student who passed away last fall after a battle with leukemia.

Both the Rams and Blue Wave wore orange laces and tape in Kaleigh’s memory, and in support of Leukemia Awareness.

Kaleigh’s brother Liam, a senior at NCHS, thanked the crowd before the game and dropped the ceremonial first puck.


Jamison Moore, Darien. There are plenty of offensive accolades to go around for Darien, but it was Moore’s goal that broke the ice early and he was also in the middle of plenty of the action.


“When our guys buy in and move the puck well, we have a very good hockey club and that was the case today. We broke out of our zone efficiently with a strong first pass, we moved well through the neutral zone, our offense off the rush was great and we generated a lot chances. You saw our team really buy in and play a great game from start to finish.” — Darien coach Mac Budd.

david.stewart; @dstewartsports



DARIEN 3 6 1 - 10

NEW CANAAN 1 1 0 - 2

Darien: Jamison Moore 1g, 4a; Bennett McDermott 2g, 2a; Ryan Spengler 1g, 2a; Daniel Lowe 1g, 1a; Max Sharp 1g, 1a; Albert Lian 1g; Matt Fiorita 1g; Sam Erickson 1g; Rex Elwell 1g; James Conway 1a; Jack Massey 1a; Tauson Pfeiffle 1a.

New Canaan: Michael Rayhner 1g, 1a; Jack Johnson 1g, 1a; Eric Wills 1a.

Saves: D - Chris Schofield 19; NC - Beau Johnson 25.

Records: Darien 10-4 overall, 5-1 FCIAC; New Canaan 11-2-1, 6-1.