Chris Gerwig’s seen plenty to like this season so far, only, he had been waiting to see something he likes best.
“I know some good things have been happening here,” Gerwig said in general of Wave boys hockey going 4-1-1, after running the usual season starting gauntlet of top ranked CT teams, of which DHS is hovering around the top three. “We are going into the season with a little roll from having some good efforts against some of the bigger teams.”
But the best thing he’s seen so far, the one thing he’s waited for, happened — and kept right on happening — on Saturday night.
“We played a complete 45 minute game for the first time this year,” Gerwig said of the Wave’s 7-1 win at South Windsor. “I finally had my full team with everyone healthy.”
That’s even if Darien did lose its main man on defense, senior Dana Wensberg, to an upper body injury, with him expected to be back in a few weeks.
South Windsor (2-6) beat Darien in OT last year.
“They are somewhat young, and they play a great schedule too,” Gerwig said. “And I was very satisfied with our effort. It was nice.”
Tommy Watters had his first Wave Puck hat trick and finished with four points. He’s been threatening to do just something like this since Hamden.
“He hadn’t been scoring for us and we needed him to the other night,” Gerwig said.
Jack Knowlton scored twice and set up three goals to lead the points-parade.
Watters, a junior, and senior Knowlton clicked together on a new line, along with Connor Davis, scoring one and having two helpers.
“I don’t like talking about line-changes too much, but I experimented against South Windsor,” said Gerwig. “And, we had some new combos going, we just felt that we needed a little change; and not rely on one line all the time.
“We got a lot of that against South Windsor.”
Sophomore Craig Miller had his first varsity goal, from Robbie Juterbock and Owen Koorbusch.
Usual linemates Brendan Hathaway and Trent Bergin set up Knowlton on a powerplay goal.
Sophomore Jack Pardue had the unusual honor of skating with Hathaway and Bergin.
Mike Collins made 15 stops and Darien bombarded the Bobcats’ cage with 42 shots.
The Wave has always gotten plenty of ice, and this season, they are not letting that advantage slide under the Zamboni and go up in smoke.
“I told these guys, I think that champions are made in practice,” Gerwig said. “And that doesn’t mean go out on the ice and try to kill each other. That just means: work hard.”
There’s been plenty of that.
“And really do everything at high tempo,” Gerwig added. “And these guys are doing it. Practices are fun.”
The boys have honed a game early on where Darien’s proven to be no fun to score against, not if you’re looking to have much fun.
“The goaltending’s been great, the defense has been great,” Gerwig, a former defenseman, said. “If you look at our goals against, 2-1 against Hamden, 5-1 against West Haven, 0-0 against New Canaan.
“A little bit of a shootout against Notre Dame of Fairfield, we were up 3-1 with 4:00 minutes left. Then we had a breakdown and we stopped playing hockey. Next thing you know we are in an overtime thriller.”
Darien’s only setback was falling 3-0 to No. 2 ranked — then No. 1 — Notre Dame-West Haven away on Jan. 2.
“We just didn’t find the back of the net,” Gerwig said. “We hit the post when it was 1-0 early in the third off a designed face-off play.”
Darien went to 5-1-1, 1-0 FCIAC beating Westhill 5-0 on Wednesday, and with that, is three more wins away, already, from making states.