Youngsters ‘looking great’ for new look state champs in opener

Wave 4, West Haven High/SHA Co-op 1

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SEEN IT ALL — Captain KiKi Tropsa is one of the solid core of veteran comeback kids from the state title team. Courtesy Darien Athletic Foundation

GIRLS HOCKEY

The defending state champions opened the season like, champs.

Darien took a 2-0 first period lead and beat a good team in West Haven HS/Sacred Heart Academy co-op 4-1 at Bennett Rink on Monday.

I am very proud of how the entire team played today; especially our goalie.

— KiKi Tropsa

Cate Droogan, Kiki TropsaCorinne BevillLibby Branca had the goals, Shea van den Broek, Corinne Bevill and Kate Bellissimo the assists for the Wave.

“We have a lot of young players this year and they are looking great,” said senior captain KiKi Tropsa. “I know the coaches and the captains are really looking for them to step up and I know they are fully capable of doing so.”

And the vets and young ones got it done against a team that went 17-2-2 last season as SCC D2 champions and third seed quarterfinalists in the state tournament.

It was fast-paced, even slick, for an opener, and Wave first-year starter in net sophomore Hallie Kreppein (17 saves) didn’t slip up.

She was sharp.

“She had some great saves that prevented West Haven from gaining any momentum,” said Tropsa. “And (that) really allowed us to attack often.”

Kreppein stopped a breakaway in the second period to hold the two-goal lead.

And the passing was sharp, with three of the four Wave goals scored off feeds from down low back to the point.

Droogan made it 1-0 from van den Broek, scoring on their first shift of the season.

Van den Broek slid the puck back to Droogan from the face-off circle and Droogan sent a wrist shot into the net from the point.

Tropsa made it 2-0 from the blue line 10 minutes later with a wrist shot on a feed from fellow captain Bevill.

West Haven got back into it in the second period with a goal from Taylor Nowak from Mia Celentano, with the forecheck churning up the puck and causing a 2-on-1.

Bevill made it 3-1 unassisted less than a minute later.

She scooped the puck at center ice, carried it into the zone and her wrist shot beat the goalie over her shoulder.

Branca scored from freshman Bellissimo for 4-1 in the third period.

Bellissimo gave Branca the set-up pass from the corner. Branca let it go from the point scoring high with another wrist shot finding the net.

Tatum Courtmanche made 26 saves for the hosts.

“They were a really strong and skilled team,” Tropsa said. “I am very proud of how the entire team played today; especially our goalie.”