Wave prospects brighten this holiday season as newcomers shine in win number one.
Tenth grader Robbie Stewart kept a goal-a-game pace in Darien’s 8-1 win over New Canaan at the Ice House on Saturday.
You want to get your first win. And you especially want to get your first win against your big rival.
— Mac Budd
“He’s a sophomore and he’s a big strong kid,” said Darien coach Mac Budd. “And he plays with a bit of an edge and he has a really good shot.”
The Wave gets its first win improving to 1-2.
New Canaan, blown out not for the first time this winter, drops to 0-3.
First-year as first line center, Bennett McDermott scored twice.
“He worked very hard in the off-season,” said Budd. “And he’s really a hell of a playmaker for us. He hustles and he’s got some good skills.”
McDermott churned up the chances as well as made the puck turn up in the net.
McDermott’s not a rookie and neither are captains Will Dickson or Hunter Hazelton, who scored one apiece.
Still, all three played with an authority that spoke of each player’s first-time leadership roles.
But seeing Will Culliton, James Gregory and Hudson Pokorny land goals gives the Wave a hint of the depth it had in the recent championship years. This thing’s only getting started.
“This really is coming from all over the place,” said Budd. “I was happy to see that; that so many guys contributed offensively. You’re not leaning heavily or exclusively on one or two guys. It’s really a total team effort.”
Henri Pfeifle made 11 saves for his first win in his first year as starter.
“Being early in the season and being 0-2 I thought it was a big game for both teams,” said Budd. “You want to get your first win. And you especially want to get your first win against your big rival.”
Darien had the better of play in the first period, with the score stuck at 1-0 Wave.
“We had a number of shots in the first period,” said Budd. “And a lot of them were missing the net.”
The ready solution was shouting at them, so the coach didn’t have to.
“Let’s shoot, we have some good shooters,” Budd added. “Let’s get some pucks to the net.”
Hammer and tongs were brought out and players weren’t bashful to do some bashing in the second period. Penalties resulted.
And it was just as well for the have.
“I don’t think the coaches are ever happy to take silly and stupid penalties which put you a man down,” said Budd. “But I have to say I was happy with the way our guys played. They played a tough game, they played a physical game.”
And when the ice dust settled, the Wave, and its speed, thrived skating 4-on-4.
“Interestingly the penalty situation in the second period helped us,” said Budd. “Because we ended up with a 4-on-4 situation for two minutes and we really took advantage of that.”
The Wave scored twice to break the ice on the blowout-to-be with a 4-0 lead.
“It certainly gave us a little breathing room,” Budd said. “That was a critical point in the game.”
Dickson and Will Johnston worked the wheels up front.
“I think our team speed is quite good,” said Budd. “Having that open ice of the 4-on-4 really helped us.”
Pfeifle’s trial by fired pucks the last two games has only made him better.
“Henri played great,” said Budd. “He’s really been outstanding. He’s made some really big saves. I think the Prep game could have been worse were it not for his strong play. And I think today he made some big saves.
“He was ready and I think he did a better job of handling the puck than he has in the first two games.”