Darien, New Canaan earn state shutouts, will clash in girls ice hockey semis

Get ready for round four.
After already facing each other three times during the 2017-18 girls ice hockey season, the rival Darien Blue Wave and New Canaan Rams will square off one last time when they meet in the CHSGHA semifinals at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, at The Rinks at Shelton.
Darien and New Canaan each advanced with a shutout in the quarterfinals Saturday at Terry Conners Rink in Stamford. The second-seeded Wave defeated No. 10 Simsbury 3-0 in the early game, while No. 3 New Canaan blanked West Haven/Sacred Heart Academy 2-0 in the late game.
The game were remarkably similar, as New Canaan and Darien outshot their opponents by identical 24-15 margins.
Darien grabbed a 1-0 lead on an unassisted tally by junior Shea van den Broek at the 8:40 mark of the first period, and then added a power play goal just 2:05 into the second.
Senior co-captain Corinne Bevill scored with the advantage, netting a rebound after a shot by senior co-captain Kiki Tropsa. Freshman Kate Bellissimo also assisted on the play.
The third and final goal came with 9:21 remaining in the second period, when freshman Nelle Kniffin scored on another rebound, with an assist from sophomore Kit Arrix.
Sophomore goalie Hallie Kreppein collected 15 saves to get the shutout win.
New Canaan dominated the flow of the game in the first period against West Haven, taking the first 11 shots and holding an 11-3 advantage in attempt, but West Haven goalie Tatum Courtmanche (21 saves) held up under the pressure and kept it scoreless heading to the second frame.
The Rams finally broke through at the 5:52 mark of the second period, when senior co-captains Liz McCarthy and Gianna Bruno teamed up to bear Courtmanche. Bruno had the puck behind the goal and spotted McCarthy open in front. She slid a perfect pass to McCarthy who slammed it into the open net for a 1-0 lead.
On the Rams’ next shot, they found the net again for a 2-0 lead.
Freshman McKenna Harden got the puck to freshman Anika Curri, who broke out on the left side. Curri skated through the circle and whipped a perfect shot top shelf to the far post at 7:14.
New Canaan’s freshman goalie Blythe Novick was perfect on the evening, making 15 saves for the shutout.
That set up the fourth showdown between the Rams and Wave, with a trip to the state championship game on the line.
New Canaan had the better of the first three meetings, winning all three games, although every game was close. The Rams won 2-1 in December and 2-0 in January, and the third meeting was a 3-2 double overtime thriller in the FCIAC semifinals.
In that game, New Canaan took a 2-0 lead and Darien rallied to tie it 2-2, before Ram freshman Courtney O’Connell ended it with a goal late in the second overtime.
Girls Ice Hockey State Quarterfinals
Saturday, March 3, at Terry Conners Rink
Darien 3, Simsbury 0
Simsbury 0-0-0 0
Darien 1-2-0 3
Darien: Shea van den Broek 1 goal; Corinne Bevill 1 goal; Nell Kniffin 1 goal; Kate Bellissimo 1 assist; Kiki Tropsa 1 assist; Caitlin Chan 1 assist
Goalies
S – Tori LaCroix 21 saves
D – Hallie Kreppein 15 saves
Shots
S – 15; D – 24
New Canaan 2, West Haven/Sacred Heart Academy 0
WH/SHA 0-0-0 0
New Canaan 0-2-0 2
New Canaan: Liz McCarthy 1 goal; Anika Curri 1 goal; Gianna Bruno 1 assist; McKenna Harden 1 assist
Goalies
WH – Tatum Courtmanche 22 saves
NC – Blythe Novick 15 saves
Shots
WH – 15; NC – 24
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Wave senior co-captain Corinne Bevill skates to the puck during the State quarterfinals Saturday at Terry Conners Rink. Corinne had a goal as Darien blanked Simsbury, 3-0. — Dave Stewart photo

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