The start of a new ice hockey season typically contains some mystery for high school teams, and the Darien Blue Wave is no exception. The Wave has had a remarkable run of success, but does need to replace several key players who graduated last spring.
If the season opener is any indication, Darien is in good hands yet again.
The Wave came out of the gates flying and rolled to a 9-1 victory over the Green Dragons of Hamden Wednesday night at the Darien Ice House.
Seven different players scored goals and Darien was in fine form in every aspect of the game after working through some issues during an FCIAC jamboree last Saturday.
“I was very happy with the way we played coming off Saturday night when we had a few issues,” head coach Jamie Tropsa said. “We seemed to put things together tonight. I was really happy with the speed we came out with. That was the most impressive thing that happened for us tonight.”
The victory wasn’t against a lower-tier team either. Hamden is a traditional playoff team, which reached the state final two years ago before being eliminated in the first round last winter. The Dragons were overwhelmed on Wednesday, however, as Darien scored less than two minutes after the opening drop and never looked back.
“Hamden is a very good team, they’re big, they’re strong and they’re tough,” Tropsa said. “They have a few good hockey players on that team, so this was a really nice win for us.”
Senior co-captain Shea van den Broek and sophomore Catherine Martin each scored twice for the Wave, with van den Broek also adding an assist to begin the season with three quick points.
Juniors Cate Droogan, a co-captain, and Caitlin Chan, and sophomores Catherine Martin and Olivia Toscano each had one goal and one assist.
Freshman Hope Johnson netted the game’s final goal — and the first of her varsity career — and sophomore Lucie Edwards and freshmen Sarah Hearns and Evelyn Hidy had assists.
“We have our leading scorer (van den Broek) and most of our defense coming back, so we knew we’d be able to move the puck very well and score some goals,” Tropsa said. “We just didn’t know who it was going to be. We did lose a couple of kids who scored a lot of goals last year.
“We work on speed and we try to move the puck and then get opportunities and take advantage of them. Tonight, we did that. We have four good lines of hockey players.”
Chan netted the game’s opening goal at the 1:59 mark, and Martin then scored with an assist from Edwards at 5:28 of the first period. Van den Broek scored her first goal, with Droogan assisting, at 11:38 as the Wave led 3-0 after one period. A goal by Bellissimo early in the second stanza made it 4-0.
Hamden scored its lone goal on a power play at the 8:43 mark. Reilly Sargolini found the net with helpers from Ariana Martin and Demeri Colangelo.
Droogan answered just 19 seconds after the Hamden goal, making it 5-1 and the Wave cruised to the win.
The victory turned the page into a new chapter for the Wave.
“We’ve got to make ourselves our own team now,” Tropsa said. “Last year’s team is over and this is a new team. We have to get on the right track for ourselves. We have all the pieces of the puzzle, so now we just have to play together as a team.”
Darien 9, Hamden 1
Wed., Dec. 5, at Darien Ice House
Hamden 0-1-0 1
Darien 3-3-3 9
Hamden: Reilly Sargolini 1g; Ariana Martin 1a; Demeri Colangelo 1a
Darien: Shea van den Broek 2g, 1a; Kate Bellissimo 2g; Cate Droogan 1g, 1a; Caitlin Chan 1g, 1a; Catherine Martin 1g, 1a; Olivia Toscano 1g, 1a; Hope Johnson 1g; Sarah Hearns 1a; Lucie Edwards 1a; Evelyn Hidy 1a