Darien started its ice hockey season with three wins, but three straight losses soon followed.
Now the Blue Wave girls hockey team is trending upward again.
After snapping a three-game losing skid with a victory against Trumbull-St. Joseph on Wednesday, Darien skated to a 2-0 win over FCIAC rival Greenwich Saturday night at Darien Ice House.
With the well-earned triumph, Darien raised its record to 5-3 overall and 4-1 in FCIAC play. Greenwich’s record stands at 5-3 overall and 4-2 in the FCIAC.
“We have a strong team and we have a lot of depth,” Darien coach Jamie Tropsa said. “I was happy that today we put it all together. We have not been playing to our best abilities up to date, so today big confidence-booster for us.”
Sophomore forwards Kate Bellissimo and Olivia Toscano scored one goal apiece for Darien, which received sparkling play from junior goalie Hallie Kreppein.
Darien’s three losses came against Morristown-Beard, Simsbury and New Canaan.
“We got off to kind of a rough start, losing to New Canaan, so we all knew we needed to win this game to get our momentum going,” Bellissimo said.
The Cardinals, who trailed 1-0 after the first period, got a strong effort from sophomore goalie Hannah Goldenberg.
“We played really well, Darien is a good team and they had a great game,” Goldenberg said. “As a team we need to keep working on a couple of more things and by the end of the season, we’ll be in good shape. I’m really happy with how our defense is playing.”
Bellissimo gave the Blue Wave at the 4:02 mark of the opening period, converting a shot from the point after receiving a pass from sophomore forward Kelly Raymond.
“My linemates Kelly and Lucie (Edwards) were working so hard in corners and the puck came out and I just shot it as hard as I could, aiming for the back post,” Bellissimo said of her goal. “We’ve been changing lines a bit and it all connected.”
The Blue Wave had chances to extend their lead and the Cardinals has opportunities to tally, but both goalies turned away numerous shots.
Toscano’s tally with 12:40 left in the third period put Darien on top, 2-0. Juniors Colleen Cassidy and Kit Arrix were each credited with assists on the goal, which came off a one-timer in front.
“Offensively, throughout the game we did a much better job than in previous games,” Tropsa said. “I’m really happy with our performance.”
Kreppein was challenged numerous times during the third period and wound up registering 13 saves in final period alone.
Greenwich’s Paige Finneran, Grace Fahey, Sydney Orszulak and Jennifer Kelly each directed shots toward Kreppein in the third period.
“I just block out all of the time and score and just focus on saving the puck, because that’s all I need to do,” Kreppein said. “We really stepped up from the past games that we played in and we all came out with a lot of heart and tried our best to redeem ourselves after those three losses. We had a great team effort.”
Both teams were whistled for four penalties.
“I thought we had a nice start for sure, then we had to kill a few penalties early on,” GHS coach Alex Lerchen said. “For the most part, our team played hard and we got some good things going. Unfortunately, we couldn’t build off it. Credit Darien, they played solid defense and protected their house today.”
Darien 2, Greenwich 0
Saturday, Jan. 12, at Darien Ice House
Greenwich 0 0 0 – 0
Darien 1 0 1 – 2
Darien: Kate Bellissimo 1gl Olivia Toscano 1g; Kelly Raymond 1a; Kit Arrix 1a; Colleen Cassidy 1a