Darien ices Fairfield in FCIAC boys hockey
Darien, the state’s top-ranked team in the GameTimeCT boys ice hockey poll, ended up as the No. 3 seed in its conference tournament, and survived a comeback bid by the Fairfield co-op to win, 4-2, in the FCIAC playdown round Saturday at the Darien Ice House.
The Blue Wave (17-4) will now take on No. 2 Greenwich (13-6-1) in the semifinals at Hamill Rink in Greenwich at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday.
Darien and Greenwich split two meetings during the regular season, with the Wave winning 5-3 in the annual Winter Classic outdoors at the Greenwich Skating Club on Dec. 28, and the Cardinals winning 3-2 in overtime at the Darien Ice House on Jan. 13.
The other FCIAC semifinals will have No. 4 Ridgefield (12-9) facing No. 1 New Canaan (17-2-1) at the Darien Ice House at 6 p.m., Wednesday.
Darien ended the regular season in a three-way tie with New Canaan and Greenwich atop the FCIAC standings, as all three teams had 10-1 league marks. The head-to-head tiebreaker couldn’t break the deadlock, as Darien defeated New Canaan, New Canaan defeated Greenwich, and Greenwich defeated Darien in official league games.
A random draw was used to snap the tie, with Darien ending up at No. 3. New Canaan took the top spot by virtue of its win over Greenwich, and Greenwich took the No. 2 spot.
In its playdown game, Darien was dominating with a 3-0 lead after two periods.
Bennett McDermott opened the scoring with a goal 5:35 after the opening drop, and Max Sharp scored 2:13 into the second period to make it 2-0. Alek Garabet set up Sharp’s goal with a pass in front. The puck came forward off Matt Fiorita’s stick and Sharp smacked it into the net.
Fiorita then scored less than three minutes later, tucking a back-hander past Fairfield goalie John Grace (20 saves) for a 3-0 lead.
Fairfield answered in the third, starting with a slapshot from the point by Rhys Davies during a power play with 7:24 remaining.
Fairfield turned up the pressure and closed the gap to 3-2 when John Pisciotta scored with 5:23 left. Fairfield took three shots during the series, with Darien goalie Chris Schofield (14 saves) blocking the first two attempts before Pisciotta scored on a rebound.
With a minute and a half remaining, Fairfield pulled Grace from the net and had a 6-on-5 with a faceoff in the Wave zone. Fairfield won the faceoff, but a shot was blocked by Sam Erickson, who beat two skaters back to the puck and slipped it into the empty net to seal the win.
DARIEN 4, FAIRFIELD CO-OP 2
FAIRFIELD 0 0 2 - 2
DARIEN 1 2 1 - 4
Fairfield: Sam Swanson 1g, 1a; James Picsotta 1g, Rhys Davies 1a, Matt Jankovsky 1a.
Darien: Matt Fiorita 1g, 1a; Sam Erickson 1g, 1a; Jamison Moore 2a; Bennett McDermott 1g; Max Sharp 1g; Alek Garabet 1a.
Saves: FF - John Grace 20; D - Chris Schofield 14.
Records: Fairfield 12-9, Darien 17-4.