Ridgefield eliminates defending champion Darien
RIDGEFIELD — It took just one Darien miscue for Ridgefield to find its footing.
Tied at one in the third, No.15 Darien got called for a cross-check. The second-ranked Tigers needed just seven seconds to capitalize on the power play, and added another tally less than a minute later.
Ridgefield added an empty-netter for good measure and went on to beat two-time defending champion Darien 4-1 in the opening round of the Division I state tournament at the Winter Garden Ice Arena in Ridgefield on Wednesday.
“We were fighting them off for a while,” Ridgefield coach Shaun Gallagher said. “We scored quick on the power play and you can see after that goal we were flying, we were all over them after that.”
On Saturday, the FCIAC champion Tigers will battle Fairfield Prep, the last team to win the Division I title before the Blue Wave. Ridgefield split the season series with the Jesuits at a game apiece.
“They’re going to be ready to go,” Gallagher said of Prep. “They’ve been in this position many, many times. They’re a good program, they’re well coached and they’re definitely going to be ready — so our job is to make sure we’re just as ready.”
Ridgefield looked ready in the first against Darien, playing fast and physical and drawing first blood at the 3:45 mark on Will Forrest’s rebound tally.
The second was all Wave, but Ridgefield goalie Sean Keegan was up to the task, making 13 saves in period two alone.
“I was just focusing on playing my game and being ready for every shot,” Keegans said of stymieing the Darien push. “My defense did a good job of keeping the shots outside so that was a big help, it’s just about having a playoff mentality.”
Keegans has had no problem with that mentality. After playing stellar in the regular season and helping his team to a conference title the senior has earned the reputation as one of the best netminders i
While Darien did come up short for much of the season, Budd was still happy with the way his team battled after losing 18 players from a season ago.
“I’m very proud
RIDGEFIELD 4, DARIEN 1
DARIEN 0 0 1—1
RIDGEFIELD 1 0 3—4
Goals: D—Alex Kostrzewski; R—Will Forrest 2, Jack McGeary, Landon Byers. Assists: D—James Gregory; R—Jack Stafford, Matteo van Wees, Nick Cullinan. Goalies: D—Brendan Bumgardner (29 saves); R—Sean Keegans (29). Shots: D—30; R—33.