Scott Ericson: Darien finally fulfills destiny by finally winning FCIAC title
Last season the Darien boys hockey team felt hoisting the FCIAC championship was trophy was its destiny, but a determined New Canaan team snatched it from them, leaving a bitter taste in the mouth of the returning Blue Wave players.
Having exorcised the first demon by beating the Rams in this season's semifinals, there was little No. 1 Greenwich could do to stop the Wave from rolling to the FCIAC crown this time around.
The No. 2 Blue Wave scored four second-period goals en route to the 5-3 victory at Terry Conner Ice Rink.
Add to that the fact the current Wave seniors had never taken home the league crown and this group was not letting another opportunity slip away.
"This was the No. 1 goal from day one," senior captain Craig Miller said. "A lot of the kids on this team were there last year and felt that feeling of losing this game and this year we really wanted to come back and get our hands on the trophy. This feels great and we never wanted to have that feeling again."
The Wave probably had moments of dread as Greenwich scored first and quickly again after Darien got the equalizer in the first period but never wavered in their strategy of attacking the net and forcing the action inside the Greenwich zone.
Darien coach Chris Gerwig said from the moment last season ended the focus was to get back and claim the title they felt they deserved the season before.
"It was a pretty bitter taste last year, but we were outplayed in the finals and they took away something we thought we were deserving," Gerwig said. "We got some revenge against New Canaan in the semis but to do this against Greenwich, the No. 1 team in the state is pretty satisfying. Mission accomplished for these guys."
The rink was packed on both sides but it was the Blue Wave fans going into party mode for most of the third period.
Miller said having that type of fan support gives the team an extra push in big games.
"We really, really wanted to get it back to Darien," Miller said. "It is a great feeling and I am very, very happy right now. The crowd is awesome and is a great help every game. Our fans are awesome, they come every nig game and are behind our backs all the way. I give them a lot of credit because they make a big difference every game."
The fans were certainly boisterous but ultimately it was the team on the ice bringing the title home and that is all that matters to Darien.
The last time Darien won it all was in 2008, when these seniors were barely in middle school and Gerwig said it could not have happened to a better group of players.
"They are probably the classiest group I have been able to coach," Gerwig said. "This goes back three years but these kids are very special and they really go to work for us on and off the ice better than any group I've had. I am very proud of them and they really wanted this bad and it showed tonight."
It certainly did show, from the moment they hit the ice they were the better team and hoisting the trophy may never have felt so good.