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A little more than nine months ago, the Darien boys lacrosse team had a remarkable 76-game winning streak come to an end against Ridgefield in the Class L final.

On Saturday, Darien started over with victory No. 1.

The Blue Wave scored just 24 seconds after the opening faceoff and never relinquished the lead as they defeated the visiting Yorktown Huskers, 11-7, at Darien High School.

While it was by no means a picture-perfect game for Darien, the win was impressive as it came against a Yorktown team which has a strong core of veterans and already had two games — both wins — in the books.

“We have to figure out what are M.O. is,” said Darien head coach Jeff Brameier, who is now in his 36th year leading the Wave. “Yorktown’s had two games to do that and I thought they played a smart, possession-style offense, so we didn’t see the ball as much as we’d like, and their goalie is a returning starter and he had a good game.

“The big thing for us was we never let them close the gap. We had a two-goal gap for most of the game and when it looked like they were making a run, we had an answer and that’s what you want to see out of a team.”

It was Darien’s sixth consecutive win over the Huskers, who last beat the Wave in 2013. Darien won last year’s meeting 13-11 in Yorktown.

A few returning players led the offense for the Wave (1-0), as senior Henri Pfeifle had a hat trick and an assist, senior co-captain Hudson Pokorny scored twice and had two assists, and junior Jackson Peters had two goals.

Sophomore Andy Demopoulos was solid in his first game as the Wave’s leading goalie, collecting 12 saves behind a defense which featured long poles Tyler Strub, Sam Cragin, Pierce Hoyda and Connor Olson.

For Yorktown (2-1), Blake Borges had two goals and one assist, Alex DeBenedictis had a goal and an assist; and goalie Dan O’Meara made 14 saves.

Darien is now 69-1 over the past three-plus seasons, and simply being back on the field was a big deal for both the veterans and the players stepping up to more important roles.

“It’s awesome,” senior co-captain and middie Tommy Hellman said. “Every year we reload and guys who were waiting their turn get a chance to compete. It’s fun to see what we can do. I thought everyone looked good and it was a great win to start with.”

The Wave had a strong game from Matthew Freeman in the faceoff X. The senior, who will play at Franklin & Marshall next year, is taking over that role this season and had the better of play against Yorktown’s Brendan Williams. Freeman appeared to pick up steam as the game progressed.

“It was pretty nerve-wracking,” Freeman said of his first game as the starter. “I was shaky out there but as the game went along, I got more and more confident and I thought my game picked up as well.”

“My philosophy is any time you come out of a game and you’re at least 50-50 (on faceoffs), you’ve done a good job and we did better than that today,” Brameier said. “We may not have won every ground ball, but (Freeman) wasn’t losing many. He did very well for his first game as the go-to guy, and Demopoulos had a solid game in his first game as the starter (in goal).”

Darien had a fast opening, as Freeman won the first faceoff and quickly worked the ball upfield to junior Michael Minicus. Minicus fed a pass to Pfeifle near the right pipe, but his shot was blocked low by O’Meara.

Pokorny won the scramble for the ground ball and got it back to Minicus, who spun and beat O’Meara low at the 24-second mark.

The next seven minutes were scoreless but the Wave made it 2-0 with a goal following a nice defensive stand.

A wicked shot in traffic by DeBenedictis was saved low by Demopoulos, who then scooped up the ball and quickly threw an outlet pass to the long pole Cragin. Cragin beat the defense upfield, dumped the ball to Pfeifle on the right, and Pfeifle bounced it home for a 2-0 lead.

Shane Dahlke put the Huskers on the board with an assist from Borges a minute later, cutting the lead in half at 2-1.

As was the case all afternoon, however, the Blue Wave never allowed Yorktown to tie the score.

Pfeifle and Pokorny opened the second quarter with goals for a 4-1 lead before Keith Boyer cut it to 4-2 at halftime.

Pfeifle started the second half with an unassisted tally and the Huskers responded with two straight to again cut the deficit to one at 5-4.

“Just stick to what we were doing and trust our guys,” Hellman said of the Wave’s response. “We knew if we kept playing hard and playing the way we know we can, things should turn out our way.”

Darien’s Colin Ruppenstein put Darien back on track with a bounce shot past O’Meara, and Pokorny then scored off an assist from Hellman for a 7-4 advantage after three quarters.

Yorktown stayed close and trailed by just two at 8-6 with six minutes remaining, but the Wave offensive fired up again with three goals in a span of 2:17 to put the game out of reach.

Beating Yorktown was a challenging kickoff to a new season.

“They’re a great team and it was a great first game to come out and play against them,” Freeman said. “It’s a great way to start off the season and I’m excited to see what we can do.”


Henri Pfeifle, Darien. The Wave midfielder kicked off his senior season with a hat trick and an assist to lead the offense. He scored one goal in each of the first three quarters before setting up Hudson Pokorny to start the fourth frame.


“They don’t give up, they pressure and our kids were able to recognize how to handle pressure and weren’t taking shots just because they were there. We got a lot of contributions from multiple guys.” — Darien head coach Jeff Brameier


Yorktown 1 1 2 3 - 7

Darien 2 2 3 4 - 11

Yorktown (2-1)

Blake Borges 2g, 1a; Alex DeBenedictis 1g, 1a; Shane Dahlke 1g; Keith Boyer 1g; Tim O’Callaghan 1g; Reese Andrews 1g

Darien (1-0)

Henri Pfeifle 3g, 1a; Hudson Pokorny 2g, 2a; Jackson Peters 2g; Michael Minicus 1g; Colin Ruppenstein 1g; Holt Mathies 1g; Cooper Hancock 1g; Sam Cragin 1a; Tommy Hellman 1a

Goalies: Y - Dan O’Meara 14 saves; D - Andy Demopoulos 12 saves