Massey's OT goal propels Darien ice hockey past Fairfield Prep
Darien’s Jack Massey apparently can be in two places at once.
Seconds after diving to disrupt a breakaway chance in the defensive zone, Massey took a cross-ice pass from Sean Bradley and fired in the game-winning goal as the Blue Wave boys ice hockey team defeated Fairfield Prep, 4-3 in overtime, Saturday at the Wonderland of Ice.
For Massey, the mind was willing even if the body was tired.
“I saw Calyb (Reeves) go down the wing and I had to chase him down or else we could lose the game,” Massey said. “Then I went back up to the other end and by the end of the play, I was out of gas and I thought I was going to fall down. I thought I was going to get a rebound, but if it goes in, it goes in.”
Massey’s goal ended another thrilling contest, which featured dramatic momentum shifts. Darien took a 2-0 early in the second period, the Jesuits responded with three unanswered goals, and the Wave’s Blake Swiggett tied the game with 4:02 remaining in regulation.
Darien dominated the chances in overtime and finally got the win with just 34.3 seconds to play.
“It was really a fantastic high school hockey game again,” Darien head coach Mac Budd said. “We’ve been lucky — we’ve played in a bunch of those lately and sometimes they go for you and sometimes they don’t. We were fortunate today to come out with the win against a realy, really good team.”
The Wave (6-4) now has two wins against Prep this season, having beaten the Jesuits 2-1 on Dec. 19 at the Darien Ice House. Prep (3-6) has struggled in close games, dropping four of five one-goal games.
“I thought we did some good things today,” Fairfield Prep head coach Matt Sather said. “In the second period, the energy was good, the power play clicked a little bit, but you’ve got to finish those games. We just didn’t finish it. We’re 1-4 in one-goal games and 0-3 in overtime.”
Darien had another big game from the all-sophomore line of Bradley, Jamison Moore, and Sam Erickson, which was on the ice for three of the Wave’s four goals. Moore had a goal and two assists, Erickson had a goal and an assist, and Bradley had three assists, including the set-up to Massey.
A Jesuit sophomore also had a productive game, as Mason Whitney netted two goals. Senior Colin Bella had three assists, the senior Reeves had a goal, and senior Chandler Dumont had two assists.
The Blue Wave had the better of play in the first period, and Moore put them on the scoreboard first when he scored at the 3:20 mark.
Prep’s defense and senior goalie Jake Walker (26 saves) held Darien in check for the rest of that period, but Erickson scored on a rush to make it 2-0 at 1:01 of the second stanza.
Just 22 seconds later, however, Swiggett was called for interference, and 12 seconds into that power play, Fairfield Prep scored. Bella swept a pass in front of goalie Henri Pfeifle (18 saves), setting up Whitney for the tally.
Bella and Reeves then teamed up for the equalizer, with Bella feeding the puck to Reeves for the goal at 7:32.
“In the second period, getting that second goal, I think the guys laid back a little bit, we started to get on our heels, and they’re way too good a team to do that with,” Budd said. “They battled back and had the momentum the rest of that period.”
The Jesuits took advantage of another power play late in the period, as Whitney netted his second goal with assists from Bella and Dumont, putting Prep ahead 3-2.
“We did a better job of being physical on their defensemen and getting pucks deep,” Sather said. “Earning a couple of power plays helped.”
Play was even in the third period, before Swiggett scored on a power play to tie the game with 4:02 remaining. Junior Bennett McDermott and senior James Gregory assisted on that goal.
The Wave was flying in overtime, outshooting Prep 7-3 and owning the territorial edge for much of the eight minutes.
When Reeves raced up the left side with the puck, the Jesuits nearly had a golden opportunity, but Massey got back to make the stop before turning the tables and scoring.
“The way hockey is played now, it’s really tough to score, so your D have to activate and get involved in the offense for you,” Budd said. “We’ve been telling that to our guys and no one’s worked harder at doing that than Massey for the last three or four weeks. I’m happy that it paid off for him because he’s been playing great.”
The Darien-Fairfield Prep series has created a bit of a rivalry between the two teams, which have played some thrillers over the years.
“We know each other very well,” Massey said. “There are a lot of kids returning on both teams and we’ve played them multiple years. It’s always a great game and a pleasure to win a game like this.”
For the Jesuits, the goal is more consistent play as they move through a tough schedule.
“We’re getting close to the halfway point of the season and you’d like to start to see some more consistency,” Sather said. “Now, we’re getting into the rhythm of the season and you hope to get some momentum going, but you’ve got to win the tight ones and prove to yourself that you can do it. We haven’t done that yet.”
Player of the game
Jack Massey, Darien. Massey’s clutch plays on both ends of the ice in OT resulted in the Blue Wave victory. The junior defenseman broke up a possible scoring chance for Fairfield Prep’s Calyb Reeves, skated back up the ice, and netted the game-winning goal just seconds later.
“Fairfield Prep is a great hockey team with a great history. We feel lucky that we get to play them twice in a season. There are some teams you need to work to get the guys up for, but Fairfield Prep is not one of those teams.” — Darien head coach Mac Budd
DARIEN 4, FAIRFIELD PREP 3 (OT)
Darien 1 1 1 1 - 4
Prep 0 3 0 0 - 3
First Period: D - Jamison Moore (Sam Erickson, Sean Bradley) 3:20; Second Period: D - Erickson (Bradley, Moore) 1:01; FP - Mason Whitney (Chandler Dumont, Colin Bella) 1:35; FP - Calyb Reeves (Bella) 7:32; FP - Whitney (Bella, Dumont) 12:28; Third Period: D - Blake Swiggett (Bennett McDermott, James Gregory) 10:58; Overtime: D - Jack Massey (Moore, Bradley) 7:26
D - Henri Pfeifle 18 saves
FP - Jake Walker 26 saves
Shots: D 30, FP 21
Records: Darien (6-4-0); Fairfield Prep (3-6-0)