The hockey gods weren't on the Blue Wave's side at Saturday night's tilt against the St. Joseph Cadets. Darien lost 3-2 in overtime; their title dream cut short in the first round of the FCIAC tournament.
"I could not be more proud of our effort," said Blue Wave head coach Larry Vieira. "We had our chances to win this game but unfortunately, the hockey gods did not look kindly on us tonight."
The Cadets, ranked third in the conference, were supposed to steal the win from sixth-seeded Darien with ease; but the match turned out to be a barnburner. It was an even game from the start, as each team scored two goals in the first period.
The Cadets got on the board with 8:48 left to go in the first period when they scored from the slot to jump out to a 1-0 lead. Darien answered 24 seconds later when sophomore George Gregory put one through the Cadets goaltender's missed poke check to tie up the game 1-1.
Just over two minutes later, the Blue Wave would take the lead when freshman Domenick Luongo banged in sophomore Nick Bruno's shot to go up 2-1. But just two minutes later the Cadets evened the scoreboard once again, when a St. Joseph pass was banked in off Blue Wave senior netminder William Love.
The next two periods were filled with great scoring chances from both teams, but the netminders were strong. Love made 40 saves in the game where the Cadets netminder made 38 saves. Love was especially strong late in the second period when he made back-to-back pad saves on a partial breakaway.
"We really put our heart and souls on the line in this game," said Vieira. "We had our boys blocking shots, diving for pucks, putting pucks on net, dishing out hits, taking hits and doing everything we could to win the hockey game."
After finishing regulation time at 2-2, the game headed into overtime. Blue Wave junior Garren Fritts was robbed twice by the Cadets goaltender: once on a rebound in front of the net and a second time on a partial breakaway.
Unfortunately for the Wave, the Cadets scored with 9:42 left to go in overtime to advance to the second round of the FCIAC tournament.
A somewhat somber Vieira said after the game that he was please with his team's performance.
"Our improvement has been absolutely amazing," said Vieira. "Again, I could not be any prouder of efforts."