The New Canaan Rams shut out the Darien Blue Wave 4-0 at the Darien Ice Rink on Wednesday night. It was the Rams fifth consecutive shutout—sixth of the season— and fifth for freshman goaltender Tim Nowacki.
The four Rams goals were of the "tic-tac-toe" variety: the kind that coaches draw up that result in picture-perfect scores.
The Wave played a solid first period. Both teams skated on even terms; but with just over three-minutes remaining, New Canaan's Sam Stanton scored. Jimmy Joe Granito dug the puck out from the corner, and fed Kris Nugent who spotted Stanton with some room in front of goalie Will Love. Stanton wasted no time in putting it into the back of the net. The period ended with New Canaan up 1-0; eight shots to six in favor of the Rams.
But the Rams air-tight defense, team speed and depth was started to take its toll on the opponents. Things changed in the middle period.
Defensemen Bo McGinniss and Tom Krieger prevented Darien from getting quality shots. The Wave would bring the puck into the Rams zone only to have their sticks lifted, or get bumped off the puck, or have little to no space. When they did manage some scoring opportunities, Nowacki closed the door.
It was still a 1-0 game with Wave goalie Love coming up big. Love kept his team within striking distance, as New Canaan's opportunities increased. With just over five minutes gone, Stanton scored his second goal on a re-direrction of a Nugent slap shot for a 2-0 lead.
The Rams scored 15-seconds later on some picture-perfect passing. Andrew Leslie, who also assisted on the previous goal, scored off a nifty feed from Tim Robustelli to make it 3-0 after two periods. Unlike the opening period, New Canaan had a decisive 14-4 edge in shots.
The final period was scoreless until there were 22-seconds remaining. That's when Granito scored the Rams final goal on a perfect pass from Leslie. Rams Coach Bo Hickey said his defense was "terrific tonight."
Darien coach Larry Vierra was proud of his team's effort.
"We played hard and gave a 150 percent effort. I was pleased with that,"said Vierra."We played a disciplined game for the most part, but in the FCIAC, with so many quality teams near the top, you can't fall behind by much and expect to win."
Darien falls to 5-9, 3-3 in the FCIAC, and skates again on Saturday against Westhill, 6:30 p.m. at home.
Darien: Love 30/34
New Canaan: Nowacki 16/16