Wave Skates Past Prep, Remaining Undefeated


Darien Athletic Foundation

Returning varsity player Charlie Schwind taking a slap shot from the blue line at the Wonderland of Ice on Wednesday

Braden Schenck, Writer

It was number 2 vs. number 3 in Boys Ice Hockey Wednesday night inside the Wonderland of Ice in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The 2-0 Blue Wave traveled for a clash with the 3-0 Jesuits of Fairfield Prep.

A bitter rivalry that has played out over the past couple of years with the state lacrosse semi-finals won by Prep two springs ago, Darien taking the CIAC football championship over Prep a couple of years ago, and the rivalry has always shined on the ice.

Both sides brought their fanbases for a fast and chippy game on this cold December night.

This was Darien’s first real contest of the season, and with the likes of Billy Branca, Chris Schofield, and Ryan Spengler gone, it would be up to the new first-year varsity players and underclassmen to step up this season.

It starts with the goalkeeper and junior Finley Hegerty. Hegerty sat during the Northwest Catholic game but pitched a shutout opening night at Hamden. On the other side of the ice was one of the best offenses in the state of Connecticut in the Jesuits, who entered play with an average of 4.7 goals per game.

Both teams would see their fair share of opportunities in the early going with Darien going on the early power play just 4 minutes in.

Darien failed to convert on the power play but would strike later in the period when Tommy Branca overshot a pass to Jonathan Nawrocki, and it found its way to the junior Tommy Holland in the lane.

Holland went right shoulder high and sniped the water bottle for the first score of the night. A good offensive sequence gave the experienced varsity player for Darien a golden opportunity which he converted on.

Darien entered the 1st intermission controlling the 1-0 lead, and junior net miner Finley Hegerty was looking solid, having stopped 7 Prep shots in the first period.

A pair of Darien penalties early in the 2nd period gave Prep the 5-on-3 advantage looking for the equalizer.

The first penalty expired, and with just 18 seconds left on the power play, the Jesuits had a look.

Blake Baksay skated the puck across the blue line with some nice stick work and was able to put on the shot on the net. Hegerty made one stop, but the open man in Zach McCarthy just punched the puck through the left leg pad tying the game at one apiece.

Darien coach Mac Budd was not happy with this goal and rallied his troops up.

Three minutes later, James Troy skated around the back of the net and sent a centering pass to the sophomore Gavin Samame on the one-timer, who sent it glove side of Heber and into the back of the net for the score.

For Samame, his first career goal at the varsity level and it couldn’t have come at a better time as the Wave now led 2-1.

A 4-on-4 brawl in the 2nd period would see Elliott Lancaster, Charlie Schwind, and George Persinger all go to the box, Lancaster on a double minor penalty.

This was a scrappy game from the beginning, and a shot from a Prep player after the whistle spiraled this fight. Both teams had a full penalty box with a total of 7 players serving time combined among the teams late in the period.

We’re happy with where we are right now, we certainly know we have a lot of hard work ahead of us if we want to be there at the end

— Darien head coach Mac Budd

The Wave used this as fuel, and with the 5-on-3 advantage, senior captain Bobby Whittaker had an on-net pass that the freshman Jack Marisca finished for the score.

The Wave offense was not done, in the third period when the senior Tyler Reckin single-handly took the puck across the blue line and sent a top-shelf shot past Heber for the sniper goal. 4-1 Wave in the third period.

The Jesuits were able to cut the deficit down with 3:40 to play when Baksay again fed the puck to James Murphy for the rocket shot past Hegerty giving Prep the power play score.

After the final buzzer rang and it was all said and done, the Wave outlasted the Jesuits in the 4-2 final. A great showing from the Wave that showed their aggressive willingness to fight sprite, in combination with their talented players.

The Wave advanced to 3-0 on this win and awaits their next challenge in the Greenwich Cardinals in the 2022 Winter Classic at the Greenwich Skating Club.

Hegerty finished the night with 25 solid saves in his second career varsity victory, this Jesuit team dropped to 3-1 and will most defiantly be rolling back around come state playoffs in late March.




DARIEN 1 2 1 — 4



D – Tommy Holland (Nawrocki, Branca) 1st, 12:06;

FP – Zach McCarthy (Baksay) 2nd, 2:01;

D – Gavin Samame (Troy, Elders) 2nd 5:01;

D – Jack Marisca (Whittaker) 2nd, 13:30;

D – Tyler Reckin (Beach) 3rd, 4:02;

FP – James Murphy (Baksay) 3rd, 12:20


Goalkeepers: FP – James Heber 20 saves; D – Finley Hegerty 25 saves.

Records: Fairfield Prep 3-1-0; Darien 3-0-0