Wave Matches Rams For 3-3 Tie


Austin Kipphut (DHS '23)

Darien defender Russell Tarrant handling the puck inside the Darien Ice House against New Canaan

Braden Schenck, Writer

On a cold Wednesday night, the Darien Blue Wave took to the Darien Ice House for a road game with arch-rival New Canaan. The Wave (4-0-2) was fresh off two consecutive ties at the hands of Fairfield Co-op and Warwick Co-op, while New Canaan (4-1-0) was on a winning streak entering play.

Last year, a pair of meetings between the Rams and the Wave, both taken by Darien by only a single-goal deficit. But 2023 was a new layer to this storied rivalry, and there was not a seat empty inside DIH!

The Darien Student Section out supporting the Wave in a mid-season boys ice hockey showdown with New Canaan (Austin Kipphut)

A pair of juniors took the nets for their respective sides. For Darien, Finley Hegarty made his DIH debut, and for the Rams 2nd-year starter Mason Pickering took his post.

Just four minutes into the game, it was New Canaan going on the first rush. Junior captain Doster Crowell gained possession of the puck and guided it past the blue line before sniping a shot past Hegarty for the goal. Crowell went top shelf in the right corner for his 11th goal of the season and New Canaan’s first of the night.

Darien celebrating a goal to tie the score up against arch rival New Canaan inside the Darien Ice House (Austin Kipphut)

The Wave would strike in the latter half of the opening period. Despite failing to convert on a power play look, the Wave saw some life with two minutes to play before the intermission. Jonathan Nawrocki, the senior first-year player grabbed the puck and went coast to coast seeing a one-on-one with Pickering. Nawrocki went over the right shoulder of Pickering and sniped the corner of the net for the equalizer.

1-1 was the score heading into the first intermission, and both head coaches knew they had things to tighten up for the last 30 minutes of play.

In the second period, New Canaan started by killing off the Darien Power Play effort and used it as fuel with Tony DelCarmine, the freshman getting a look in front of the net. A beautiful pass from the stick of Bryce Lyden set up the look, and DelCarmine stuck it past the pads of Hegarty for the Rams’ score. 2-1 New Canaan with just 5:50 left in the second period.

A two-minute minor penalty on Brayden Robie would give Darien their fourth look on the Power Play. Some Wave shots were early in the two minutes, but all were stopped by Pickering.

Chris Davis winded up for a shot that was just wide of Pickering that would be grabbed by Tyler Reckin, who handed it off to the freshman Jack Marisca. Marisca looked to pass it back to Reckin but instead was met with a wide-open Asa Beach tipping the pass in the net past a sliding Pickering, who went over to stop the Reckin attack. A heads-up play by the Darien senior, and for Asa, he had his first career varsity goal for Darien hockey.

Darien’s Elliot Lancaster laying a big hit on a New Canaan forward during the third period (Austin Kipphut)

With only seven ticks left on the power play clock, Darien had finally converted and tied it back up at two.

The Wave wasn’t done, in the second period as they would win the face-off and run the offense in the final minute of the period. Aidan Elders took a shot that was stopped by Pickering. The rebound was loose, and the senior captain Bobby Whittaker saw the opportunity to knock the puck home for the second Darien score in the final minute of the period.

As Mac Budd’s squad skated back out to the ice for the third period, they controlled a 3-2 lead but needed to play 15 more minutes of lockdown defense before they could acquire the points.

Darien would survive the first 13 minutes of the period, with Hegarty having a period to remember, killing off two New Canaan power plays. A timeout taken by Rams Head Coach Clark Jones saw New Canaan looking for late magic.

Darien huddling at the bench during a called timeout in the third period against New Canaan (Austin Kipphut)

90 seconds left to play. Pickering was pulled from the net, and New Canaan had the empty net and extra skater. Crowell took the puck across the blue line and was surging straight to the net. A shot from Crowell met with Hegarty hugging the post. No movement from Hegarty as he was pressed against the left post creating a wall. A whistle from the ref stopped the play.

However, the whistle didn’t stop the play but rather, signaled a goal. Crowell’s shot snuck underneath the left leg pad of Hegarty and by a matter of inched tricked into the net. As Crowell celebrated his 12th goal of the season, Darien was preparing for overtime.

As the buzzer rang, it was now 3-3 and heading for overtime.

Aidan Elders and Darien saw a handful of opportunities in overtime but it was Hegarty and Pickering who shined and kept both offenses at bay for a 3-3 final tie.

A game for the ages that both teams left their hearts on the ice during.

Luckily for the Rams and Wave, they’ll get a round two on February 11th back inside the Darien Ice House.

Darien, who was ranked 2nd in the state and New Canaan at third played a roller coaster of a game that ended in a tie.

“It feels like it’s one big game, especially ending with a tie,” Darien senior captain Bobby Whittaker said after the game. “It all comes down to February when we see them again.”

For Darien, it was their third consecutive tie to a good team. “You’re not usually happy with a tie, but we played three very, very good hockey teams.” Darien Head Coach Mac Budd said after the game.

Darien huddling up before a mid-season contest with New Canaan inside the Darien Ice House (Austin Kipphut)

Darien remains undefeated in 2022-23 at 4-0-3 and proceeded this game by beating Westhill-Stamford on Saturday 6-1 to advance to 5-0-3. The Wave returns to the ice on Martin Luther King Jr. Day for a showdown with the Xavier Falcons inside the Cromwell Ice Rink for the rematch of last year’s state quarterfinals.

As for Darien and New Canaan, they are just counting down the days until February 11th for the even more anticipated rematch.




Darien 1 2 0 0 – 3

New Canaan 1 1 1 0 – 3

Darien: Jonathan Nawrocki 1g; Asa Beach 1g; Bobby Whittaker 1g; Tyler Reckin 1a; Aidan Elders 1a.

New Canaan: Doster Crowell 2g; Tony DelCarmine 1g; Gavin Fitzpatrick 1a; Brayden Robie 1a; Bryce Lyden 1a.

Goalies: D – Finley Hegarty 29 saves; NC – Mason Pickering 28 saves,

Records: Darien 4-0-3 overall, 1-0-2 FCIAC; New Canaan 4-1-1 overall, 2-0-1 FCIAC.