Girls Hockey Falls in High Scoring Affair with Avon Co-op


Darien Athletic Foundation

Darien’s Skylar Ravosa taking the puck across the blue line in a win over New Canaan

Braden Schenck, Writer

On Saturday, the Darien Varsity Girls Ice Hockey team (16-0-2) welcomed in the Avon Co-op Nighthawks (14-3-0) for their senior night.
Darien had pre-game ceremonies celebrating their seven seniors, Kelsey Brown, Ruthie Miller, Gretchen Edwards, Morgan Massey, Chelsea Donovan, Anastasia Zerboulis, and Katherine Kahn.

Avon a co-op team made up of students from Avon, Wethersfield, Southington, RHAM, Coventry, Berlin, Watertown, Lewis Mills and Newington High Schools.

Darien is ranked first in the state while Avon sits in second, The Wave bested the Nighthawks 7-1 in their first meeting in early January, but this was a brand new game and the final test for Darien before the FCIAC playoffs.

Darien wasted no time in this one. Just 3 minutes into the game, the Wave went on the power play, and off the face-off, freshman Lila Fiorita caught a pass, took a shot, and beat Nighthawk goaltender Sophia Ojala for the first score of the night just 2:50 in.

Darien went up 5-0 on Avon in the first meeting, and the Wave has rolled all season on the offensive end. This was goal number 85 from the team on the season.

However, this contest wouldn’t be as lob-sided as the first meeting. A minute later Avon flipped the ice and sent a pass to Nicole Partridge in the neutral zone. Partridge saw her teammate and team points leader Bella Bonfiglio with some room from her defender. Bonfiglio received the pass at the blue line and went 1-on-1 with Darien’s goalie Katherine Kahn. Going blocker side hide Bonfiglio sniped a shot over Kahn to knot the score at one a piece.

This would be just the start of this offensive field day at the Darien Ice House.

Despite going down a player on a penalty, senior captain Chelsea Donovan rushed the full length of the ice and went straight to Ojala in the net taking a short-handed goal and scoring the short-handed goal 4 minutes in. Just like that it was 2-1 Darien.

In the matter of 4 minutes and 44 seconds, there were 3 combined goals scored by the teams.

Darien’s head coach Jaime Troops rallying the team up ahead of a winter contest inside the Darien Ice House (Katharine Calderwood)

The offense saw a bit of a stalemate after this Donovan goal until Avon’s Nicole Partridge had the puck behind the Darien net, sending a great centering pass to Wethersfield High School student Emily Schneider, Schneider sent a shot on net while falling to the ice, watching as the puck trickled through the five-hole of Kahn, Avon had retied the game at two heading into the first intermission.

Face off in the Avon offensive zone early in the second period. Avon won it and found the puck in the stick Kalyn Reynolds. Reynolds went high on the shot testing the glove skills of Kahn, this shot resulted in a third Avon goal on the night.

The Nighthawks were not done as a minute later the Wave gave Avon another power play. And this wasn’t just one penalty but a 5-on-3 in favor of Avon. Darien struggled with committing the penalties in this contest and it gave Avon the looks. Killing off the first penalty, Nicole Partridge from a Reynolds pass guided the puck near the side beating Kahn for the third unanswered Avon goal. 4-2 Nighthawks.

Avon added yet another before the intermission break when Southington High School student Emily Mescal added another power play score putting Avon up 5-2.

This was the first major adversity that Darien had faced all season and it’s been nearly a year since Darien entered the locker room trailing and trailing by 3 goals at that.

The third period brought the same Wave team we typically of seeing, hard skating, good defense, and smart IQ Wave. It wasn’t until the 9-minute mark in the third period that Darien got a power play look.

Although for Darien a silly turnover gave the puck to Kalyn Reynolds to surge down the ice and score on Kahn for a short-handed goal. It was the fifth unanswered goal for Darien and the Nighthawks now controlled a 4-goal lead with just 6 minutes to play.

Jaime Tropa’s team needed a late spark if they wanted any chance of coming back in this one.

After the goal, freshman Izzy Haire won the face-off for the Wave and Darien went to work. Exactly 15 seconds after the Avon goal, Darien’s Morgan Massey tested Ojala and scored on the glove side for a Blue Wave goal. It was now 6-3 with 5:32 to play.

Darien celebrating a goal from senior captain Kelsey Brown inside the Darien Ice House (Katharine Calderwood)

18 seconds later, a face-off win from junior Maggie Bellissimo in the Darien offensive end saw the tic-tak-toe play with Parker Krotee and Sarah Kellogg end with Bellissimo going five-hole on Ojala and scoring. In a matter of 30 seconds, Darien had cut the deficit down to 6-4.
Only 5:16 left to play and Darien still had a lot of work left to do. Avon called their timeout to try and slow down the Wave and they did just that keeping Darien off the scoreboard for the next 3 minutes.

2:51 left on the clock, Gretchen Edwards saw the puck in transition and using the boards found an open Sarah Kellogg. Kellogg went up the right wing and sent a laser shot to the glove side of Ojala and into the back of the net. Kellogg added goal number 6 on the season and for Darien goal number 5 on the game.

And a minute later, on senior night, the senior Kelsey Brown picked up the rebound off Ojala’s blocker and rolled it past the goal line for the equalizer. Darien had scored 4 unanswered goals in a matter of 4 minutes to tie the game up at 6.

There was 1:13 on the clock in this brand new ballgame and Darien was looking to add another to their surging offense while Avon was looking to hold on and not blow the lead.

However, the result would shock the world.

43 seconds left in the game, Gretchen Edwards looked to pass it to teammate Morgan Massey. However, Avon’s Nina Holm stuck her skate in front of the pass to intercept it. Holm then directed her attention to Kahn in the net and netted a goal with just seconds left.

A crushing goal for Darien to just climb the mountain but fall short on senior night.

As the final buzzer ran, Avon stormed the goalie as victors over Darien. The Nighthawks had ended Darien’s quest for perfection and done something that no other team has been able to do this season.

While this was a crushing defeat for Darien on senior day, the Wave does have one final regular season game on Monday as they travel to Rye, New York for a clash with the Rye Country Day School.

Darien will then host Greenwich on February 22nd in the FCIAC semifinals.



Avon 2 3 2 7

Darien 2 0 4 6


D – Lila Fiorita (Kellogg) 1st, 2:50 Power Play

A – Bella Bonfiglio (Partridge) 1st, 3:59

D – Chelsea Donovan (Unassisted) 1st, 4:44 Short Handed

A – Emily Schneider (Partridge) 1st, 13:59

A – Kalyn Reynolds (Unassisted) 2nd, 8:02

A – Nicole Partridge (Reynolds) 2nd, 9:50 Power Play

A – Emily Mescal (Unassisted) 2nd, 13:06 Power Play

A – Kalyn Reynolds (Unassisted) 3rd, 9:13 Short Handed

D – Morgan Massey (Edwards, Little) 3rd, 9:28

D – Maggie Bellissimo (Kellogg) 3rd, 9:46

D – Sarah Kellogg (Edwards) 3rd, 12:09

D – Kelsey Brown (Beach) 3rd, 13:47

A – Nina Holm (Unassisted) 3rd, 14:17


Goalies: A – Sophia Ojala 10 saves; D – Katherine Kahn 12 saves,

Records: Avon Co-op 15-3-0; Darien 16-1-2.