NEW CANAAN, Conn. The chances kept coming for the New Canaan High boys ice hockey team, but Darien kept turning them back. The Rams outshot their archrival, 25-17, in Wednesdays conference semifinal but could not solve Darien goalie Max Rothston when it mattered most.
Rothston stopped 10 New Canaan shots in the third period and 23 overall. Dariens Brendan Hathaway netted a hat trick as the Blue Wave eliminated New Canaan from the conference tournament, 5-2.
"It's a very simple thing Darien outplayed us tonight. This is your next-door neighbor and every time you play, records mean nothing," New Canaan coach Bo Hickey said. "We played well in spurts, and they played consistently the whole night.
The game started out in New Canaans favor, as Dylan Hart found the net just 1:22 into the game. But Darien responded by scoring three times in the final five minutes of the first period. New Canaan never recovered from the flurry.
Bruno knotted the game at 1-1 with 5:19 to play in the first. Hathaway found the mesh twice in just over two minutes, the second coming with only 55 seconds to play in the period.
New Canaans Harry Stanton batted a puck out of the air midway through the second to cut Dariens lead to one. But Hathaway added an insurance goal early in the third.
The Rams turned up the pressure in the final five minutes of the game, but Rothston answered the call each time. Jack Knowlton added an empty-net goal to seal the win for the Blue Wave.
Darien deserves what they got, Hickey said. They forced us into a lot of errors. Hockey is strictly about taking advantage of the other team's mistakes, and they caused the mistakes to happen.
New Canaan will now wait to discover its opponent in the Division I state tournament, which begins next week.
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