Swings benefit Darien in win at Notre Dame-West Haven
WEST HAVEN — When he was a ballplayer, Bennett McDermott took to heart the words of his friend’s dad, the late Rick Stewart. He’s brought the sentiment over to hockey.
“He always said good things happen when you swing the bat,” McDermott said Wednesday night after his three goals paced No. 4 Darien past No. 5 Notre Dame-West Haven, 6-4, at Bennett Rink.
“One thing coach wants us to do is shoot the puck, no matter what. I’ve kind of been thinking about that, his line applied to hockey.”
McDermott, a junior promoted to the Blue Wave’s strong Sophomore Line when Jamison Moore sat out banged up, scored two third-period power-play goals that both gave the Wave (3-2) a three-goal lead. He’d scored coming off the left-wing boards in the second period to give them a lead they’d never relinquish.
“He’s got top-six skill. We’ve been trying to figure a way to get him into the top six. He’s been centering the third line,” Darien coach Mac Budd said.
“We’re trying to find a way to get him as much ice time as we can.”
It was a game of weird momentum, two quick goals giving Darien a 3-1 lead, the Green Knights (3-3) coming right back, Darien answering.
“It’s important to keep firing in a game like that. You never know. You just get bounces,” said Darien defenseman James Gregory, who scored twice and added an assist.
Both goalies were starting their first varsity games, freshman Chris Schofield (21 saves) for Darien, David Anania (28) for the Green Knights.
“I thought he did a nice job,” Notre Dame coach Larry Vieira said of his senior goalie, who got the nod when sophomore Connor Smith was ill. “I didn’t think we helped him out.”
Vieira hoped for matching minors from a third-period scrum, with his defenseman Connor Morgan battling with McDermott, but only Morgan was penalized. McDermott scored his second midway through the period to make it 5-2.
J.M Childs had an answer 22 seconds later, but then he was hit with a high-sticking minor 19 seconds after that. McDermott scored from the right side of the net, fired up under the crossbar.
“They’re very deep. They play four lines, and there’s no drop-off,” Vieira said.
“We need to compete for 45 minutes. We had lapses there where we did not compete, and the puck went in the net.”
The Green Knights received a power play late in the first period, but Darien’s Matt Daileader and Hudson Pokorny, then Matt Fiorita and Danny Lowe, pressured them all over the ice.
On the shift after it expired, Sam Erickson tried to set up McDermott in the slot, but it came through to Gregory, who opened the scoring from the top of the right circle.
John D’Errico’s first of two got the Knights even 2:00 into the second, but McDermott and Blake Swiggett gave Darien a two-goal lead. Gregory’s second, the fifth goal in just 5:34 of the second period, made it 4-2.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Darien’s Bennett McDermott finished a hat trick with two late power-play goals.
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DARIEN 6, NOTRE DAME-WEST HAVEN 4
DARIEN1 3 2—6
NOTRE DAME-WEST HAVEN0 2 2—4
Records: Darien 3-2; Notre Dame-West Haven 3-3. Goals: D—Bennett McDermott 3, James Gregory 2, Blake Swiggett; NDWH—John D’Errico 2, J.M. Childs, John Luzzi. Assists: D—Sam Erickson 2, C.J. Hathaway 2, Gregory, Swiggett, Matt Stein; NDWH—Childs, Joe D’Agostino, Kevin Millea, Charles Andriole, T.J. Hunt, Michael Card. Goalies: D—Chris Schofield (21 saves); NDWH—Dave Anania (28). Shots: D—34; NDWH—25.