Darien Erupts Early, Defeats Greenwich, 11-6, For FCIAC Boys Lacrosse Title

Darien goaltender Phil Huffard is lifted into the air as Darien celebrates its FCIAC championship win over Greenwich on Friday night. (Photo: Mark Conrad)
Darien goaltender Phil Huffard is lifted into the air as Darien celebrates its FCIAC championship win over Greenwich on Friday night. (Photo: Mark Conrad)

DARIEN — When your school nickname has the word wave in it and you open a conference championship game with six unanswered goals against a high quality opponent, well, the punning opportunities are endless.

In one of the more dominant title performances in league history by a team that is making a run at etching itself in the archives, the Darien boys lacrosse team rolled to an 11-6 win over Greenwich at Brien McMahon on Friday night to win its first FCIAC championship since 2011.

“There’s obviously a lot of games where we came out hard, but we came out our hardest today because of the circumstances,” said Peter Lindley, who was named the most valuable player after finishing with 4 goals and 1 assist. “We wanted to make it hard for them and we did our best to do that and succeeded.”

John Reed, Colin Minicus and Harry Gillespie added 2 goals apiece for Darien (19-0), which has all but erased the memories of last year’s 12-8 finish, and is doing it in a manner that has caused area lacrosse fans to dust off their record books.

Darien's Peter Lindley, who finished with four goals, takes a shot against Greenwich goaltender Thomas Rogan. (Photo: Mark Conrad)
Darien’s Peter Lindley, who finished with four goals, takes a shot against Greenwich goaltender Thomas Rogan. (Photo: Mark Conrad)

“You don’t want a season like this to go away and they’re not rewarded for their hard work,” said Darien coach Jeff Brameier. “This is something they’ve done a great job committing to and we wanted to finish off stage one of the playoffs.”

With four more wins, the Blue Wave, who won their 13th league title, will equal the 23-0 mark of the 2005 team. Given the quality of competition they have already played, that will ignite the best-team-ever debates.

For Brameier, that is putting the cart before the horse.

“Until we get there we are not going to be involved in that claim,” Brameier said.

Darien's Colin Minicus tries to get by Greenwich's Jack Harrington. (Photo: Mark Conrad)
Darien’s Colin Minicus tries to get by Greenwich’s Jack Harrington. (Photo: Mark Conrad)

For now, it is not unreasonable to call this the best conference season ever by an FCIAC boys lacrosse team. With Greenwich, New Canaan and Ridgefield, it is hard to recall a time — if ever — when four teams in any sport played concurrently at such a high level. Darien is now 5-0 against the trio, and that does not include its rigorous non-league schedule.

For now, the Blue Wave can revel in their biggest accomplishment to date.

Opening with a furious first punch, Gillespie and Reed scored 36 seconds apart before the game was a minute and a half old. By the time the first quarter was over, Lindley had his first goal, Gillespie his second and Jack Kniffin added a score to give Darien a 5-0 lead.

Darien coach Jeff Brameier comforts Greenwich's Kyle Foote as he leaves the field in the second half with an ankle injury. (Photo: Mark Conrad)
Darien coach Jeff Brameier comforts Greenwich’s Kyle Foote as he leaves the field in the second half with an ankle injury. (Photo: Mark Conrad)

Minicus’ wraparound goal to open the second quarter put the Cardinals in a hole too deep to extricate themselves from.

Led by a great performance from Luke Finneran, the Cardinals regrouped. Finneran, who finished with four goals, scored three times in the final eight minutes of the half. Lindley scored off a hard shot prior to Finneran’s hat trick and Darien had a 7-3 halftime lead.

“I think that’s our MO, we’ve gotten off to great starts,” Brameier said. “We had to respond to their response as well. We made some plays. We were nervous to the end. We never felt it was over until it was over.”

Greenwich's goaltender Thomas Rogan attempts to make a save. (Photo: Mark Conrad)
Greenwich’s goaltender Thomas Rogan attempts to make a save. (Photo: Mark Conrad)

Lindley scored twice early in the third quarter and then assisted on a goal by Reed for a commanding 10-3 lead.

Greenwich answered with three straight scores to add some slight drama, but in the end the Blue Wave got their first “pile,” Brameier’s favorite expression for the on-field celebrations that follow championships.

“We’re excited to bring the hardware back home,” Brameier said. “We haven’t had it in a couple of years. We add one more trophy to the case. Now we have to regroup and get ready for the next stage.”

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