NORWALK, Conn. — When Jeff Brameier addressed his team before the bus ride to Brien McMahon High School for the Class L state title game against archrival New Canaan, he made one thing perfectly clear.
“There’s been a lot of build-up to the game, but I took out two photos of the 2005 (Darien) team,” Brameier said. “I told them, that’s the team they’re going up against today.”
That 2005 team, in which assistant coach Craig Madalon was a member, was the only DHS team to finish a season as undefeated state champions. Until Saturday, that is.
That’s when the 2014 Blue Wave defeated New Canaan 10-8 for the second undefeated season and 10th state title in school history.
Before the game was even played, Brameier made something else very clear to his team.
“I told them, win or lose today, you are the best team I’ve ever coached,” Brameier said. “The reason for that is because they are a team — they don’t care about who gets the attention, how many Division I players we have compared to who we play. They play and win as a team.”
It all resulted in a 23-0 record and a storybook finish to a season that followed a 2013 year that ended with losses in the FCIAC and state semifinals. Darien had defeated New Canaan 11-10 in overtime in the regular season and 12-11, also in OT, in the FCIAC semis.
“The hardest thing to do is beat a good team three times, and we did it,” Yale-bound senior goaltender Phil Huffard, who finished with 13 saves. “For Coach B (Brameier) to tell us that this was the best team he’s ever coached means a lot.”
Leading 9-7 with 1:30 remaining, Huffard made a nice stop on a shot by New Canaan junior standout Justin Meichner.
“He’s probably bone of the most successful shooters against me this year,” Huffard said. “I know he likes to go high, so I was looking for it there and stopped it.”
It was a season in which Brameier, in his 31st year as head coach, picked up his 500th career win.
“Some teams we’ve had have been more about ‘me’ – me-ism,” Brameier said. “These guys played together as a team. There were no superstars and not a lot of high-end Division I recruits compared to other teams. They just played as a team.”
New Canaan (17-5) came out strong, jumping out to a 1-0 lead on a goal by Teddy Bossidy. But the Rams struggled offensively for the rest of the quarter, as Darien led 3-1 after the first period.
“We know (Wesleyan-bound senior attackman) Harry Stanton makes their offense go, so we shut him off and threw some different looks at them defensively,” Brameier said.
Stanton finished with two goals. Meichner also had two goals. Virginia-bound Michael Kraus led the Rams with three goals.
Jack Kniffin had three goals for Darien. Navy-bound Ian Burgoyne had two goals and two assists. Colin Minicus and Harry Gillespie each had one goal and one assist. Kyle Cornell and John Reed each had one goal. UMass-bound senior Peter Lindley, who saw a variety of defenses by New Canaan, was limited to two assists.
Darien 10, New Canaan 10
Saves – New Canaan- Trent Nader 8, Darien- Phil Huffard, 13.
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Posted In: Connecticut