brameierDarien coach Jeff Brameier
(Photo by Jim Stout/

It’s time.

For months, FCIAC fans have known this moment would arrive.

Though it nearly did not (thanks to an inspired effort by New Canaan in the FCIAC semifinals), Ridgefield and Darien will indeed be meeting for the FCIAC title.

Though there has been plenty of drama — and plenty of injuries, too — it’s a matchup we pretty much could have penciled in almost a year ago to the date.

So here we are.

When the teams met during the regular season, an energized Ridgefield team met a Darien team — though dynastic — decimated by key injuries. Leading returning scorer Nikki Dysenchuk and one of the region’s top defensemen, Corey Caputo, were sidelined.

So, it should hardly come as a surprise that many were predicting a one-sided Ridgefield win.

I didn’t buy that. Darien’s tradition, coaching and intangibles could not be overlooked. I projected a 9-7 Ridgefield win. Ridgefield won 8-7 — in overtime.

Now, conventional wisdom has Darien as the clear favorite today. The Blue Wave are peaking. Ridgefield, meanwhile, seemingly hit its stride in midseason. Now, key Tigers such as John Mirra, Colin Scott and Duncan Morrissey have been saddled with injuries.

So this should be Darien’s day, right?

Well, maybe.

But I have never been one to buy into conventional wisdom — as my prediction in the first matchup attests.

Yes, Darien could — and probably — should win tonight. But I want to go on record as saying there’s just as good a chance that very well could not happen.

Just as I did in the regular-season meeting when I thought what most viewed as a rout would be a nail-biter.

It should be very interesting. Be sure to check back for updates.

FCIAC (Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference)

Ridgefield 7, Darien 6 (OT)

SWC (South-West Conference)

Newtown 9, New Fairfield 8

Championship Week officially began yesterday with the Southern Connecticut Conference final:

Fairfield Prep 10, Cheshire 6

Be sure to weigh in with your thoughts, post your comments and predictions, and check back for live scoring updates.

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45 Responses to “Championship Week: FCIAC, SWC finals”

  1. CT Lax says:

    Excllent points Joe. Seems like Ridgefield fans counted their chickens before they were hatched last month and Darien fans are doing the same now. Granted Darien should win but like you said these are two great programs playing for a championship so anything can happen.

  2. Ride the Wave says:

    The FCIAC championship is property of Darien and no one else. Gate crashers Ridgefield will be shown the door quickly. I predict the Wave will go up 3-0 by mid point of first quarter then go into cruise control.

    I think I’ll mark dates for the state tournament now as we DRIVE FOR 5!

  3. Syracuse says:

    This is the moment where the great players have to shine. For Ridgefield it comes down to Matt White. He’s been arguably the best overall player in our region this season, but didn’t have his best game against New Canaan, despite the fact that he went 1 and 4. He turned it on late and assisted on huge goals at the end. The light switch went on and he shined at the very moment Ridgefield needed him to shine.

    He’ll have to shine for 48 minutes against Darien. He had 106 points in 23 games as a junior and has 94 in 18 games this season, so he’s on pace to surpass his totals from a year ago, along the way making his teammates better than he did last year — 53 assists both seasons, with likely several games still left to play in 2009.

    There have been a variety of reasons thrown out there why Ridgefield didn’t perform at its top level against New Canaan. Injuries have been mentioned as has the fact that the prom was the night before.

    To me, those are excuses of the highest order.

    There’s simply been a lot of respect thrown Ridgefield’s way this season — and I’m as guilty as anyone of waving the pom-poms. And in fairness the Tigers have answered the call every time, save for the Lawrenceville game, though that loss, a 1-goal defeat, is rather acceptable considering the skill level of that particular opponent.

    It’s not like the praise bestowed upon Ridgefield isn’t warranted. This is a very explosive team. It’s just that many of the other teams in the FCIAC have been much better than first anticipated or gotten a lot better as the season has progressed. I mean, who in their right mind would want to play New Canaan or Wilton right now? Unless you are elite it’s a less than 50-50 proposition that you’ll get out of there with a win.

    Darien has been the Darien we’ve known for years over the last month.

    Anything short of Ridgefield’s best effort of the season will result in a loss. Say what you want about the players they have that are currently hobbled. Sure, that matters, but now is the time for the complete package to show itself. Depth will have to come to the fore, and Colsey and his staff will have to be better than legendary coach Brameier. That’s a tall order, but one I think all involved with the Ridgefield program can overcome.

    If Morrissey plays and does what he normally does on draws, Collin Scott overcomes his ailments and plays up to his abilities and White has the game of his life, Ridgefield wins the title. Anything short of that and Darien’s attack will be too much to overcome, especially because Mirra is not playing.

    In times like these I like to go with the team that has the best player, assuming that very player will be the reason.

    Matt White, on paper, is the best player on the field for either team. and If he does what he does Brendan Walsh should have his opportunities.

    I like Ridgefield 10-9.

  4. Lax Novice says:

    Well said, Syracuse, I agree with all of your points, other than the conclusion, of course. I’m going with Darien 13, Ridgefield 9. The thing Darien cannot have happen is to be tied or up only a goal or two late in the 4th, never mind trailing. The Tigers have proven that no deficit cannot be overcome so long as #3 is on the field. You correctly suggest that White has to be all that from the start of the game, not just in the nick of time.

    If he finds himself standing at midfield telling Gorski how the prom went while Darien is working the clock with the ball, then he won’t have the title he wants so very much. I don’t think the Ridgefield coaches are going to let that happen, they’re not going to go out with bullets left in the chamber. I also think Darien will be expecting White to be a middie more often than not and have plans for that likelihood. That’s what great competition is all about.

    Good luck to both teams, it’ll be a memorable night no matter the outcome.

  5. re:lax says:

    No prom last night, no PGs on the Darien squad, the Field has White and Darien has nobody remotely close to him…the Field takes this one I think.

  6. Laxcat says:

    Prom or no Prom NC matched up well with Ridgefield this year, the first game was no fluke and a lot closer than the score, the 2nd game a classic battle…..

    Having said that the 2 best teams are playing each other tonight and both deserve to be there…..congrats to both teams and coaching staffs.

    Darien rides big MO to the finish line and gets the W tonight…10-8…should be fun.

  7. re:lax says:


    Losing a home game 8-4 is matching up well? 2nd game was a result of prom fatigue, and probably looking ahead. I don’t see any MO for Darien as they have yet to beat anybody that has been consistently good this season.

    Agree that it should be fun though. Always fun to see a new sheriff in town.

  8. Syracuse says:

    I just wonder what would happen if Darien played both Manhasset and Yorktown now. Do they get a win? Two wins? Hmmm … Manhasset has been consistenly great all season, but in that first meeting Darien had its chances. Yorktown pretty much led throughout but has, at times, been a bit inconsistent this season. Since the Wilton loss, I think Town got the message …

    I know it’s Ridgefield vs. Darien tonight but I made this inquiry because maybe if Darien was playing then like they are now they’d be the top seed and we’d all be wondering if Ridgefield could pull it off.

    As it stands, it seems Ridgefield, despite one loss to a great, I’m talking GREAT, prep school team, is viewed by many as the underdog in this game.

    Funny how that works.

  9. re:lax says:


    When did they start making Kool Aid in blue? How can people consider Ridge to be the underdog? They have one OOS loss to a PG laden prep school. Darien played four quality opponents…and lost four. If they played them again right now I think that they lose three…maybe get by Malvern. They may be playing a bit better than earlier in the season, but this is far cry from the Darien teams of the past four years…heck they have already doubled the total losses compiled by three of those four years.

  10. Laxcat says:


    1st NC – Ridgefield game was a lot closer from this perspective, penalties were 9-2 in Ridgefield’s favor, game was 3-2 or so at half, NO ONE expected NC to be in that game at all….no question Ridgefield had a tougher time that night than they expected, that gave NC a lot of confidence going into semi’s, please do not down play the effort and game NC gave Ridgefield with prom hang over excuses….

    like I said at the end of the day Ridgefield deserves to be there tonight and they earned it with a gritty performance…..

    As far as Darien my “big MO” comment was they easily handled by all accounts a pretty good Wilton team….

    All this will settled where it belongs on the field….

  11. Joe Lombardi says:

    Hey gang. I’m here at Jack Casagrande Field at Brien McMahon. We’re just about to get started. I’ll be back at the end of the quarter. James will be checking in with updates as well.

  12. James says:

    White beats his man from X and draws blood for the Tigers.

  13. James says:

    Baker rips upper corner. 2 to 0 Field.

  14. Joe Lombardi says:

    Ridgefield, which jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Matt White and Matt Baker, leads 2-1 after onr. John Bolton.scored for the Wave.

    Huge crowd – in the thousands.

  15. James says:

    Bolton answers. 2 to 1 Ridgefield midway through the second. Both defenses playing well.

  16. James says:

    Dysenchuk knots it up at two. Four minutes left in the half.

  17. James says:

    Darien controlling possession. A few near-misses, too. Hyatt makes a big save with two to go.

  18. James says:

    Walsh looks shaken after a big hit in a man up situation. Darien ball (timeout) with thirty ticks in the half.

  19. Joe Lombardi says:

    As the score indicates it’s been a well-played defensive oriented team. We’re tied 2-2 at the half.

  20. James says:

    Brickman and Scott score for their respective teams. White gives Ridgefield the 4-3 lead with a high bounce.

  21. James says:

    After Bolton ties it up for Darien, junior Ian Vazquez cuts in unopposed and beats Blue Wave goalie Andrew West. Looks like the floodgates are opening.

  22. Indian J says:

    Please give the current score with the updates. Us NYers lose track with all the names.

  23. Joe Lombardi says:

    It’s tied 5-5 after three.

  24. Joe Lombardi says:

    After Ridgefield took a 5-4 lead, Darien’s Lafayette-bound John Bolton scored his third goal to tie it.

    Should be a wild fourth quarter.

  25. James says:

    Dysenchuk makes it 6 to 5, Darien.

  26. Joe Lombardi says:

    Dysenchuk’s goal, his second, comes two minutes into the fourth period.

  27. James says:

    Aaron Mathias ties it with a gutsy take. 6 to 6.

  28. Joe Lombardi says:

    Ridgefield calls timeout with 6:24 remaining moments after tying it at 6-6.

  29. Syracuse says:

    FINAL: Newtown 9, New Fairfield 8

  30. Joe Lombardi says:

    After a nice save by Darien goalie Andrew West with 5:04 to go, the Blue Wave call for timeout.

  31. Joe Lombardi says:

    Ridgefield has ball with 2:36 to go after a Darien turnover.

  32. Joe Lombardi says:

    Nice save by West with 50 seconds to go. Darien has the ball and calls for time.

    Fasten your seatbelts, gang.

  33. Joe Lombardi says:

    We’re going into OT – tied at 6-6.

  34. James says:

    Darien does not get a shot off. OT.

  35. Joe Lombardi says:

    Ridgefield wins the faceoff and immediately calls for time.

  36. Joe Lombardi says:

    Matt White scores off a fastbreak feed from Matt Baker with 2:44 left in OT. Ridgefield wins 7-6 and wins the FCIAC title.

  37. Syracuse says:

    That’s why he’s a great player.

  38. James says:

    Ridgefield wins its first FCIAC championship.

  39. Joe Lombardi says:

    Check back for video highlights and interviews.

    Special thanks to James for all his great work with the updates.

  40. taz says:

    Pretty funny – 2 UVA bound guys (White & English) score game winners vs Darien this year. Sounds like it was a great game.

  41. LAX says:

    Wow, isn’t that the second game-winner White had against Darien this year? Congrats to Ridgefield

  42. LI Lax says:

    Congrats to Colsey and Ridgefield, a huge accomplishment defeating Darien twice and winning their first ever FCIAC title.

  43. Laxcat says:

    Hats off to Ridgefield beat Darien 2x, Wilton, NC 2x…well done.

  44. Keeler Tav says:

    YEH BOYS!!!

    What a sickkkkk game. Way to step up in the clutch again Whitey. Way to play hurt Colin Scott. Your my hero. Way to shut down the offense (except #3 and #22 those kids are sick) Jake and the D!!!

    Did you guys hear us honking at u on the bus when u got on Main Street haha. We were behind u on Route 7 the whole way up.

    Now let’s win States!!!


  45. Keeler Tav says:

    Two OT games in a row! I think I may have a nervous breakdown …

    Good game Darien!


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