STAMFORD -- Though Tuesday marked the Greenwich Academy ice hockey team's first game in more than three weeks, coach Moe Tarrant didn't see any signs of rust in his squad. All he witnessed was pure domination.
Executing to near perfection, Greenwich Academy played like a team that had been on the ice every day during the holiday break Tuesday against Darien. And Tarrant couldn't help but be surprised.
Receiving goals from six different players, Greenwich Academy coasted to its sixth straight win, downing Darien High, 6-0, at Chelsea Piers.
"I was pleasantly surprised with how we played," Tarrant said. "Usually your skating is okay after a long break, but your passing and shooting is rusty. But our team was sharp and it was encouraging to see how we came out of the box. I wasn't expecting that type of execution."
The Gators (8-1) scored two goals in each period and outshot the Blue Wave 32-7.
"I think this was one of the best games we played this year," said GA freshman Olivia LeSueur, who registered two assists. "We passed really well and got the puck up the ice."
The loss was the first for Darien (6-1-1), which allowed only seven goals through its first seven games.
"Greenwich Academy has a really nice team and the only way we are going to get better is to play teams like that," Darien coach Jamie Tropsa said. "It's good for our team to see a team like that, so they know what it's going to take to get to that level."
All over the puck from the outset, the Gators scored the game's first goal with 7 minutes, 15 seconds remaining in the opening period. Senior forward Eva Rosencrans won a battle for the puck along the boards and sent it to defenseman Janka Hlinka. The junior found forward Dani Freedman alone at the doorstep and Freedman finished, putting GA ahead, 1-0.
"We were able to increase our passing chances today, our passing got a lot better this game," said Freedman, a junior. "In the locker room before the game we were excited and we didn't let up on the ice."
Said LeSueur: "They were undefeated, so we knew this was going to be a hard game. We knew could set the tone of the game if we got off to a great start."
Senior defenseman Mary Taussig's one-timer off a feed from senior Pam Schulman made it a 2-0 game with 4:27 to go in the first period. The Blue Wave's best scoring chance during the first period came on freshman forward Marissa Baker's breakaway attempt with just over a minute left to play in the first period. But GA senior goalie Annie DeFrino got her glove on the high shot, keeping Darien off the scoreboard. Scoring chances were few and far between for the Blue Wave, due to the strong play of Gators defensemen Sarah Kaplan, Hlinka and Taussig.
"One things we have worked hard on is closing the gap, to give away one inch of real estate is ridiculous," Tarrant said. "Having three seniors back there -- they really execute that."
After freshman Megan Collins' goal put Darien in a 3-0 hole, Schulman struck with 3:14 to go in the second period. Jumping on a loose puck in the neutral zone, Schulman got loose on a breakaway, beating Blue Wave goalie Shannon Hall with a backhand shot, for Greenwich's Academy's fourth goal.
"Coming back from our break I was happy to see that we kept our passing up and our endurance was really good," Schulman said.
Spending a lot of time in Darien's zone, the Gators kept Hall busy in goal throughout.
"We don't play a team at this level all the time, so I'm happy to see us work as hard as we did," Tropsa said. "A loss to a good team like this -- hopefully we can learn from it and get better."
Rosencrans tallied off a tip-in and senior forward Caitlin Buckley finished from close in to cap the scoring for GA, which will travel to Middlebury College Sunday to take on formidable Vermont Academy.
"After coming back from vacation to set the tone for this weekend like this was great," Schulman said.
Greenwich Academy 6, Darien 0
DARIEN 0 0 0--0
GREENWICH ACADEMY 2 2 2--6
Goals: GA -- Dani Freedman, Mary Taussig, Megan Collins, Pam Schulman, Eva Rosencrans, Caitlin Buckley; Assists: GA -- Janka Hlinka 2, Olivia LeSueur 2, Schulman, Isabella Crawford, Buckley, Taussig, Kate DeFrino, Rosencrans, Sarah Kaplan. Goalies: GA -- Annie DeFrino (7 saves); D -- Shannon Hall (26 saves).
Records: Greenwich Academy 8-1; Darien 6-1-1.