NEW HAVEN — Michael Colon is not unlike any other hockey goaltender. The more action the better.
It is all about living for the big save.
“It’s kind of fun in a way,” Colon said from the bowels of Ingalls Rink Saturday afternoon, not long after the Darien High School boys hockey team missed out on the chance to win its first state title in 45 years following a 2-1 overtime loss to Fairfield Prep in the Division I final. “I’d rather be doing that than standing there bored. It’s tiring, but I play the sport for a reason. I like playing it and I have fun when I get action.”
Unfortunately, the situation created a paradox. What was fun for Colon was not in Darien’s best interest.
For nearly 39 minutes, Colon was perfection. He wasn’t just holding a shutout, but doing it in as spectacular a manner as possible. It was the kind of performance you lie in bed dreaming about.
Colon was fronted by a defense that has stood out all season. But in the end, it was asking too much of Colon and his protectors.
Darien (22-4-1), the No. 4 seed, had been playing with a lead since Robert Juterbock’s goal at 3:05 of the first period.
Seven seconds after having a goal disallowed, the Jesuits’ Dean Lockery, who would have already been in possession of a hat trick on any other day, against any other goaltender, scored off an assist from Kenneth Kochiss at 8:49 of the third period to tie the score at 1-1.
Then, 6:09 into overtime, Prep’s Vinny D’Amore solved Colon perhaps the only way possible on this day, taking a shot that the goaltender never saw.
D’Amore’s goal gave one of the state’s most storied programs its second straight state title, ninth since 2000 and 16th over all.
“I was screened,” Colon said. “I saw him wind up and I went down and kind of lost track and hoped for the best, and then turned and saw it in the bottom corner. I kind of gave a sigh and then sat there for a second taking it all in.”
It was the third one-goal game between the teams this season. Darien won two of them.
But not the one it wanted most of all.
Thus came to a conclusion to one of the best seasons in Darien history.
It was understandably hard in the immediate aftermath for Blue Wave coach Chris Gerwig and his players to think that way.
“We didn’t have a lot of juice today,” Gerwig said. “It’s hard to beat Goliath three times in a row. I’m kind of at a loss for words. I haven’t had time to think about it yet. It wasn’t meant to be.”
The game was as one-sided as the teams’ championship resumes. After the first period, the Blue Wave took just five shots. Prep had a decided 36-9 overall advantage.
“(Colon) has been our bread and butter all season, playing the way he has,” Gerwig said. “It was a game where we were outplayed in most phases.”
Still, the Blue Wave played with a lead for most of the day because Colon was the one phase where they did have an edge.
“Going into the third period, up by one, that’s something that we wanted,” Colon said.
Given how the game was playing out and how his team is constructed, Gerwig was not in a position to make any radical changes.
“If we tried to put pressure on them we probably would have given up a lot of odd-man rushes,” Gerwig said. “Too bad we had to play like this in a game of this magnitude. It’s the way things work sometimes.”
Colon was gracious in defeat, treating questions he no doubt didn’t want to answer with the same aplomb he demonstrated stopping 34 shots.
“I told the team we had a great season,” Colon said. “I think we should be proud of ourselves for making it here in the first place.”
Then Colon paused.
“It still would have been nice to get the win,” he said.