DARIEN \u2014 As if the New Canaan girls ice hockey team hasn\u2019t found enough offense this season, now the Rams have a hat trick from a defender in a game against the state\u2019s second-ranked team. Junior Amanda Benson scored once in each period and helped the defense pitch a shutout as New Canaan dominated in a 5-0 victory over Darien Saturday night at the Darien Ice House. Benson\u2019s first goal came 32 seconds after the opening puck drop and set the tone for the Rams\u2019 fifth straight win against the rival Blue Wave. \u201cAgainst any team (a hat trick) would be amazing, but against Darien, with the rivalry being so big \u2014 I can\u2019t even describe how happy I am,\u201d Benson said. \u201cWe work for it every practice and this is what we want. We just came out and we took it to them. Obviously, I couldn\u2019t have scored those three goals without my team.\u201d New Canaan (17-0-1) led 2-0 after one period, extended the gap to three in the second, and capped the win with a two-goal third frame. The Rams were constantly buzzing the Wave net and outshot Darien 29-21. \u201cThe energy was everything we wanted to see,\u201d New Canaan coach Rich Bulan said. \u201cYou know they\u2019re going to come out hard, you know how good they are, and they\u2019re always our toughest challenge. The energy we had, and then scoring quick, was big.\u201d Darien (12-3-2) had won its last three games, against state contenders ETB, Guilford and Simsbury, but couldn\u2019t find its rhythm against New Canaan. \u201cThat team wanted it more than us,\u201d Darien coach Jamie Tropsa said. \u201cThird period, the puck was in their zone the whole time, but we couldn\u2019t get anything generated from it. Hats off to them. They have a great team over there and hopefully, we can get them at least once more.\u201d New Canaan\u2019s freshman goalie Nikki Ferraro made 21 saves and earned her seventh shutout, tying the team\u2019s record for a rookie. \u201cNikki was focused,\u201d Bulan said. \u201cShe was in position, she was covering rebounds and directing rebounds. That was a solid game from her against one of the best teams in the state.\u201d Benson\u2019s opening goal came with an assist from sophomore defender Lexie Tully, who drove through several Wave players and whipped a pass across to Benson for a one-timer. Eight minutes later, freshman Maddie Tully doubled the advantage to 2-0. Benson netted her second goal during a power play in the second period, and Benson and senior Caitlin Tully scored the Rams\u2019 third-period goals. With the playoffs getting under way on Feb. 22, New Canaan is in a good place, while Darien is searching for consistency. \u201cThis team\u2019s been a little up and down, but they have the talent to win big games,\u201d Tropsa said. \u201cNow, we just have to figure out how to get that done.\u201d PLAYER OF THE GAME Amanda Benson, New Canaan: The junior defender netted three goals and was part of a defense which registered a shutout. QUOTABLE \u201cThat (1-1) tie against Simsbury (on Feb. 2) put things in perspective. We talked in the locker room and said we\u2019re never going to be in that situation again. We\u2019re going to go out there, start every game off our way and then finish it right and that\u2019s what we did today.\u201d - New Canaan\u2019s Amanda Benson firstname.lastname@example.org; @dstewartsports NEW CANAAN 5, DARIEN 0 Darien 0 0 0 - 0 New Canaan 2 1 2 - 5 Scoring: First period: NC - Amanda Benson (Lexie Tully), 14:28; NC - Maddie Tully (Kaleigh Harden, Grace Crowell), 6:40; Second period: NC - Benson, 2:47; Third period: NC - Benson (Caitlin Tully), 6:32; NC - Caitlin Tully (Maddie Tully), 14:21. Goalies: D - Claire Haupt 17 saves, Katherine Kahn 7 saves; NC - Nikki Ferraro 21 saves. Records: Darien 12-3-2, New Canaan 18-0-1.