New Canaan beats Staples in battle of undefeated boys lacrosse teams
NEW CANAAN — The first words from New Canaan lacrosse coach Chip Buzzeo to his team after Tuesday’s 7-4 win over Staples didn’t have anything do with the Wreckers or how his own team played in the battle of undefeated squads.
No, Buzzeo’s postgame address was all about with what’s next: the game of the year against archrival Darien on Saturday in a clash and nationally ranked squads. The hype can now begin for Saturday’s showdown after New Canaan locked down on defense to move to 9-0 this spring and hand Staples (8-1) its first loss.
“Darien is always the biggest game of the year,” Buzzeo said. “Our guys look forward to playing them, they look forward to playing us. It means more, it’s not just a game. Both towns support each team and it should be an incredible atmosphere.”
Six different Rams scored goals but it was the defense that secured the win by stifling a Wreckers attack that had averaged 13.8 goals per game coming in. Rams goalie Drew Morris (nine saves) pitched in with several crucial stops in the second half.
“We had great goaltending from Drew Morris like always and our defense locked them down,” Buzzeo said. “Staples has a great offense and great shooters; we just have a special goalie and defense. We have defenders on the bench who could start for a lot of teams.”
Penalties didn’t come back to bite the Rams Tuesday; New Canaan had nine minutes of man-up opportunities that only led to one Staples goal. Those missed chances are what ultimately doomed the Wreckers, who were forced into a number of turnovers with the ball.
“New Canaan played great,” Wreckers coach Paul McNulty said. “They’re fast, well-skilled and gave us a hard time right from the beginning of the game. Their defense was faster and quicker than our offense and that led to turnovers. We had some good shots and they didn’t go in.”
Connor Chamberlin gave Staples a 3-2 lead early in the second quarter before New Canaan went to work. The Rams tied the game at even strength before taking advantage of a man-up situation late in the first half. New Canaan scored twice in the late stages, including a goal with 10 seconds left from Kyle Smith, to take a 5-3 lead into halftime.
The Rams extended the lead out of the break when Ryan O’Connell made it 6-3, and Jackson Appelt wrapped up New Canaan’s scoring with a goal early in the fourth. Morris allowed just one second half goal.
“We lost that faceoff in that three-minute (man-up) and we only had two good shots in that segment there,” McNulty said. “(New Canaan) executed very well and we didn’t as well as we hoped.”
Michael Reale fired a hat trick in the defeat for Staples, which hosts Ridgefield Friday in its annual Sticks for Soldiers fundraiser.
NEW CANAAN 7, STAPLES 4
STAPLES 2 1 0 1 — 4
NEW CANAAN 2 3 1 1 — 7
Records: Staples 8-1; New Canaan 9-0. Scoring: S — Michael Reale 3g; Connor Chamberlin 1g; NC — Peter Swindell 2g, 1a; Nick Crovatto 1g; Jack Hoezler 1g; Kyle Smith 1g; Ryan O’Connell 1g; Jackson Appelt 1g, 2a; Goalies: S — Peter Burger (9 saves); NC — Drew Morris (9 saves). Shots: S — 18; NC — 19.