Darien boys lacrosse tops New Canaan, 11-8
By Rich DePretaPublished
The capacity crowd at New Canaan’s Dunning Stadium were treated to a war of wills Saturday with Darien emerging with an 11-8 road triumph.
“There’s no question we are two of the best boys lacrosse teams in the state as well as nationally and there is the long rivalry,” said Darien coach Jeff Brameier. “There’s always so many great plays along the way. And a few timely plays at the end.”
Darien remained unbeaten at 9-0 overall and grabbed sole possession of first place in the FCIAC East Division at 6-0 with the triumph.
The Blue Wave took the 6-6 halftime deadlock and played smarter, better on faceoffs, were tougher on defense and explosive on offense in the fourth quarter.
“It is absolutely great anytime we get a win over New Canaan. This is what we work for. It was a hard-fought contest,” said Darien’s Logan McGovern. “But we fought back and showed our resiliency. We knew it would be a tough task. But our comeback showed our poise and how we rely on each other.”
New Canaan (6-4, 5-1) forged the 6-6 halftime tie on the strength of junior Nick Crovatto’s dominance on faceoffs along with two power-play goals.
In the second half, Darien collected a number of loose balls off the faceoffs, killed off the only two penalties it drew in the final 24 minutes and shut down the mercurial New Canaan attack.
New Canaan sophomore Quintin O’Connell scored four goals overall and both Ram scores in the second half.
However, New Canaan’s leading scorers — Ryan O’Connell and Jack Hoelzer — were goalless after intermission.
“Our defense locked down the scorers we wanted to. There were good shots, but my defense gave me clear sight lines to make the saves I needed to,” said Darien senior goalie Ryan Cornell (11 saves). “We played most of the second half at even strength which made me more comfortable. It’s great fun to play New Canaan. It’s always special to win. And we know we’ll see them again.”
“Quintin O’Connell did his damage,” Darien coach Brameier said. “But we picked our poison from their talented offensive group. It was a great job by our five long poles (defensemen).”
New Canaan senior goalie Drew Morris (11 saves) acquitted himself well in net. But Darien’s grinding and physicality paid dividends in the fourth quarter.
Senior Kevin Lindley (two goals, two assists) scored with 10:20 to go for 9-7. McGovern tallied at 9:34 for 10-7.
Quintin O’Connell converted a Jackson Appelt feed for 10-8 with 7:49 left. But McGovern’s goal with 51.3 seconds left insured the Darien victory.
“We were ranked No. 1 in the country in a national poll this week,” Darien’s Brameier said. “The No. 1 teams have had a habit of losing after that. But I’m happy we’re still here and winning.”
DARIEN 11, NEW CANAAN 8
DARIEN 3 3 2 3—11
NEW CANAAN 2 4 1 1—8
Records: Darien 9-0, 6-0 FCIAC; New Canaan 6-4, 5-1.
Scoring: D—Finlay Collins 2 goals; Jack Joyce 1g; Riley Stewart 1g, 1a; Logan McGovern 4g; James Solberg 1g; Kevin Lindley 2g, 2a. NC—Jack Hoelzer 1g, 1a; Quintin O’Connell 4g; Ryan O’Connell 2g, 1a; Jackson Appelt 2a; Graham Braden 1g. Goalies: D—Ryan Cornell (11 saves). NC—Drew Morris (11 saves).