Rams get late goal to edge Ridgefield in FCIAC semis
He didn’t want to give away any secrets, Chris Canet said, but even so, it’s hard to imagine that last play went exactly as New Canaan drew it up on the chalkboard.
Moments after Ridgefield tied Tuesday night's FCIAC boys lacrosse semifinal at McMahon’s Jack Casagrande Field, Canet dodged left, dodged back right, ducked a hit, took the ball to the net, and scored just before the horn sounded to end the game.
The goal gave third-seed New Canaan an 11-10 win over second-seed Ridgefield and lifted the Rams into their 29th FCIAC final in 43 years. New Canaan will face fourth-seed Wilton — a 4-3 upset winner over top-seeded and top-ranked Darien in the second semifinal Tuesday — in Thursday’s conference championship game (7 p.m.) back at McMahon.
“The clock is behind me, so I couldn’t really see the time. I knew I had to go to the goal and make something happen,” Canet said. “I aimed for that low corner and hoped it went in.”
It did to end a game in which Ridgefield never led but twice erased sizable deficits, tying the score at 4-4 early in the second half, then at 10-10 with 26.1 seconds left on freshman Ryan Colsey’s fourth goal.
Justin Wietfeldt won the ensuing draw to get the Rams the ball yet again.
“The name of the game is face-offs, and at the end of the day that last face-off, and the result: We played a lot of defense,” Ridgefield coach Roy Colsey said. “My guys were absolute warriors on defense, but we played too much defense, and I think in the end that’s what cost us.”
“We were up the whole game. Our priority, our game plan, was to not go down to this team because of the way they can hold the ball,” Buzzeo said about Ridgefield. “We didn’t want to have to catch up.”
New Canaan goalie Carl Mazabras made big saves at key moments to make sure the Tigers never got ahead.
“One thing with Carl is, in big games, he rises to the occasion,” Buzzeo said. “His heartbeat never really changes. He’s the guy on the team who keeps everyone in check. He stepped up. That’s what you want your senior captain goalie to do.”
Liam Griffiths scored four goals for the Rams (13-5), and Quintin O’Connell had three, all in the third period as the Rams built a 9-5 lead.
Ridgefield (15-3) had attackman Noah Gels on the sidelines with an arm in a sling and had midfielder James Isaacson out as well. Then, after scoring a goal in the fourth quarter, attackman/midfielder Weston Carpenter departed with a pulled hamstring.
“Guys stepped up. My young guys stepped up,” Roy Colsey said. “I’m really, really proud of the way my guys stuck together and fought back. Certainly you want a different outcome when you tie it with 20 seconds left.”
“(New Canaan) also didn’t quit. When you’re up four and all of a sudden it’s tied with 20 seconds left, that’s a tough situation for both of us, but they made the big play at the end, and that was the difference.”