NORWALK >> Darien tacked on another state title run to its rich lacrosse tradition on Saturday.
A three-goal burst over a span of 1 minute, 43 seconds in the third, keyed the No. 3 Blue Wave’s 6-5 win over No. 9 Ridgefield at McMahon High in the Class L boys state championship.
The victory marked Darien’s second straight state title (the Blue Wave won Class M last season) and ninth over the last 11 seasons.
“We had a great year,” head coach Jeff Brameier said. “They use last year as benchmark, 23-0. How are you going to match that? It’s a tough act to follow. I think this group matched it with back-to-back state championships and FCIAC championships. We moved up to a very tough Class L class and we will be the No. 1 team in Connecticut.
“That’s all we want. End the season in a pile, win two championships and come away with a lot of hard work.”
The win over Ridgefield was Darien’s third over its FCIAC rival this season, which includes the conference championship.
Ridgefield led 4-2 at the half. Darien was scoreless for a span of nearly 19 minutes during one stretch, a rarity this season.
“We had some nerves coming out of the gate,” junior Hudson Hamill said. “We had to calm down. We’ve been here before. We’ve played in a lot of big games. We knew two goals wasn’t a big deficit.”
Jack Kniffin ended the drought on an assist from Colin Minicus to make it a one-goal game with 4:33 left in the third. Then Minicus found the back of the net on a feed from Hamill moments later to tie the game.
Christian Trifone capped the run on a pass from Minicus to put the Blue Wave up 5-4 with just under 3 minutes to play in the quarter.
Defenseman Mark Evanchick added to the lead with his goal with 7:25 to play. Ridgefield would cut the deficit to a goal when Simon Mathias scored 2 minutes later. The Tigers turned the ball over on their final possession with under a minute remaining.
Hamill led the Blue Wave (20-3) with two goals and Minicus added a goal and two assists. Mathias scored twice and chipped in with an assist, while Mark Galione had two goals for Ridgefield (17-5).
We went back to what trying to do in the beginning of the game,” said Brameier about the adjustments. “We rushed in the beginning of the game. We have this scramble set that keeps everyone moving and keeps them uncomfortable. We slipped into open areas. A couple of key catches and finishes, we just did enough. Tip our hat to our defense, they really won the game for us.”