NORWALK >> The Darien boys lacrosse team had more than the usual challenges facing Fairfirfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference foe New Canaan in the CIAC Class M championship game on Saturday. The Blue Wave had an unbeaten season on the line and the unenviable task of facing the Rams for third time this season.
The game plan was to play a zone defense, shut down the Rams’ potent scorer Harry Stanton and make the other Rams players beat Darien.
The Rams scored the game’s first goal but the Blue Wave came back with three unanswered goals and would never trail in the game thereafter. Yale-bound goalie Phil Huffard had 15 saves, Jack Kniffin had three goals and Ian Burgoyne added two as No. 1 Darien defeated No. 3 New Canaan 10-8 for the Class M championship at McMahon’s Jack Casagrande Field.
The Blue Wave held Stanton to two goals as they finished the season 23-0, the second unbeaten season for the team, to earn their 10th CIAC state championship. Darien also defeated New Canaan 11-10 in OT in the regular season and 12-11 in OT in the FCIAC tournament semifinals.
“We never overlooked New Canaan and just looked at this as a one-game season event, never giving it a thought that we were playing them a third time,” Huffard said. “Our zone shutoff was solid and as it turned out limited Stanton’s offense.
”This is so unbelieveable, to win the title and finish unbeaten. I can’t describe what I’m feeling. I’m just so proud to be able to share all this with our school and our town.”
Ted Bossidy gave New Canaan a 1-0 lead 1:02 into the game. But Darien answered with a goal by Burgoyne with 7:05 to go in the first quarter, John Reed gave Darien a 2-1 lead with 5:37 to go and Burgoyne made it 3-1 with one second left in the first quarter.
Darien never trailed thereafter, building up its biggest lead at 8-3 on a goal by Colin Minicus with 3:36 to go in the third quarter.
“This is the culmination of a dream season, something that’s so hard to do (go 23-0),” Darien coach Jeff Brameier said. “Our guys worked hard week after week for this and accepted our team concept.
“Phil was really the difference in this game today. He’s the reason we went to a zone because of his ability to come through with the big saves.”
Stanton, Justin Meichner and Michael Kraus ended up with two goals each for the Rams (17-5).