NORWALK — 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 their FCIAC boys lacrosse semifinal Tuesday at McMahon’s Jack Casagrande Field, Canet dodged left, dodged back right, ducked a hit, took it to the net and scored just before the horn sounded to end the game.
New Canaan won it 11-10, and the sophomore midfielder had lifted the Rams into their 29th FCIAC final in 43 years. The Rams will face Wilton — a 4-3 upset winner over top-seeded and top-ranked Darien — in Thursday’s 7 p.m. final 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 the Tigers never led but twice erased sizable deficits, tying the game at 4 early in the second half, then at 10 with 26.1 seconds left on freshman Ryan Colsey’s fourth goal.
Justin Wietfeldt won the draw — Tim Norton’s stick broke, New Canaan coach Chip Buzzeo said, so it was Wietfeldt at the end, not that the Rams could go wrong either way — to get the Rams the ball yet again.
“The name of the game is faceoffs, and at the end of the day, that last faceoff, 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.”
Second-seeded, second-ranked Ridgefield is 15-3. The teams didn’t meet in the regular season; Buzzeo said the Rams put Summit, N.J., on their schedule because they wanted experience against a similarly styled team.
“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. “We didn’t want to have to catch up.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
New Canaan goalie Carl Mazabras made big saves at key moments to make sure the Tigers never got over the top.
“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, and Quintin O’Connell had three, all in the third as the Rams built a 9-5 lead.
BUZZEO ON CANET
“He’s not your ordinary sophomore. He’s the fastest guy on our team. Give him the ball at the end of the game, hopefully he makes a great play, and he did. I couldn’t be more happy for him, such a good kid. People are going to be calling his name for many years to come.”
WAR OF ATTRITION
Ridgefield had attackman Noah Gels with an arm in a sling, had midfielder (and wing on faceoffs) James Isaacson out as well. Then, after scoring a goal in the fourth quarter, attackman/midfielder Wes Carpenter departed with a pulled hamstring.
“Guys stepped up. My young guys stepped up,” Colsey said; freshmen scored six Ridgefield goals.
“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.” — Ridgefield coach Roy Colsey