NEW CANAAN — The Darien boys lacrosse team has been so dominant this season, so methodical in dismantling the majority of opponents, that it sometimes seems like a steely machine.
In a dramatic moment on Thursday, however, the emotions burst out for the Blue Wave.
Freshman Brady Pokorny scored off a feed from senior co-captain Jamison Moore with 1:19 remaining, and the No. 1 Blue Wave edged No. 2 New Canaan 10-9 in a wild game at Dunning Field.
Darien (14-1) took a 6-0 lead in the first quarter, New Canaan (10-5) stormed back and eventually moved ahead 9-8 with 5:24 to play, but the Wave netted the final two goals for the win.
The Wave then rushed the field toward goalie Andy Demopoulos and the defense, to celebrate the win.
“It’s always good to beat New Canaan,” Moore said. “I’d love to see them down the road (in the postseason) and get another shot at them. It’s always fun to play New Canaan.”
“It was a good battle between two good teams,” Darien coach Jeff Brameier said. “That ‘s 1 vs 2 and they certainly believed in themselves and they didn’t quit and they made some good plays. You’ve just got to keep playing.”
It was the Wave’s second victory over New Canaan this season, but this one was far different from the first, which ended 15-6.
“I don’t think anybody believes in moral victories — not on our team or in our program,” New Canaan coach Chip Buzzeo said. “We’re just glad we had a good lacrosse game. We did a lot of good things and we stopped them from executing which is great. I’m happy with the way we played.”
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New Canaan was led by senior co-captain Chis Canet, who had a hat trick, and Ryan Caione scored twice while also putting the Rams briefly in the lead in the fourth quarter.
For Darien, Jamison Moore and Brady and Finn Pokorny each scored twice, and Tighe Cummiskey came up big on faceoffs during the first and fourth quarters, overcoming a strong performance by New Canaan’s Hayden Shin.
Moore was involved in the tying and winning goals, as he netted the equalizer when his shot glanced off a defenseman’s stick and sailed past New Canaan goalie Holden Busby (12 saves) with 5:24 remaining.
On the winner, Matthew Minicus flipped a pass to Moore behind the net and he fed the ball to a cutting Pokorny for the goal.
“I came out the back, because we knew they were going to slide to (Minicus), and Brady came off a break, and the rest is history,” Moore said. “He finished beautifully and that’s exactly what we wanted to do on that play.”
For both coaches, there were plenty of positives to take from the game.
Recovering from the early onslaught of Wave goals was a boost for the Rams, who even managed to hold the Wave scoreless for the final 16 minutes of the first half.
During a timeout while down 5-0, Buzzeo was able to get New Canaan to refocus.
“We’ve just got to take a deep breath, do what we planned to do, and get one goal at a time,” Buzzeo said. “It’s definitely not the way we wanted to start and we’ve done that twice (against Darien), but these guys battled. I don’t anybody’s doubting us anymore. I’m proud of them.”
For Darien, it was an eye-opener with the playoffs looming next week.
“Now they’ve been in the heat of the battle, they’ve been panicked, and it was like ‘oh my God’,” Brameier said. “You’ve got to learn. Teams are going to make good plays.”
“We knew they weren’t going to roll over. Like any good team, they were coming and they have the players and the capability to come back. It was a little nerve-wracking seeing them score that stream of goals, but we had confidence in ourselves that we were going to be able to overcome it.”— Darien senior co-captain Jamison Moore