MADISON — When the Weston and Daniel Hand boys lacrosse team both scored in the first three minutes of Saturday’s game on the turf at Hand, it became clear that this would be a dog fight in this key game between Class M powers.
But instead of an offensive showcase, the game became a defensive slugfest.
Weston, ranked No. 8 in the latest GameTimeCT Top 10 Poll, came away with a 6-5 victory thanks to the late heroics of Ryan Werner, who scored the game winning goal with just three and a half minutes remaining.
Weston improved to 13-2 with its eight-consecutive victory since a 17-4 loss to SWC rival and No. 5-ranked New Fairfield on April 18. The Trojans currently sit in the No. 3 spot in the Class M playoff standings. Hand fell to 10-5. The Tigers are currently No. 8 in the standings.
“I’m really proud of the way the guys fought,” Weston head coach Josh Thornton said. “We played great defense, we just played a lot of it. Our guys stepped up and made big plays. I’d like to lessen the turnovers, but we played a really good game as a team.”
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Nathaniel Billig opened up the scoring with a quick goal but Hand’s Shane Reiner almost immediately answered back with a goal of his own.
Weston started to take control after a Kyle Aronson goal in the first quarter followed by Werner’s first goal of the game halfway through the second quarter for a 3-1 lead.
In the third quarter, Weston pushed the deficit to 5-1 on goals by James Goetz and Henry Cohen.
Momentum started to shift when Hand responded with three goals in five minutes, including a Tripp Bordiere goal with only one second remaining in the third quarter.
Hand kept the momentum in the beginning of the fourth quarter as Tom Ferrick buried his second goal of the game to knot it up at 5-5.
“When they tied it up we could have folded,” Thornton said. “We showed resiliency and then we were able to get that sixth goal. Ryan Werner scored a big one for us.”
Werner finished with a pair of goals. Goetz had a goal and an assist for Weston. Ferrick finished with two goals. Sean Scully had two assists.
Daniel Lucas made 10 saves for the Trojans. Griffin Fitzmaurice had 13 saves for Hand.
Both teams only have one game remaining before the playoffs begin. Weston will be competing in the SWC Tournament and Hand in the SCC tournament.