Boys lacrosse: Wilton falls to Tigers in overtime

Death, taxes, and thrilling athletic contests between Ridgefield and Wilton.

Connecticut boys lacrosse fans were treated to the most appealing of those certainties on Thursday afternoon, as host Ridgefield edged Wilton, 7-6, in overtime at Tiger Hollow.

In their first game back after missing time due to injuries, Peter Dearth and Schuyler Blair combined for the game-winning goal just 1:30 into OT. Blair got the goal off an assist from Dearth, giving the Tigers a crucial win over a bitter rival.

Ridgefield improved to 9-2 overall and 5-1 in the FCIAC, while Wilton fell to 8-4 overall and 4-3 in the conference.

Ridgefield’s zone defense was strong enough in the early going to minimize chances and mitigate scoring threats, but lack of substantive possession contributed to two Wilton goals (at 8:47 and 3:26) that put the visitors ahead, 2-0, at the end of the first quarter.

Just 1:33 into the second period, Dearth found the net on a quick shot to cut the Wilton lead in half. After Ridgefield flipped the script and curbed Warrior possession time, Mark Galione leveled the contest at 2-2 with 2:22 remaining in the half.

Wilton regained the lead on Kieran McGovern's goal with 1:47 left in the second quarter, but Greg Gatto drew the Tigers back even off of a Drew Fowler assist with a measly 0.4 seconds left in the half.

Following a physical third quarter in which the Tigers and the Warriors exchanged goals to keep the game tied at 4-4, a gripping fourth quarter headlined what was an excellent contest.

At 8:10 of the final quarter, Dearth completed a hat trick to give the Tigers a 5-4 lead. Ridgefield face-off man Chris Costello then won the ensuing draw and took off to add another goal a mere eight seconds later.

Wilton's Harrison Koch scored 14 seconds after that to make it a one-goal game, and then Koch scored again to tie the contest at 6-6, leading to extra time.

Costello won the opening face-off in OT and the Tigers called timeout, setting the stage for Dearth and Blair to combine on the game-winner.

“That’s a great high school lacrosse game that I would’ve paid to come and watch,” said Ridgefield head coach Roy Colsey. “Both teams deserved to win, and it was a really well-played game.”

Notes: Koch and McGovern led Wilton with two goals apiece. Harrison Bardwell and Peter Koch also scored for the Warriors, and Connor Drake and Brian Calabrese each had two assists.

Ridgefield starting goalie Kris Klemm left in the first quarter with a lower body injury. Freshman Daniel Parson filled in admirably with 11 saves.

Wilton's RJ Romeo won eight of the game's 13 face-offs.