New Canaan edges Wilton in FCIAC title game

Wilton's Dean DiNanno fires a shot during the FCIAC boys lacrosse championship game. - Erik Trautmann / Hearst Connecticut Media
Wilton's Dean DiNanno fires a shot during the FCIAC boys lacrosse championship game. — Erik Trautmann / Hearst Connecticut Media

New Canaan had suffocated Wilton’s momentum through the middle of the FCIAC boys lacrosse championship game Friday night, and in large part that was because of goalie Carl Mazabras.

Mazabras was there again at the end, making big fourth-quarter saves to earn Most Valuable Player honors and to preserve New Canaan's 8-7 win over the Warriors at Brien McMahon High School in Norwalk.

“He’s a stud. There’s a reason he’s a senior captain,” Quintin O’Connell said of his goalie, classmate and fellow captain. “He deserved that MVP more than anyone.”

Three big fourth-quarter stops (and a couple of goalposts) kept third-seed New Canaan ahead by two goals late in the game. And though Dean DiNanno’s third goal got fourth-seed Wilton back within one with 36.1 seconds left, New Canaan made one last defensive stand to set off the celebration for the Rams.

It took a comeback to get there: Wilton, coming off Tuesday’s 4-3 semifinal stunner over top-seed Darien, took a 4-1 first-quarter lead Friday.

New Canaan (14-5) got one back on an O’Connell setup to Drew Guida with 8.5 seconds left in the first, and the Rams held Wilton (10-9) scoreless for nearly 23 minutes. New Canaan had a 7-4 lead by the time the run ended late in the third.

“You’ve got to be patient” on offense, Rams coach Chip Buzzeo said. “You can’t rush it. You can’t force it. More importantly, you’ve got to believe in your teammates.

“Against arguably the best goalie in the state of Connecticut (Wilton’s Andrew Calabrese), you’ve got to take quality shots.”

Mazabras made eight of his 15 saves in that stretch.

“We were taking what they were giving us, adjusting our offensive sets based on their defense,” said Wilton coach Steve Pearsall, who said before the game the Warriors figured (spot on) that they’d need nine goals to win.

“We were generating a lot of shots from the midfield. They’re a good defensive team.”

Notes: The title was New Canaan's first since 2013. Darien had won the last five conference championships.

Wilton reached the FCIAC finals for the first time since 2004 but is still waiting for its first title since 1999.

The Warriors are back in action Saturday morning, playing Hall in a Class L state tournament qualifying-round game at 11 a.m.

“Twelve-hour turnaround,” Pearsall said. “The boys are going to get off the bus at 8 (p.m. at Wilton High), a little before that, and they’ve got to get back on the bus at 8 (a.m.) to go to West Hartford.”



WILTON                4 0 1 2—7
NEW CANAAN    2 3 2 1—8

Records: Wilton 10-9; New Canaan 14-5. Scoring: W—Dean DiNanno 3 goals, 2 assists, Reilly Sullivan 1g, 1a, Zach Rossi 2a, Ryan Schriber 1g, Liam Sullivan 1g, Josh White 1g, Andrew Luciano 1a; NC—Quintin O’Connell 2g, 2a, Drew Guida 2g, Liam Griffiths 2g, Teddy Manges 1g, 1a, Will Rechtermann 2a, Ryan Caione 1g. Goalies: W—Andrew Calabrese (9); NC—Carl Mazabras (15). Shots: W—41; NC—28.