Tigers get past Wilton boys lax team, 8-6

Ridgefield scored twice in the final quarter and held Wilton scoreless over the same period to earn an 8-6 win in Tuesday night's game between the boys lacrosse rivals at Fujitani Field.

It was a see-saw battle all game long, with the score tied 4-4 at halftime and again at 6-6 at the end of the third quarter. After the opening quarter, neither team would lead by more than one goal until the final minute of play.

The Warriors (4-4) scored first with 6:26 to play in the first quarter when Harrison Koch found Michael Lynch for the man-advantage goal. Wilton took a 2-0 lead with 4:11 left in the first period on a goal by Brian Calabrese. Calabrese scored on the rebound off a Wilton shot on net.

The Tigers got on the board with a man-advantage goal of their own with 2:13 left in the first to cut the Wilton lead to 2-1. Wilton took a foolish penalty near midfield to set up the visitor's goal

Ridgefield (6-2) won the opening face-off of the second quarter and Schuyler Blair sent a close-range shot into the back of the Wilton net just 23 seconds into the period. The Tigers then took their first lead of the game when Blair tallied his second goal of the period with 9:40 remaining.

Wilton answered just 44 seconds later on a goal from Koch tie the game at 3-3. But that score lasted only 43 seconds as Ryan Dunn scored to put Ridgefield back ahead, 4-3.

Ryan Sullivan then scored for Wilton with 2:59 to play in the first half to knot the score at 4-4. Sullivan saw that the Ridgefield goalie had come out to play the ball, leaving the net open for Sullivan to score.

Captain Christan Hansson gave the Warriors a 5-4 lead with 7:40 to play in the third, as the back-and-forth battle continued. Dunn scored his second goal for the Tigers to once again tie the score at 5-5 with 6:03 to play in the period.

Wilton went back on top, 6-5, with 4:31 to play in the third, as Charles McGovern scored with an assist from Lynch. But with 3:22 left in the third quarter, Peter Dearth scored his second goal of the game for the Tigers to tie the score at 6-6.

Dearth picked up the hat trick with his third goal of the game with 9:41 to play, giving Ridgefield the lead for good.

Up until the fourth quarter Wilton was ahead in the ball-possession category, but that changed in the final period, as the Tigers had several long possessions to minimize the Warriors' chances to score.

Ridgefield had a golden opportunity to grow its lead in the fourth quarter. Wilton goalie Jameson Hill got caught out of place trying to carry the ball up the field, but Dunn missed the open Warrior net.

After a Ridgefield timeout with less than 1:30 to play, Wilton double-teamed the ball carrier and moved Hill out of the goal and into the field as a defender. But the strategy didn’t pay off for the Warriors as Ridgefield's Simon Mathias got an unassisted goal with 1:05 left to end the scoring.

"You play to win," said Wilton head coach John Wiseman. “Tonight’s game was a dog fight. We missed on some key possessions on offense and could have done a better job in clearing the ball. We’ve played some good games against tough teams and come up a little short."

The Warriors had a chance to score with under a minute to play, as the Tigers got called for a 30-second penalty. But the Warriors couldn’t maintain possession and Ridgefield closed out the game.

"John (Wiseman) does a great job in preparing us for the game,” said Hansson. “Ridgefield played strong on defense and forced us to take shots from poor angles. Sometimes those shots find their way into the net when we play weaker teams, but that’s not the case with Ridgefield. Ridgefield is a good team, but we proved tonight that our other close losses were no flukes and that we can hang with the big dogs."

Hill was back in goal for the Warriors after being sidelined with an injury and came up with several close-range saves to keep his team in the game. Wilton’s face-off man, RJ Romeo, was 11 for 18 on draws.