NEW CANAAN — There is no easing into the FCIAC boys lacrosse schedule.

As one of the premier conference in the country, it’s either be at your best, or lose.

Wilton, in its second game, and New Canaan, its first, were both at their best Wednesday, and it made for an early-season matchup that more resembled a postseason clash.

Graham Braden scored with 11 seconds left and New Canaan came out of its opener with a 9-8 home victory over the Warriors.

Both coaches said after the game it was apparent whoever had the last possession would score and win. Luckily for the Rams, faceoff specialist Nick Crovatto saved his best work for the second-half, and more importantly, the final minute.

After Wilton’s Liam Rance tied the game at eight with 42 seconds left, it was up to Crovatto to give his team one-last possession in regulation.

“Stay calm,” Crovatto said of his thoughts in those pivotal last moments. “That’s what my coaching staff was telling me, just focus in, and I was lucky to get the wins on those.”

After Crovatto won the faceoff, the Rams offense went to work and Quintin O’Connell hit Braden, who went streaking inside to score the game-winner.

With 11 seconds left, it was again Braden winning the faceoff, this time scrambling around the offensive zone until the scoreboard flashed zeroes.

“Graham Braden got the goal,” New Canaan coach Chip Buzzeo said. “But Nick Crovatto won us that game.”

Early on it was Wilton earning the possessions, and the Warriors jumped out to a 2-0 lead behind Kieran McGovern (four goals) and Brian Calabrese (one goal, three assists).

The Rams responded, largely behind the O’Connell brothers — Quintin and Ryan. Quintin, a junior, notched a hat trick and an assist while Ryan, senior, chipped in a goal and two helpers.

Each of the first three quarters ended with the score tied — at three after the first, four at halftime and seven at the end of the third — with neither team conceding anything.

“It was a dogfight all the way,” Wilton coach John Wiseman said. “The kids played hard, both teams were fighting it out for 48 minutes.”

After Wilton opened the season with a 16-6 victory over Trumbull on Tuesday, Wiseman said his team is making a statement. The Warriors here to compete with the big boys and get the recognition he feels they’ve earned throughout the years.

“We’ve been playing these guys to one-goal games, and even Darien to one-goal games,” Wiseman said. “We’re all there; the FCIAC is very competitive.”

Wilton’s McGovern scored with half a minute remaining in the first-half to tie the game heading into the break. McGovern again converted in the third with just over a minute left to again tie the game, and Rance’s goal knotted it up with just seconds left in the fourth.

In Buzzeo’s view, what enabled his team to bounce back again and again was its experience.

“We have a lot of seniors, and a lot of seniors that have played a lot of lacrosse,” Buzzeo said. “Our whole team has played a lot of lacrosse so we never panicked.”

aparelli@bcnnew.com @reportedbytheAP

NEW CANAAN 9, WILTON 8

WILTON 3 1 3 1—8

NEW CANAAN 3 1 3 2—9

Records: Wilton 1-1; New Canaan 1-0. Scoring: W—Kieran McGovern 4 goals, Connor Drake 1g, Brian Calabrese 1g 3 assists, Liam Rance 2g; NC—Matthew Bisceglia 1g, Quintin O’Connell 3g 1a, Ryan O’Connell 1g 2a, Jack Hoelzer 2g, Graham Braden 1g, Jackson Braden 1g. Goalies: W—Andrew Calabrese (8 saves); NC—Drew Morris (9). Shots: W—37; NC—46.