After New Canaan coasted to a 14-5 boys lacrosse victory Saturday over St. Joseph, last season's Class S runner-up, one could only ponder just how good St. Anthony's of New Jersey team must be.
For the record, St. Anthony's handed New Canaan its only loss of the season, 10-5, on April 12.
Now while Rams coach Chip Buzzeo isn't sure about St. Anthony's, he has a pretty good idea about his own club in 2014:
"We are a team," he said, "that can compete for a championship."
The two-time defending FCIAC champions have outscored the seven opponents aside from St. Anthony's 103-32, and that includes wins over Wilton and Ridgewood, N.J. The Rams (7-1, 6-0 FCIAC) were especially impressive during Saturday's victory.
"We had balance on offense, were strong with our between the lines play and on face-offs, and our movement up field was great," Buzzeo said. "I'm very happy."
Senior Harry Stanton put on an offensive show, scoring four goals, a couple of which should make the Rams' season highlight reel, and assisting on three others. Fellow attackers Michael Kraus and Justin Meichner, both juniors, each added three goals and two assists as the Rams won their sixth in a row.
"Stanton is a tremendous player, and their attack is one of the top units in the state," St. Joseph coach Joe Izzo said.
Stanton, one of the top ice hockey players in the state, scored three goals in the game's first 16 minutes as the Rams built a 7-0 lead.
"Believe it or not, Stanton is a better lacrosse player than hockey," Buzzeo said. "The group has played together for a long time, so they always know where to go. Those three are special."
New Canaan had a 10-2 halftime lead before the Cadets (4-2, 2-2) regained their footing. St. Joseph then played the Rams basically even in the second half as Jeff Marcantonio had two goals.
"We had a slow start and got in a hole early and you can't do that against a good team," Izzo said. "But I'm happy with our second-half effort."
"We didn't ease up at all in the second half," Buzzeo added. "Give St. Joseph credit. They played well in the second half. They're a tough, athletic, well-coached team. But in the first half, we did show a lot."
What the Rams showed is that, just like the last two years, the road to the FCIAC championship goes through New Canaan. Besides the talented trio of attackers, the Rams were strong on defense while freshman face-off specialist Ryan O'Connell and goalie Trent Nader (five saves) also played well.
Besides Marcantonio's two goals, Ryan Corcoran had one goal and two assists. Josiah Wilson had one goal and one assist and Travis Yoguez had a goal. Cadets goalie Mike Braddick stopped 13 of 27 shots.
New Canaan 14, St. Joseph 5
NEW CANAAN5 5 2 2--14
ST. JOSEPH0 2 2 1--5
Records: New Canaan 7-1 (6-0 FCIAC); St. Joseph 4-2 (2-2).
Goals: NC--Harry Stanton 4, Michael Kraus 3, Justin Meichner 3, Robby Paul 2, Kyle Smith, Owen Toland; SJ--Jeff Marcantonio 2, Ryan Corcoran, Josiah Wilson, Travis Yoguez. Assists: NC--Stanton 3, Kraus 2, Meichner 2. SJ--Corcoran 2, Wilson. Goalie saves: NC--Trent Nader 5; SJ--Mike Braddick 13.