New Canaan pulls away from Norwalk, gets first win
Updated 5:43 pm, Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Sure, maybe Bears hibernate, but it was the Rams who broke out of an early "sleep" and turned things around to pull away for a 10-5 win in a boys' lacrosse clash at New Canaan High School on Saturday.
Deadlocked in a 2-2 tie with the visiting Norwalk High Bears after one quarter of play, the Rams scored two goals just 14 seconds apart early in the second and never looked back, earning their first win of the young campaign in the process.
"I think we came out a little bit slow -- then our intensity started to pick up," said New Canaan's Joe Costigan, whose Rams were coming off tough losses to Somers, N.Y. and Greenwich to begin the spring season.
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Eight Rams scored goals, led by John Brainard and Scott O'Brien, each of whom netted two. Willie Gould, Mike Bossidy, Duke Repko, Jake Miller, Puck Richardson and Tim Fox also scored in the win. New Canaan goaltender Jimmy Joe Granito made 10 saves and his counterpart, Ricky Squires, made nine stops for the visitors.
"I think our defense played great today -- a lot of communication off ball," Costigan said. "We came off two close losses so it was great to get a win under the belt."
"We knew Norwalk was going to be athletic, which they were," New Canaan coach Alex Whitten said. "We knew they were going to have some speed -- some quickness."
The Rams countered the Bears' quickness with a nice effort in clearing the ball and moving in transition.
"Our defense cleared the ball well today, which we challenged them to do," said Whitten, adding that the team had some clearing attempt struggles in the first two games. The coach added that Granito, Gould, and John Rhudy were among the players who moved the ball well from the defensive end forward.
Brainard broke the 2-2 tie with 8:11 to play in the second quarter when he jumped in the air and whipped home a long shot from straight on. Off the ensuing faceoff, Repko gathered control of the ball and raced in and put home another shot for a 4-2 advantage with 7:57 to play. Miller made it 5-2 with 6:48 to play before halftime. Granito made some big saves to maintain the three-goal lead during the next few minutes. Norwalk trimmed the lead back to a pair with three minutes to play, but Fox scored 46 seconds later when he swatted a rolling ball into the net for a 6-3 cushion.
The Rams extended the lead to 8-3 before the end of the third and were ahead 10-3 in the fourth before the Bears scored added a couple of late-game tallies.
"We got the `W' which was important. There's always room for improvement so we're going to work on some things," Whitten said.
The coach added that he wants to see his team get off to a fast start and keep the pressure on throughout the entire game. Whitten said that his team had early-game leads in its first two losses and that the halftime talk on Saturday -- with the Rams ahead by three goals -- was about the importance of their being no let-up in the second half.
"Up 6-3 at halftime, we said we need to just keep going hard," he said.
The Rams, who lost 17 players to graduation last year, are a fairly young team, making this win fairly important from a confidence standpoint, Granito noted.
"Coming in 0-2 we just wanted to get a win under our belt," Granito said. "It's a big confidence booster. I think we needed it as a young team."