STAMFORD — If there was one reason the New Canaan boys soccer team was in a position to win late in the second half against host Westhill it was because of goal keeper Sam Stoner.

Stoner and a bit of good luck.

The New Canaan keeper made 16 saves, several on point-blank hard shots, and was twice aided by balls ringing off the crossbar, keeping his team in a game Westhill was controlling.

Then, with 11:24 to play, New Canaan took advantage of its one true scoring chance with Andrew Gibbens finding himself alone in the box as he received a cross from Oliver Crookendon, finishing with a solid strike into the lower right corner.

That allowed the Rams (2-5-1) to get out of North Stamford with a hard-fought 1-0 victory.

“This was great for us because we have struggled this season and this is was against a good team,” Stoner said. “This was also out first shutout, except against Trinity, and we are trying to keep clean sheets. We kept them at 0-0 and we finally got that goal on the cross and that’s all we needed.”

Westhill (4-4-0) had a chance for the equalizer with under five minutes to play after being awarded a direct kick from the top of the box, but Stoner was able to get a piece of Max Mojica’s shot, which then deflected off the cross bar and was cleared by the New Canaan defense.

Westhill, which dominated the flow of play most of the game, was baffled walking off the pitch with no points to show for it.

“It is completely frustrating,” Westhill senior midfielder Charlie Teeters said. “We had the entire game in our hands and we controlled the ball the entire time and we had more than enough chances to win and we didn’t capitalize what so ever.”

Teeters had a couple great scoring chances, screaming a ball off the crossbar in the first half, and being denied by Stoner later in the game.

Westhill coach Joe Andrews said his team had nothing to hang their head about but sometimes the ball just does not go in.

“It is very frustrating but hats off to New Canaan. They kept in the game and didn’t give up and they could have easily because we had the momentum the whole game,” Andrews said. “They got one late and stole the game but good for them. We did everything we could. We hit the crossbar, we had a bunch of shots and their keeper was in the right place.”

The way the game was going, a draw would have been acceptable to New Canaan, but getting out with three points rather than one was more than they could have asked.

“They definitely controlled the game and they have some very good players on that team,” New Canaan coach Richard Sutherland said. “Our game plan worked the way we played it. We got a little bit lucky with the goal and maybe a tie was a fair result but we have had a few games where luck went against us and today we got a little bit of luck.”; @EricsonSports


NEW CANAAN 0 1 — 1

WESTHILL 0 0 — 0

Records: NC — 2-5-1; W — 4-4-0

Goals: NC — Andrew Gibbens

Assists: NC — Oliver Crookendon

Goalies: NC — Sam Stoner 16 saves; W — Adrian Chung Wilks 3 saves, Jeffrey Garcia 2 saves