NORWALK — The grand stage Tuesday night was the FCIAC Boys Lacrosse playoff semifinals at Brien McMahon High School.

No. 2 Ridgefield High and No. 3 New Canaan embraced the moment and provided great heart and drama to the appreciative crowd.

Neither side could complain as New Canaan rallied for a 10-7 triumph over the Tigers.

“Our confidence has been high all year. We wanted to get to the FCIAC final,” New Canaan coach Chip Buzzeo said. “We’re looking forward whomever the opponent is. We are ready to compete for a title.”

New Canaan (15-3) will face their suburban rival and No. 1 Darien on Thursday at 7 p.m. back at McMahon’s Jack Casagrande Field. Darien eliminated No. 4 Staples, 14-4 in Tuesday’s late semifinal.

It will be the sixth time New Canaan and Darien have met for the FCIAC Boys Lacrosse crown. Darien has won four times (the last being in 2005 and 2006) while New Canaan has emerged victorious twice (last time in 2003).

With a finals berth on the line, New Canaan played sharper and with more urgency than the Rams showed in last week’s 7-3 regular-season home loss to Ridgefield.

“We were very confident in our game plan. We switched up everything,” Buzzeo said. “We looked at everything we do in a different way. We changed a bit in all phases of the game.”

Still Ridgefield was able to jump out to leads of 3-0 late in the first quarter and 4-1 in the opening minute of the second period.

“We just maintained our confidence. We focused on getting good shots closer to the net,” said New Canaan senior attackman Clayton Burt. “Mentally we were not going to lose to Ridgefield again. There was no way we were going to lose to them twice.”

New Canaan’s Jack Hoelzer scored on a power play and Burt tallied 28 second after another Ridgefield penalty — both off assists by Ryan O’Connell — to make it 4-3 with 6:48 left in the second quarter.

O’Connell then scored twice and New Canaan suddenly lead 5-4 at halftime.

The Rams then led the rest of the way, although Ridgefield twice pulled to within one goal.

New Canaan’s defense proved stout while junior goalie Drew Morris registered seven of his 13 saves in the fourth quarter.

“The defense is the heart of our team,” Burt said.

“Our defense played great,” NC’s Morris said. “Once our offense settled down and started rolling, our job was to get them the ball.”

New Canaan was also able to keep ball possession thanks to the work of sophomore Nicholas Crovatto, who won the majority of faceoffs.

“Our faceoff wins were probably around 80 percent,” Buzzeo said. “We were able to overcome the loss of Mike Cognetta (sat out due to injury) because so many guys stepped up. I’m so happy for the kids.”

For Ridgefield (14-4), Schuyler Blair had three goals, Peter Dearth and Drew Fowler each tallied twice while Kristofer Klemm registered six saves.

“New Canaan played great. They played better than us in some facets of the game,” Ridgefield coach Roy Colsey said. “We got a lot of good shots. New Canaan goalie (Drew) Morris was superb as was New Canaan on faceoffs.

“I’m not disappointed in the outcome. We just didn’t win enough facets of the game. All of New Canaan’s extra possessions wore us down,” Colsey continued. “We tried to shoot high on Morris and he stopped them. We tried to shoot low on Morris and he stopped them. There was no place for us to shoot. Morris was the difference.”

There is a good chance that Ridgefield and New Canaan may battle yet again in the upcoming state tournament.

“You hate to lose. But the FCIAC is such a challenging league. It hurts to lose but it’s great to know we battled for a full 48 minutes. New Canaan simply beat us,” Colsey said. “My message to the kids was you try and you prepare so hard. But that doesn’t mean you will succeed. I’m so proud of the effort tonight. And we will bounce back in the states.”

rich.depreta@scni.com

NEW CANAAN 10,

RIDGEFIELD 7

RIDGEFIELD 3 1 2 1 — 7

NEW CANAAN 1 4 3 2 — 10

Records: Ridgefield 14-4; New Canaan 15-3.

Scoring: R — Schuyler Blair 3 goals; Peter Dearth 2g, 1 assist; Drew Fowler 2g; Greg Gatto 2a. NC — Ryan O’Connell 2g, 2a; Jack Hoelzer 2g; Kyle Smith 2g, 1a; Clayton Burt 2g, 1a; Jackson Appelt 1g, 1a; Peter Swindell 2a; James Franzis 1g. Goalies: R — Kristofer Klemm (6 saves). NC — Drew Morris (13 saves).