Flinging himself between a pair of New Canaan defenders, Joel Barlow attack Jack Shaban soared towards a crowded net with possession late in the third quarter. Now firing from a sharp angle, Shaban miraculously scored, cutting the Falcons' deficit to a manageable four.
His teammates, energized by this rare spark in an otherwise sluggish game, roared in approval.
Moments later, Shaban's inspirational goal would hardly matter. For as dangerous as the spark may be, it is never a match for real, enduring firepower.
The New Canaan boys lacrosse team blasted Joel Barlow 14-3 Tuesday, scoring seven unanswered goals after Shaban's effort to close the game. Michael Kraus and Robby Peal each notched hat tricks for the Rams, who won their fourth straight and improved to 10-3 overall. The Falcons (8-6) ultimately fell as a result of a tired defense, which surrendered 29 shots.
"Our offensive efficiency is extremely high this year," New Canaan coach Chip Buzzeo said. "When we have the ball, we've got an excellent chance of scoring, and I attribute that to a lot of good players we have not only on our attack but in our midfield."
Joel Barlow took the opening faceoff and maintained possession for the ensuing five minutes, as dictated by its slow-paced gameplan. However, the Falcons failed to produce a goal, while the Rams later tallied three scores over a 90-second span at the end of the first frame.
"We've been having a little bit of trouble putting the ball in the net all year," Barlow coach John Distler said. "Our defense has been doing well, but they can't play defense for the entire game."
Rams junior Teddy Dumbauld continued to claim the majority of faceoffs in the second quarter, which led to goals from both Kraus and Paul. An unassisted score from Falcon midfielder Spencer Tunick eventually gave way to a 5-1 halftime margin, which lasted less than three minutes into the third quarter.
"I thought Teddy did a great job and from there we did really well with our different offenses," said New Canaan attack Justin Meichner, who finished with three points.
At the outset of the second half, Kraus gained possession behind the net and wrapped a shot around the right post of the Barlow cage for his second goal of the game. Shaban and Connor Martin kept the Falcons within reach soon thereafter, but six different Rams went on to score and put the game away.
"Honestly, I think our guys were just getting tired," Distler said. "We don't have a lot of depth, and I think it caught up with us."
Rams senior attack Harry Stanton suffered a neck injury in the second quarter and was held out for the remainder of the game as a precaution. He is expected to play in New Canaan's final two regular season games against Don Bosco (N.J.) and Fairfield Prep.
New Canaan 14, Joel Barlow 3
JOEL BARLOW0 1 2 0--3
NEW CANAAN3 2 4 5--11
Records: Joel Barlow 8-6, 6-1 SWC, New Canaan 11-3, 9-2 FCIAC. Scoring: JB -- Jack Shaban 1 goal, 1 assist, Connor Martin 1g, Zach Pompea 1g;NC-- Michael Kraus 3 goals, Robby Paul 3g, Justin Meichner 2 g, 1 assist, Clayton Burt 2g, 1a, Owen Towland 2g, Teddy Dumbauld 1g, 1a, Harry Stanton 1g, Cole Turpin 1a, Max Begoon 1a, Ryan O'Connell 1a; Goalies: JB -- Thierry Jean (12 saves) NC--Trent Nader (4), Will Hooks (1). Shots: JB--15; NC--29. Highlights: JB -- The Falcons held possession over the game's first five minutes and back-up goalie Thierry Jean made a dozen saves. NC -- Seven different Rams scored, including Robby Paul and Michael Kraus, who each earned a hat trick. New Canaan recorded seven unanswered goals to close the contest.