NORWALK — Ian Burgoyne had just achieved a laying-awake-in-bed fantasy moment, the kind that is the impetus, as he would later say, why you play sports.
It just took him a few seconds longer than everyone else at Brien McMahon on Tuesday afternoon to realize his accomplishment.
Burgoyne’s goal with 2:27 left in overtime lifted Darien High School to a dramatic 12-11 win over two-time defending champion New Canaan in the opening semifinal of the FCIAC Tournament.
It was the second time the Blue Wave (18-0) defeated their biggest rival in overtime this season, and propelled them to the conference championship for the first time since 2011 — their longest drought in 15 years.
“Actually I didn’t see it. I thought Nader got it,” said Burgoyne, referring to New Canaan goaltender Trent Nader. “I actually put my head down. I heard the crowd roar and I was like, ‘Thank the lord.’ ”
Burgoyne’s goal, in a game of long momentum streaks, was Darien’s fourth straight as the Rams (13-4) were held scoreless since Justin Meichner’s goal with 11 seconds left in the third quarter.
Darien coach Jeff Brameier let Burgoyne, a junior, make the call on the final play.
“I had a short-stick matchup,” Burgoyne said. “I feel pretty confident behind the net. I’ve played a lot there all season. Luckily Coach B went back to me. A few dodges and I finally stuck the shot.”
Darien’s Andrew Pugliese won the faceoff to start overtime and Brameier immediately called a timeout as his team lost possession.
“You get into OT and Pugs came with up with the faceoff and I was fortunate to call the timeout before we turned it over,” Brameier said. “That’s the difference in the game. You put the ball in Ian’s stick and you let him make the decision. He’s smart, he’s 6-3 and he’s very composed.”
Harry Gillespie and Colin Minicus scored twice each for Darien, which will face Greenwich in Friday’s final
In a wild opening quarter, Peter Lindley scored three of his four goals, including the first two of the game, as the Blue Wave led, 6-4.
The Blue Wave’s early three goal-lead would eventually become a three-goal deficit, as the New Canaan defense held them to just a pair of scores over a span of 19:25.
“We finally played some good defense, but all in all we should have dominated,” New Canaan coach Chip Buzzeo said. “We should have killed them and we didn’t.”
Meichner and Michael Kraus scored three goals apiece for New Canaan, while Harry Stanton and Teddy Bossidy each added a pair.
With New Canaan leading heading into the final quarter, 11-8, Lindley ended a scoreless spell of 11:29 with a spectacular goal between two defenders while in the air. Minicus narrowed the deficit to a goal off a feed from Will Hamernick, and Gillespie drilled the tying goal with 1:12 left in regulation.
“I think this team’s done a great job dealing with adversity this year,” Burgoyne said. “We’ve had a lot of great wins and we’ve had to fight off a lot of comebacks.”
The teams could meet a third time, in the state tournament.
“I’m extremely disappointed we didn’t win that game, and if we get a chance to play them again we’re going to beat them, I firmly believe that,” Buzzeo said. “If you lose to a team twice in overtime, if that doesn’t put a fire in your belly.”
Darien will now face Greenwich, which rallied and won in overtime against Ridgefield in Tuesday’s second game.
“These guys have worked hard and they’ve been on a mission, and they don’t want to be denied,” Brameier said.