GREENWICH — One of the few voids on Luke Finneran’s resume was never having beaten New Canaan in either of the two sports he played.
It remains to be seen whether Thursday was his last chance or not, but Finneran wasn’t taking any chances.
In an impressive display, the Greenwich attacker assisted on four successive goals in a span of 10:32 in the first half.
The Cardinals would add one more during a 5-0 run that opened up a 6-2 halftime lead and carried them to an 11-8 home win, avenging a defeat to New Canaan in last year’s FCIAC championship game.
“I’ve lost to them every time in lacrosse and hockey so this is a great win,” Finneran said. “I feel happy for our team.”
Finneran assisted on two of Decker Curran’s three goals and scored twice himself on feeds from Curran as the two players showed great chemistry. Finneran said it was different from a year ago, when he was cast more as a finisher than playmaker.
“We’re good friends so it worked out well,” Finneran said. “I don’t think they thought I could dodge so they kept giving me a short (stick) in. Credit my teammates. Every time I dodged I got it to them and they did a great job of scoring.”
New Canaan (7-2, 6-1 FCIAC) lost for the first time in league play. It took early leads on goals by Michael Kraus before Bobby Goggin tied the game at 2-2 on the first of Finneran’s assist spree.
James Tooher opened the second quarter with a goal from in close from Finneran and the Cardinals never trailed again.
“They were putting short sticks on our attacks and we practiced against that,” Greenwich coach Scott Bulkley said. “Luke Finneran played out of his mind today. I’m not sure if he’ll get a short stick again.”
Bulkley said Finneran’s performance came as no surprise.
“He’s a very smart player,” Bulkley said. “He’s very unselfish.”
Finneran said he had no preference if he has more marks in the goals or assists column as long as the Cardinals (9-1, 7-0) got the desired result.
“My job on the team last year was finishing so it’s good to have the opposite role,” Finneran said. “As long as we get the victory.”
Kyle Foote scored the final two goals for Greenwich as New Canaan rallied late and got within 10-8 on the second of Harry Stanton’s two goals.
Stanton’s scores were among the prettiest of the game, but Bulkely was pleased by the containment provided by defender Jack Nail.
“He did a great job on Harry Stanton,” Bulkley said. “We put him on every team’s best attacker and he always does a good job.”
Kraus finished with three goals and two assists and Cole Turpin added two goals for the Rams. But coach Chip Buzzeo was displeased and surprised by his team’s uncharacteristic sloppy play.
“This was the worst we’ve played in two years,” Buzzeo said. “We are a much better team than that. We turned over the ball. Mental errors and overthrowing guys. Making poor passes. That’s stuff we usually don’t do. We flat-out stunk today and you can’t play like that against a great team like Greenwich.”
Thursday’s game served as the first half of a difficult late-week doubleheader for both teams.
Greenwich has a big non-league game against national power Chaminade out of Long Island on Saturday. The Rams must bounce back against their biggest rival, Darien, along with Greenwich and Brien McMahon the only remaining unbeaten teams in conference play.
“This is a playoff atmosphere,” Buzzeo said. “This is what we are going to have to do in the playoffs. It’s great experience for us.”
GREENWICH 11, NEW CANAAN 8
New Canaan 2 0 2 4—8
Greenwich 2 4 2 3—11
NC— Michael Kraus 3g, 2a; Harry Stanton 2g; Cole Turpin 2g; Justin Meichner 1g, 2a; Max Begoon 1a.
G—Decker Curran 3g, 2a; Luke Finneran 2g, 4a; Kyle Foote 2g; Bobby Goggin 1g; James Tooher 1g; Scott Harrington 1g; Will Perry 1g.
NC—Trent Nader, 9 saves
G—Tom Rogan, 13 saves