WATERVILLE — It’s a tradition Messalonskee High School boys lacrosse coach Tom Sheridan would like to see end, opening the season with a loss to Lewiston. On Wednesday night at Thomas College, it happened again. The Blue Devils scored six unanswered goals in the fourth quarter, turning a tie game into a comfortable 13-7 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A win, in the season-opening game for both teams.
“There’s a lot of season left. This is the third year in a row we’ve lost our opening season to Lewiston. We’re not going to keep our heads down. We’ll keep working hard,” Sheridan said.
Lewiston broke the tie and took the lead for good on Alex Rivet’s goal with 8:39 left in the game. A junior, Rivet scored three goals and assisted on three others.
“We knew we had to rally back. We were a little rusty coming into this game. I think our teamwork and knowing the plays, that took over,” Rivet said. “This was a big win. I’ve played here three years, and I’ve never won here (at Messalonskee).”
Ahead 8-7, the Blue Devils called timeout with 6:47 left in the game. The messages from the coaches in the timeout was clear, Rivet said. Slow down.
“When they were scoring goals, we were forcing plays. The biggest thing with us is slowing down the ball. Let our plays do the work. Let our passes do the work. A ball passed can outrun a player. That’s the mentality we had after the timeout,” Rivet said.
Rivet’s second goal of the fourth quarter came nine seconds after the timeout, on a pass from Jayden Wilson. Ten seconds later, Lewiston struck again, this time when Garrett Poussard scored an unassisted goal to push the Blue Devils lead to 10-7.
“I think they were doing a great job on faceoffs in the fourth quarter, and I think we got tired,” Sheridan said.
Lewiston’s defense tightened in the fourth quarter, preventing the Eagles from sustaining any significant pressure.
“We work so hard on defense. That’s the biggest thing about us. We have a lot of grinders out there,” Rivet said.
For three quarters, Messalonskee played catchup. The Eagles spotted Lewiston a 5-2 second quarter lead, before goals by Colin Kinney and Alden Balboni cut the deficit to 5-4 at the half. Austin Pelletier’s goal with 6:47 left in the third tied the game at 5-5, but Lewiston scored twice to push the lead back to two goals, 7-5, with just under four minutes to play in the third. The Eagles answered quickly, with a pair of goals six seconds apart. Dana Michaud scored with 2:09 left in the third, and Pelletier knotted the game six seconds later, driving straight from the faceoff to the net for the equalizer.
“For three quarters, we were right in it. We didn’t play our sharpest game, and we have a lot of new people in new roles,” Sheridan said. “I think it’s to be expected. We’ll make some strides. I think we can build on some stuff.”
Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242