WATERVILLE — It wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win, and the Messalonskee boys lacrosse team will take it.

The Eagles scored four unanswered goals in the final five minutes to beat Edward Little 12-10 in a Class A North quarterfinal game Wednesday at Thomas College.

No. 3 Messalonskee improved to 8-5 on the season and will play at No. 2 Lewiston on Saturday in the semifinals. The Red Eddies finished 7-6.

“We played pretty well in the first quarter,” Sheridan said. “Second and third quarters were not our sharpest work. We’ve got a younger team. We graduated a lot of seniors last year. New leaders had to step up…At least we’re there (for the semifinals). Sometimes you don’t always win pretty, but it’s better to win ugly than lose pretty.”

Tied 5-5 entering the second half, Edward Little notched three goals in the third quarter off the stick of Gannon Mancini. Messalonskee answered with goals by Colin Kinney and Connor Smith, and trailed Edward Little 8-7 at the start of the fourth and final stanza.

Alden Balboni tied the game for Messalonskee at the start of the fourth quarter, but the Eddies responded with scores from Cam Audet and Spencer Frahn to take a 10-8 lead.

“We were scared, to be honest,” Smith said. “We really knew we had to buckle down and come together as a team and really buckle down, offensively, defensively, keep them from shooting. As long as we slowed it down, we knew we could finish.”

But Edward Little made a grave error when goalkeeper Brandon Asselin was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct, forcing the team to switch to backup Dakota Bosquet. The Eagles immediately took advantage, scoring two goals within a minute, first from Balboni and then Kinney, to tie the game at 10-10.

With less than three minutes remaining, Smith found enough room to fire a shot past Asselin to give Messalonskee an 11-10 edge, before Kinney sealed the game with another score seconds later.

“I was looking at the top shelf area a couple of times, I had missed that top area a couple of times,” Smith said. “But I knew I had to bury it that time. It was do or die.”

Smith and Kinney led Messalonskee with three goals a piece, while Austin Pelletier added two goals.

Edward Little was led by Mancini, who scored four goals. Audet added three goals.

Dave Dyer — 621-5640

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Twitter: @Dave_Dyer