AUGUSTA — Given a two-minute man advantage with under four minutes remaining in a tie game, Oak Hill was in prime position to steal its Class B North boys lacrosse regional quarterfinal on Wednesday. Brimming with confidence in just such a situation, the Raiders didn’t miss out on the opportunity.

Senior Steven Gilbert scored a pair of man-up goals 51 seconds apart, snapping the deadlock and lifting No. 5 Oak Hill to a 9-7 win over No. 4 Cony at Alumni Field. The Raiders (8-5) will meet top-seeded and unbeaten Gardiner in the regional semifinals at 4 p.m., Friday.

Wild momentum swings marked the contest, with the game tied on three different occasions in the second half. Oak Hill finally seemed to have wrestled control of the contest away from the Rams when Darryn Bailey struck with 8:43 remaining to knot the score at 7-7.

Just over five minutes later, Cony junior Nick Robinson was flagged for an illegal body check along the sidelines at midfield when he leveled Oak Hill freshman Liam Rodrigue, setting up the decisive two-minute man advantage for the Raiders.

Gilbert scored just 23 seconds later to make it 8-7 and added insurance with 2:41 to play to cap off his hat trick.

“We’ve had a few lapses, nothing crazy, but I’d say we’re about 50-50 on man-up this year,” Gilbert said. “As long as we get the ball moving and really do what we’re supposed to do, it’s there.”

Cony coach Chad Foye said his team had been pretty good all year at playing a man down, but the Rams were bitten by a lack of coverage when their season relied on it most.

“They’ve got a really quick transition,” Foye said. “They got people open and took quick shots and got them by our goalie. We didn’t slide quick enough, we didn’t move quick enough and we didn’t react quick enough. They took advantage of that.”

On each of the late goals, the Raiders found Gilbert at the top of the box from where he could attack.

“We just want to stretch out the defense, that’s about it,” Gilbert said of what the Raiders tried to do with the man advantage. “Other than that, it’s a little classified. We’ve got another game this week, so we’ll keep that on the down low.”

Cony (8-5) had a final chance to try and force overtime with a one-minute man-advantage of its own with less than two minutes remaining in regulation, but the Rams’ leading scorer Chad Bickford (four goals) just missed the top corner from close range and Raider defender Bailey Drouin came up with a big clear in the final minute.

Oak Hill freshman goalie Nate Marcotte was strong throughout, making 14 saves.

“I thought their goalie played a really strong game,” Foye said.

Marcotte was particularly outstanding in the first half, making nine saves in the second quarter alone as Cony fought back from a 4-0 deficit after one period. Gilbert, Bailey and Marcus Bailey (two goals) all scored in the first quarter for Oak Hill.

“I was just doing everything I can to get stops. It turned out good in the end,” Marcotte said. “You’ve just got to watch the ball. That’s all I do, and I throw my whole body at it. Today I got lucky — that’s all it is, really.”

The Rams stormed out of the gates in the second half, scoring three goals in the first three minutes of the third quarter to tie the game at 5-5. Bickford, Zach Whitney and Sam McCray all scored, with Whitney finishing off a nifty underhanded shot after cutting in from the right side.

Bickford’s second goal of the period sent Cony into the fourth quarter with a 6-5 lead.

“It happened to us in our game before (against Morse, a 15-6 loss),” Oak Hill coach Joe Hinkley said. “We really didn’t like that loss to end the season. It really stuck in their heads, and they didn’t want to lose again in that situation. A couple of kids on the sidelines really pulled it together and got the team back up again.”

The teams then traded goals in the early going of the final frame. When Cony scored to take its final lead at 7-6, it took just 33 seconds for Darryn Bailey to tie it back up.

“We just preached every single day, ‘One more game.’ That’s all we’ve been preaching for this past week,” Gilbert said. “One more game, one more play. We had to keep it going.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

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Twitter: @TBarrettGWC