WATERVILLE — The rivalry between the Gardiner and Maranacook/Winthrop boys lacrosse teams remains as hot as Saturday’s temperature.

For the second straight meeting, the Tigers pulled out an overtime win on the Hawks, this time winning the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B title with a 6-5 victory on the Black Field at Thomas College.

Gardiner (13-0) has a 3-0 series lead this season over Maranacook/Winthrop (10-3) and the two teams may meet again in the Eastern Class B playoffs.

“It’s getting more and more competitve every year,” Gardiner coach KC Johnson said. “We knew (Maranacook/Winthrop’s) players were really strong. Jesse (Evans) is really good, Zach Glazier is really good, (Dan) Condon is good in the crease. They have Toby (Smith) back for them. We knew we had to shut them down, so we threw different defensive packages at them.”

Johnson praised the Hawks on their tough play against the Tigers throughout the season.

“They have great players and they’re a wonderfully coached team,” said Johnson, who’s team won its fourth straight KVAC B title.

Sophomore midfielder Josh Caldwell scored the game-winner with 2 minutes, 51 seconds left in overtime. Close to 15 yards away from the goal, Caldwell jumped up and fired a shot past Maranacook/Winthrop goalie Zach Bessette to clinch the win.

“I just got a pass from up top, decided to take my guy, I had the short pole, I split to my right, rolled back left and I had the open look,” Caldwell said.

Maranacook/Winthrop appeared to win the game with five seconds left in regulation, but the goal was nullified because officials ruled Gardiner goalie JD Crocker was obstructed inside the crease by Maranacook/Winthrop players.

“I don’t know what section nine, thirty-two article b that might be from,” Hawks coach Zach Stewart said. “That’s a new call to me.”

The score was tied at 1-1 after the first quarter. Toby Smith opened the scoring the Hawks, before Gardiner’s Keegan Smith answered back with a goal of his own. The Tigers added two more goals before halftime, Smith’s second of the game off a pass from Tyler Jamison, as well as a goal by Dalton Sargent.

Logan Emery cut Gardiner’s lead to 3-2 with the first goal of the second half, but Gardiner’s Austin Moore scored less than a minute later to up the score to 4-2.

Maranacook/Winthrop scored two unanswered goals to start the fourth quarter, one by Toby Smith (his second of the game) and one by Denver Cram. Alex Nadeau gave Gardiner the lead again with a goal with five minutes remaining in regulation, but the Hawks answered back with a score from Zach Godbout to tie the game at 5-5.

Stewart was pleased with the effort of his team to battle back and tie the game.

“It’s extremely disappointing,” Stewart said. “I felt we played a great game, we had plenty of opportunities.”

Dave Dyer — 621-5639
[email protected]

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