PITTSFIELD — Maranacook coach Mike Morin tweaked the Black Bears’ offense prior to the season in hopes of creating a scoring mindset.

The changes, which included some personnel juggling and a two-striker front, didn’t pay immediate dividends on the scoreboard. The Black Bears managed just two goals through their first three games, which, thanks to their trademark stout defense, still resulted in two wins and a tie. But Morin saw signs that the Black Bears were ready to start breaking out.

Against their scrappy, young, and also unbeaten Maine Central Institute hosts on Tuesday, Maranacook started seeing the results where it counts in a 3-1 win.

Jana Elwell scored twice and Catherine Sanborn added a goal and two assists for Maranacook (3-0-1).

“We’d like to be more offensive but I think we’re moving towards that,” Morin said. “They’ve always been very defensive, so it’s tough to make that switch. We’re running two strikers, so they’re getting more opportunities. We’ve had some games where we just haven’t been able to find the net but probably get our fair share of shots.”

The Black Bears controlled the tempo for most of the game. MCI had a few promising flourishes, including an impressive rush by Sidney Morton near the end of the first half that resulted in its only goal. But the Huskies (3-1) couldn’t sustain the pressure against a hustling Maranacook defense.

“They were just clicking as a group today,” Morin said. “They play hard always. Natalie Wicks really controlled the defense for us, not only the defense but the midfield as well.”

“We were a little off,” MCI coach Carl Jones said. “They were better going to the ball than we were. My goalie (Gabbi Pyles) was a little slow. She got kicked in the ribs and banged her head on the goal post the last game (a 2-1 win over Winslow on Friday). She’s been out a few days and just got cleared to play before the game.”

Sanborn set up Elwell’s first goal 25 minutes in with a cross to the left corner that could have easily been played by fellow Black Bear Lillie McLaughlin. But McLaughlin let it go through to Elwell, who found the left corner for a 1-0 lead.

“I was just looking for the open player and Jana was there,” Sanborn said. “I’m glad Lillie let it go past for Jana to get the goal.”

“After it went past everybody I was right there to knock it in,” Elwell said.

Elwell’s boot from the 18 yard line off another feed from Sanborn 3:05 later made it 2-0.

Morton cut the deficit in half by speeding down the left sideline on the dribble, cutting inside the box and popping the ball in over Maranacook keeper Liz D’Angelis and just under the crossbar near the right corner.

Whatever momentum the Huskies had going into the break dissipated quickly in the second half as the Black Bears turned up the pressure. McLaughlin’s bid in the first minute hit high on the left post, and Pyles made a terrific diving save to her right to stop Lindsey Perkins’ redirect.

Perkins got her revenge minutes later, setting up Maranacook’s insurance goal with a corner kick that Sanborn poked through with 16:07 remaining.

“It went past the goalie and I was there, like, right on the line, so I was lucky,” Sanborn said.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

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Twitter: @RAWmaterial33