WINSLOW — With 1 minute, 14 seconds separating his team from a rare overtime and perhaps an even more rare loss or tie, Maranacook senior Kent Mohlar weighed his options on his second direct kick of the game. The mind game with Winslow sophomore goalkeeper Jake LaPierre had to come first.

“I beat him on the left side the first time,” Mohlar said. “I saw him looking at it again.”

Nevertheless, Mohlar boomed the kick to the upper left corner to give the Black Bears a 2-1 victory over Winslow at Kennebec Savings Bank Field on Thursday.

“It’s about time he showed up a little bit, right?” Maranacook coach Don Beckwith joked about his midfielder, who was the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B North Division player of the year in 2013. “He’s one of the premier players. I’m glad I have him.”

It was Mohlar’s second direct kick goal of the game. The first tied the score with 9:52 left in the first half. Both goals came on foul calls that were hotly disputed by the Black Raiders.

“They’re definitely the favorites coming into the season. They still are,” Winslow coach Aaron Wolfe said of Maranacook. “We played a great game. I’m really pleased with how my boys came out and competed. Nothing we can do. Two calls don’t go our way and they get two goals out of it. Other than that, shots, possession, it was pretty even, I thought.”

Maranacook held a 10-8 edge in shots, although both teams had several quality chances that didn’t go on net.

With temperatures in the mid-80s at game time, both teams substituted liberally. Maranacook (4-0-0), which hasn’t been tied since 2013 and hasn’t lost since the 2012 Western Class B semifinals, hoped to wear down Winslow (3-1-1). But the Black Raiders rushed the Black Bears for much of the game with their speed and pressure.

“We tried to pressure their defenders and tried to keep them unable to pass as much as they like to in the back and just have them keep clearing it out, keep clearing it out,” Wolfe said. “That kind of makes it all over the place and that was by design. It worked for the most part.”

“They put more pressure on us than we’ve seen this year,” Mohlar said. “We needed to slow it up, move the ball a little better and play our game. I think we found (our) feet better. I think we relaxed a little more (in the second half).”

Jake Houghton put Winslow (3-1-1) on the board first with 13:03 left in the first half. Spencer Miranda assisted on the counter-attack, setting up Houghton to beat Maranacook keeper Justin Freeman (seven saves) to the lower right corner.

“It was a nice play,” Wolfe said. “I thought we could have done a little more of that when we had possession, moving up with quick counter attacks. We got away from that in the second half, and I think some of that was because we were a little bit tired.”

“We’re pretty good defensively, and quite frankly, that’s what we’ve always been,” Beckwith said.

Maranaook also did a good job of keeping a close eye on speedy senior striker Jimmy Fowler, with senior back Jason Brooks doing the majority of the marking. Fowler did have one good chance a little over 16 minutes into the second half, collecting a nice pass from midfield by Cody Doughty about 20 yards in front of the net, but his bid went wide to the right.

LaPierre had eight saves for Winslow, including one on Mohlar and one on Sam Wilkinson in a two-minute span to preserve the tie.

“We were hurrying everything. I don’t know why our pants were in a panic,” Beckwith said. “It’s a good process for us. I don’t think we played a very good game overall, but that might have been more to their credit. They had a very good game plan. They stuffed the middle and we weren’t patient enough outside. That helps us though, because a lot of teams are going to do that to us.”

“It’s always good to have these guys on the schedule. We respect them a lot and it’s a good game for us,” Mohlar said.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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