WATERVILLE — It has been a good week to be D.J. Nicholas.

After being named the North Atlantic Conference Player and Rookie of the Week earlier in the day Monday, Nicholas scored the game-winning goal with 1:07 remaining in double overtime to lift the Thomas College men’s soccer team to a 3-2 win over Colby College for the Elm City Cup in the evening at Seaverns Field at Harold Alfond Stadium.

The game-winner came with Nicholas and Adam LaBrie scrambling in the box for a loose ball amongst a group of Colby defenders. As one Mule tried to clear the ball Nicholas managed to get his chest in front of the ball within 10 yards of the goal and redirect it into the back of the net.

“It was a scrum. We saw the ball go in there (and) their goalkeeper came out and it slipped out of his hands. D.J. ended up getting the ball back, he put it in and we ended up having a couple of shots and deflections and then it bounced around,” Thomas coach Christopher Parsons said. “If you’re lucky, you’re in the right place at the right time.

“(Nicholas) works so hard. He puts himself in a great position to be able to finish and he has a great three-man midfield that’s working behind him. They’re providing some good balls for him.”

The Terriers bookended strong performances at the start and end of the game, but spent the better part of the evening trailing the Mules.

Willie Clemons put Thomas up early when he tapped a through ball from Nicholas past Colby goalkeeper Dan Carlson in the game’s sixth minute.

The lead would not last, however, as the Mules took control of the contest in a quick two-minute flurry beginning in the 29th minute.

Jansen Aoyama tied the game when he tucked a free kick inside the far post. Then in the 30th minute Kyle Douglas headed in a ball sent into the box by Lucas Pereira to give the Mule a 2-1 advantage.

“I was very impressed with how dynamic they were but I was also impressed with how we got back in the game with these two really quick goals,” Colby coach Ewan Seabrook said. “At the end of the day you have to find a way to close out games and grind out those results.”

Colby’s lead stood until late in the second half. Tre Ming sent a ball into the box from right to left on a fast break with Clemons making a run on the ball. Clemons beat a pair of Colby defenders and Carlson to the ball, redirecting it off his chest and into the net just before the Mules’ goalie could punch the ball away.

Each team had several chances in the closing minutes of regulation that proved fruitless. Aoyama had a promising strike on net with 8:45 to play that was saved by Thomas goalkeeper Jonathan Dutka, who entered in the 60th minute after starter Joakim Sternas left with an injury.

Moments later William Nilson missed just outside the right post on a shot for Thomas, while Yarmouth native Adam LaBrie had a shot on net with five minutes remaining that went directly into the Carlson’s chest before ricocheting away harmlessly.

Dutka was tested early in the first overtime period but was there for the save in the most promising chance of the first 10-minute extra session.

Both teams entered Monday evening’s contest having had some encouraging results thus far. After starting the season 1-2-0, Colby (2-1-4) bounced back with a big 2-1 win in double overtime against Williams.

“I’m certainly happy with how we’re progressing. We’re young so there’s a lot of learning and we also play probably the most difficult conference in the country,” Seabrook said. “The margins of error are paper thin. Finding ways to win, finding ways to close out games is critical in the (New England Small College Athletic Conference).”

Thomas (5-3-0), meanwhile, has been on a hot streak after dropping its first two games of the season against the University of Maine-Fort Kent and the University of Massachusetts-Boston. The Terriers lone loss in their past six games was 2-1 defeat in overtime against Bates on Sept. 19.

Thomas’ next game is Saturday at noon at New England College. It will have a quick turnaround with a game at Colby-Sawyer the following day, also at noon. Colby will travel to Middlebury for its next contest, an 11 a.m. start.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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