AUGUSTA — Cony wasn’t worried about having to shake off rust even though its originally-scheduled season-opener with Winslow last Friday was postponed due to unplayable field conditions. Nor were the Rams worried that rival Gardiner, the foe for Thursday’s opener at Alumni Field, had a two-game head start on the season.

The Rams quickly had other things to worry about for their sun-splashed brunch date with the Tigers, mostly the fact that despite dominating the first six minutes of play, they soon found themselves staring at a 4-1 deficit.

Cony started capitalizing on its chances better in the second quarter and pulled away from Gardiner late in an 11-8 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B boys lacrosse game.

Tyler Sproul scored four times and Bret Sproul three times for the Rams. Cameron Gallant made 11 saves in net.

Sloan Berthiaume notched a hat trick for the Tigers (1-2) while Logan Clark added a pair of goals. Warren Karlberg and Noah Keene split time in net for Gardiner and combined for 12 saves.

Bret Sproul put the Rams in front to stay at 7-6 with 28 seconds left in the third quarter.

“Just being confident with our sticks is the biggest thing,” he said. “People were hesitant and they would try to do too much, but once we let the ball do the work, we were fine.”

Cony had the ball for nearly six minutes to start the game but had only Tyler Sproul’s first goal to show for it.

Berthiaume quickly shifted momentum in Gardiner’s favor for the first time with a steal that led to the tying goal from Clark 6:04 into the game.

The Tigers got a man up and took the lead on a Tristan Hebert goal. Tanner Hebert made it 3-1 Gardiner with 8.9 seconds left in the first period, then set up Mike Poirier’s goal that extended it to 4-1 with a nice pass across the front of the net to Poirier holding down the far post

“It’s kind of a funny game with that stuff. If you don’t score when you’re controlling things, you can get behind really quick,” Cony coach Chad Foye said. “We did a good job of controlling the ball when we had chances, but we didn’t always finish chances off. So we’ve got to work on finishing. (Gardiner’s) defense is pretty tough. They’ve got really good stick work.”

“We knew we were playing well. We just weren’t putting the shots in,” Bret Sproul said. “Once we started putting them in, everything just started flowing.”

Bret Sproul opened the spigot with his first goal, then Nate Foye cut the deficit to 4-3 with the first of four Cony goals with the man advantage.

Gardiner maintained the one-goal advantage at halftime before Bret Sproul and Testerman teamed up on back-to-back goals that gave the Rams their first lead since 1-0. For the second marker, Sproul fed a cutting Testerman from behind the net. Testerman spun off the defender and beat Keene with a high shot inside the right post to make it 6-5 with 7:54 left in the third quarter.

“I split the guy and Logan was just in the right spot at the right time and I hit him right to his stick,” Sproul said. “It was just perfect positioning by him and a great finish.”

“They’ve played together for three years now. And we’re getting better at communicating during the game, so that’s helped out a lot,” Foye said.

Berthiaume tied it for the final time at 6-6 with 2:52 left in the third.

Tyler Sproul set up Testerman in transition to give the Rams their first insurance goal that made it 8-6 with 10:44 left. The Tigers would pull back within one twice but Tyler Sproul’s final goal proved to be a double-whammy for Gardiner. Not only did it make it 10-8, but Gardiner was flagged for an illegal body check on Sproul as he released the shot. That left the Tigers a man short for all but 29 seconds of the final 2:29.

“We took a lot of penalties again,” Gardiner coach K.C. Johnson said. “It’s undisciplined play and a young, athletic team that wants to please me but they’re not executing correctly. It will come. This is our sixth or seventh time out on the field.”

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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