WATERVILLE — After experiencing a number of false starts, Winslow boys lacrosse finally opened its regular season against Maranacook/Winthrop at Thomas College’s Smith Field on Saturday.

The offense on both sides would have accepted a chance to start over after sloppy play marred the matchup of the 2015 KVAC Class B playoff participants. Maranacook/Winthrop’s superior size and defense ultimately won out, 8-5.

Bailey Stockford and Kyle Morand each notched a hat trick for the unbeaten Hawks (3-0). Jimmy Fowler led the Black Raiders with a hat trick.

“We just needed to work the ball around, spin it more often and look for the better cuts,” Stockford said. “In preseason, we were working the ball around good on offense but something’s just not right now.”

“(Calling the game) not pretty is being gentle with us,” Maranacook/Winthrop coach Zach Stewart said.

The Hawks, who never trailed, played a little more than half of the fourth period a man down but allowed just one goal, which was at even strength.

That included killing off a three-minute illegal stick penalty to start the quarter and protecting a 4-3 lead. The Black Raiders were only able to muster moderate pressure. Nineteen seconds after getting back to even strength, Morand set up Stockford for a deflating insurance goal.

Back-to-back penalties put the Hawks two men down briefly but again the Raiders couldn’t sustain anything against a defense led by Levi Emery, Derek McLaughlin, Logan Stanley and goalie Isaiah Weston (11 saves).

“They are such a strong bunch. We can break our back up front but we know we have a solid foundation to fall back on,” Stewart said. “They busted their butts all game long to keep us in this game while the offense just threw away opportunity after opportunity after opportunity.”

Ty Smith scored falling backwards to put the Hawks up 6-3 with 5:22 left. Winslow never got closer than two goals after that.

“We had double-digit turnovers,” Winslow coach Bruce Lambrecht said. “We haven’t had much of a spring. Our boys know winning’s about how you play and doing the little things right. So today we came up short to a really good team.”

Winslow was originally scheduled to open the season at Cony on April 14. That and two other attempts to reschedule it were postponed due to inclement weather. The Black Raiders played a scrimmage with Lawrence instead.

“We got ready for that first game three times and had all of the emotions with that, you know, the butterflies and trying to get everything going and it didn’t happen. That happened three times, so it was just tough,” Lambrecht said. “I think it’s good that our kids walk away with a lot of confidence today. They played really well against a well-coached team. We play Erskine on Wednesday and we’ve got to be ready for them.”

Maranacook/Winthrop pushed out to a 3-0 lead after the first quarter on two goals by Morand and another by Smith. Weston stuffed Bryce Hiller from point-blank range to keep Winslow off the board.

Fowler redeemed himself for missing high on a one-on-one with Weston by scoring the Black Raiders’ first goal of the season with 8:06 left in the first half. Winslow took advantage of a bushel of MW turnovers to control the second quarter and Hiller assisted Fowler on another goal before the half to pull Winslow within 3-2.

The Hawks went nearly 20 minutes without scoring between the first and third periods. Stewart urged his team to be more patient at halftime and when the Hawks were, Stockford assisted Morand to end the drought with 7:36 left in the third for a 4-2 lead.

“We were frantic for no apparent reason,” Stewart said. “That was the same things that we had in the first half but we actually passed and caught in the second half. The bodies were in the right places. We were doing the right things. We just weren’t passing and catching, which is the fundamentals of the game.”

Winslow’s best chance to tie it in the third quarter came late, when Jacob Houghton’s side-winding shot ticked off the post.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

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Twitter: @RAWmaterial33