AUGUSTA — There was plenty at stake Wednesday night when the Cony boys lacrosse team hosted rival Gardiner. Second-seeded Cony put its unbeaten record on the line, but more importantly a berth in the Class B North semifinals awaited the winner.

Trailing by four goals at one point, 10th-seeded Gardiner rallied in the second half and took the lead late in the fourth quarter en route to a 12-11 victory that took the crowd of about 400 on an entertaining roller-coaster ride.

Gardiner (7-7) will face No. 3 Yarmouth in a game Saturday while Cony finishes at 12-1.

As rivalry games go, this one had a little bit of everything — physical play, vocal fans and an outcome that wasn’t decided until the final horn.

“It’s definitely the first time having a rivalry game in a playoff,” said Gardiner sophomore Sloan Berthiaume, who put the Tigers in front for good, 11-10, with 5 minutes, 37 seconds left to play. Logan Clark added an insurance goal 40 seconds later that proved important since Cony’s Bret Sproul scored his seventh goal of the game with 26 seconds left to cut the lead back to a goal. The Tigers gained the ensuing faceoff and ran out the clock.

Berthiaume finished with three goals and two assists, but just as important was his work on faceoffs where he outdrew his Ram opponent 20-3.


“I’ll take the first couple and try to go straight forward with a quick clamp then I’ll determine his abilities and try to counter him from there. He tried to get in front of me a lot so I tried to draw it back and that seemed to work throughout the game,” Berthiaume said.

Gardiner trailed 6-2 early in the second quarter after Chad Bickford bounced a long shot past goalie Noah Keene (eight saves). But the Tigers battled back to tie the game at 8 on consecutive goals late in the half from Tristan Hebert, Parker Hinkley and Tanner Hebert. Sproul scored his fourth goal of the half to give the Rams a 9-8 lead at intermission.

Sproul entered the game with a school record 56 goals but the Tigers tightened their defense in the second half and limited the senior captain’s chances.

“We were told to just stay right on him,” defenseman Jake Folsom said. “We were sliding early and we got beat. We weren’t really awake in the first half.”

Despite the records, the game figured to be close. The Tigers battled some ineligibility midway through the season and played a tougher schedule that included Messalonskee and Brunswick.

“I think the difference today was they just did so well on faceoffs,” Cony coach Chad Foye said. “We had chances to get ground balls. It just wasn’t our day today. We stood around and they took advantage of it. Part of the reason we made mistakes was what they did. Their game plan was really strong.”


The Tigers also featured a little more balanced attack. Dale Lapierre scored a couple of goals for the Rams in the first half but Sproul was their only goal scorer in the second half.

Clark and Connor Manter each had two goals for the Tigers, who had seven different players score.

“The kids played well,” Gardiner coach K.C. Johnson said. “I told them all year long that we were going to see a lot of adversity along the way because we’re young and we’d have to adjust to it.”

Cony goalie Cam Gallant finished with 10 saves while the Rams held a 44-35 advantage in shots.

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