GARDINER — Looking at the game like a jigsaw puzzle, both Maranacook and Gardiner are still trying to see how the pieces are going to fit together as the season goes on. One piece that’s already slotted itself in nicely is Black Bear newcomer Micah Charette, a 30-goal scorer at Fort Kent last season.

Charette scored a pair of goals eight minutes apart early in the second half, later completing his hat trick in his debut with his new team, leading Maranacook to a 5-1 win over Gardiner in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference boys soccer game Thursday afternoon.

Charette sat out the season opener for the Black Bears (2-0-0) against Leavitt last week with an injury, but he had no trouble fitting right in with his new squad. He scored in the 44th and 52nd minutes to help stake Maranacook out to a 4-0 lead. Only seconds after Gardiner (0-1-1) pulled one back in the 71st minute courtesy of Casey Bourque’s free kick from 23 yards out, Charette finished off the hat trick with a beautifully struck half-volley off his left foot.

For the naturally right-footed striker, all three of his goals against the Tigers came via his left foot.

“I get a few goals with my left foot, and they think I’m actually left-footed. That’s fine with me,” Charette said. “Either foot you’re going to give me, I’m going to do my best to get a goal in with either one.”

Senior midfielder Silas Mohlar was more than happy to welcome Charette aboard.

“He’s a great player, just from the little we’ve seen him,” Mohlar said. “He’s a great teammate. You can’t complain with him on the team.”

Maranacook head coach Don Beckwith wasn’t thrilled with the play from his squad, which is still utilizing a number of familiar faces, albeit many in new roles.

“Not enough energy, not enough work. We’re better than that,” Beckwith said. “I think it’s still some guys trying to find out where they belong or how they belong, and whether they’re that good or not. They probably don’t believe they’re that good, and they should.”

Charette’s performance, both he and Beckwith believed, was just a beginning.

“I think he can do more without the ball and draw things,” Beckwith said. “I don’t think we got any pretty, pretty goals.”

For Charette, it’s about acclimating himself to the the game in central Maine after spending three years in Aroostook County.

“It’s a big change coming from the north to here,” Charette said. “My teammates had a huge part in helping me get a feel for the game down here. They helped get me the balls I needed to get to goal — they were great providers for me.”

Like Maranacook, Gardiner is also trying to find the right blend on the pitch. There is skill in the team, some on the youthful and inexperienced side.

“The biggest thing that missed for us was their pace,” Wallace said. “We had to match their pace, not so much with our play but with our passing. It’s passing the ball and looking ahead, and that’s what was missing for us the most.

“We have two brand new center midfielders. With experience, that comes. Again, it’s the second game of the year against one of the top four or five teams in the state.,, The one thing we can do better is just consistently play for 80 minutes, play hard for 80 minutes and play smart.”

Connor Stockwell opened the scoring Thursday in the fourth minute. Aric Belanger made it 2-0 in the 15th minute, pouncing on the rebound of Black Bear Riley Maddocks’ shot after Gardiner keeper Alic Shorey (12 saves) made a great diving save at the left post.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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