WATERVILLE — After twice this season having let late leads slip away and manifest themselves as overtime losses, the Brunswick boys lacrosse team was determined not to let it happen again Wednesday.

Senior Andrew Eno completed his hat trick with just 1:06 remaining, simultaneously snapping a tie and thwarting an energized fourth-quarter comeback attempt on behalf of Messalonskee, lifting the Dragons to a 12-11 win over the Eagles in a key Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B game at Thomas College. Messalonskee twice tied the game inside the final three minutes only to see Brunswick answer each time.

“We came off a rough night against Greely (an OT loss on Friday), and we just did not want that to happen again,” Eno said. “We wanted to finish off strong.”

Brunswick (7-2) also got two goals and four assists from junior captain Aiden Glover and two goals each from Henry Doherty and Jack McDiarmid.

Messalonskee (4-4) lost for the third time in six days despite four goals and two assists from senior midfielder Austin Pelletier and a stout 14-save performance from junior Wade Carter in the nets. Colin Kinney added a hat trick in the loss, which was the Eagles’ second this season by a single goal.

“It was a challenge against them, but going into the playoffs we’re going to play more games like this — close, down-to-the-wire games,” Messalonskee senior defender Chase Warren said. “We’re a veteran group, we’re a smart group. We just have to take this as a learning block and move forward.”

LESSON LEARNED: Brunswick kept Messalonskee at arm’s length through the second and third quarters and held a 10-8 lead with less than five minutes remaining. First Dawson Charles scored to pull the Eagles to within one, then a minute and a half later he separated Dragon goalie Connor Pendergast (eight saves) from the ball behind his own cage, leading to an easy goal for Kinney that tied things up with 2:56 remaining.

“It’s a test of mental fortitude and desire, but also a test of their I.Q.,” Brunswick coach Don Glover said. “The piece is there where you’re up by one or tied with possession and a short period of time (remaining), you don’t want to get greedy and don’t get unintelligent. That was the piece that I was able to walk away and say to them, ‘Thank you. You proved you can adjust at that pivotal point and do the right thing.'”

That test did not come without it’s nervy late moments.

McDiarmid scored with the man advantage to put Brunswick back on top, only to see that advantage lost when Kinney scored again 16 seconds later.

It set the stage for Eno’s heroics off a quick-paced possession for the Dragons. In all, the teams traded four goals inside the final three minutes, including a span of three 1:32 apart.

“We know we can close games out,” Eno said. We’ve just got to give it our all at the end.”

OPTION ATTACK: Aiden Glover might be the focal point of the Dragon attack, but he’s far from their only option.

Seven different players scored in Brunswick’s win.

“You have to learn to play team defense with these guys, because you can only shut off one guy, really,” Messalonskee coach Tom Sheridan said. “You can’t shut off two or three.”

“We have a lot of work to do,” said Warren, who was tasked with keeping tabs on Glover. “We outplayed them in the second half but just couldn’t finish the job.”

LONG WEEK: Messalonskee lost at Class A Cheverus in a shootout last Friday, 17-16, and then at Greely — the No. 2 team in Class B — on Monday, 18-8.

“We’ve had a tough week,” Sheridan said. “Offensively we came out against Cheverus, but on defense we didn’t play a complete game and played pretty poorly. We had Greely on Monday, and our focus just wasn’t there.

“Today we were ready to play, but it’s about putting a whole complete game together. We knew today would be a challenge. We’re taking the next step as a team. I can really see us pushing through.”

UP NEXT: Three of Messalonskee’s final four regular season games are at home, beginning with a Saturday afternoon game against North Yarmouth Academy. Brunswick travels to Falmouth Saturday night.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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