WATERVILLE — Ethan Timmins held his coming out party Friday night. The entire Lawrence boys soccer team was invited.

Timmins had a hand in every Bulldog goal, including the game-tying goal and the game-winning one in the waning minutes, leading No. 9 Lawrence back from a two-goal deficit to earn a 3-2 win over No. 8 Maine Central Institute in a Class B North preliminary-round game at Bill Alfond Field.

Trailing 2-0 after nearly an hour of play, Timmins assisted on Cam Jordan’s goal to put the Bulldogs on the board, converted the rebound of his own saved penalty kick four minutes later to tie things up and then curled a 20-yarder under the crossbar in the 78th minute to give Lawrence the only lead it would enjoy all night.

“We all gave it our all until the last breath,” Timmins said. “I was trying to keep everyone hyped up, keep everyone’s head up. It means everything. It’s an amazing feeling.”

It was exactly the kind of game Lawrence coach Bob Towne envisioned for his sophomore center midfielder, even if it came a year or two ahead of schedule.

“(Timmins) hasn’t scored like that for us,” Towne said. “He’s scored, obviously, and he has the ability, and he’s definitely going to be a key for us — hopefully some more this year — but also in the future. He’s part of what we’re growing on.

“He’s the playmaker you shouldn’t give space.”

Ethan Varney scored two goals for MCI (5-10-0). He netted the lone goal of the opening half with a 15-yard volley in the 37th minute, having picked Orrie Flood’s corner kick out of mid-air with his right-footed strike.

Varney’s efforts weren’t enough for the Huskies, however, as Lawrence (6-8-1) won a playoff game for the first time in seven years. That 2012 season also was the last time the Bulldogs qualified for postseason play. After going 1-5-1 to begin the season, the Bulldogs are 5-3-0 in their last eight games and have set a date with undefeated top-seed Caribou in the regional quarterfinals next week. 

“It was a big lift for us to get into the playoffs. That was our first goal,” Towne said. “I think getting a win here in the prelim legitimizes it for the younger kids that are coming through and hopefully gives us some momentum to build on, not just for this year but for the future, too.”

Sophomore goalkeeper Noah Webber came up much larger than his lean frame against the Huskies (5-10-0). He made seven saves, including two aggressive diving stops to thwart MCI breakaways from Varney and T.J. Stewart while the game was still drawn at 2-2.

“I was just trying to make sure I stayed aggressive at all times,” Webber said. “It kind of kicked me a little bit on the last one (on Stewart), because I took a pretty good hit.”

Webber was injured on arguably his best save of the evening late in the first half, having scrambled across the goal line to somehow stop Tristen Wintle’s far-side follow-up to a narrow Varney miss. He came out of the game in the 31st minute, but returned with his ankle having received treatment to start the second half.

“It really scared me,” Webber said of the injury.

MCI couldn’t have been happier with the way things were going by the time the 50th minute rolled around.

Varney added his second for a 2-0 Husky lead in the 47th minute. But MCI coach Scott Varney knew that once Jordan put the Bulldogs on the board, control was already starting to slip away for his side which has battled inconsistency all season.

“We just stopped playing there for a while,” Varney said. “Our intensity dropped, and their intensity picked up. It’s heartbreaking to lose, of course, especially when we were playing so well, but I’ve got to keep in perspective what we’ve got on the field with such a young team.”

Jordan was hauled down in the 18-yard box by MCI’s Juan Ortiz and the Bulldogs were awarded a penalty in the 61st minute.

Timmins stepped over the ball but was denied initially by Husky keeper Jakub Smid (eight saves) — though Smid’s rebound bounced back to Timmins, who didn’t miss his second opportunity to tie the game at 2-2 with less than half an hour to play.

The game-winner came when Lawrence junior Ryan Bourque held up play along the left side before spotting Timmins alone in the center of the park. He slotted his pass to Timmins, who drove a perfect ball over the leaping reach of Smid and just under the crossbar for the 3-2 scoreline.

“The whole game, they gave us the space up top on the 18, and I just decided to take the shot that time,” Timmins said.

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