The Mt. Blue field hockey team celebrates their 2-1 Class A North semifinal win over Cony on Saturday in Farmington. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

FARMINGTON — For the second consecutive season, the Mt. Blue field hockey team is headed to the regional finals.

The second-seeded Cougars scored a pair of goals off penalty corner plays Saturday, one early in each half, and held on for a 2-1 win over No. 3 Cony in a Class A North semifinal Saturday at Caldwell Field. Molly Harmon and Rylee Keaten did the honors for Mt. Blue (13-3), which will meet perennial regional champion Skowhegan in Wednesday’s final at Hampden Academy.

“It’s super-awesome,” Harmon said. “We’re all super-excited and we can’t wait (for Wednesday).”

Cony’s Julia Reny, left, battles for the ball with Mt. Blue’s Molly Harmon, right, during a Class A North semifinal game Saturday in Farmington. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

Senior goalie Brooke Bolduc made eight saves in front of the Mt. Blue cage to earn the win against a Cony team which had split a pair of regular-season meetings with the Cougars. But unlike in the regular-season finale for both teams, when the Rams hit Bolduc up for five goals by taking advantage of her aggressive tendencies to keep her on the move, Bolduc threw a new wrinkle at the Cony attackers Saturday.

“I changed it up a little bit, because I knew that was in their heads,” Bolduc said. “I just played the game I know how to play. I worked my best, and I had a great defense behind me backing me up the whole time. That’s what really made this game.”

Not that Bolduc was tested all that often, thanks to a defensive effort in front of her that began in the midfield and carried all the way back to the top of the attacking circle.

“We just try to tackle outside the circle so they can’t have those opportunities,” Harmon said. “We try to prevent them from getting to the goal by doing that.”

Mt. Blue coach Jody Harmon called the previous meeting against Cony “the worst effort we’ve ever  had,” lamenting the fact that the Cougars produced so many penalty corner tries without being able to turn those chances into goals.

With a berth in the regional title game on the line, the Cougars generated 11 corners for themselves and turned them into the two goals they needed to see out the win. Though Mt. Blue spent most of the last couple of weeks in practice working on their corner plays, they succeeded by simplifying the entire process against Cony this time around.

Harmon scored less than six minutes into the contest with a simple drive from the top of the circle off the play-in feed from Ella Stone for the 1-0 lead. Keaten doubled the advantage 2:11 into the second half on almost an identical finish.

“It doesn’t have to be complicated,” Jody Harmon said. “It just has to be focus and executing — just get the shot off. We’ve been working on getting the shots off into the corners, going around the goalie, and playing as a unit.”

“We won’t want to give up that many defensive corners,” Cony coach Holly Daigle said. “When they’re putting the ball in on those corners, you kind of look back at the series of events that led to that. I think it’s a bit more complex than how we played defense on the corners, but it was the mistakes we made in the circle in general.”

Mt. Blue goalie Brooke Bolduc, right, raises her stick to stop a shot as teammate Bailey Levesque (9) and Cony’s Taryn Crummett try to knock the ball down during a Class A North semifinal game Saturday in Farmington. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

A would-be third goal for Mt. Blue was waved off with 10:45 left to play, and Cony seemed to find some life as a result of that moment.

The Rams earned four penalty corners in a three-minute stretch with less than five minutes remaining, finally getting on the board through Faith Leathers-Pouliot with 3:14 to play. It was as close as Cony would get to the goal — literally and figuratively — the rest of the way.

“I wasn’t nervous. I was calm, collected as could be,” Molly Harmon said of Cony’s final push. “We’ve all been playing for so long together, I knew we’d all end up pulling through.”

“We needed some redemption from this game,” Jody Harmon said. “We were ready and we knew what we had to do. It just comes down to effort.”

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