HAMPDEN — The Winslow field hockey team was up a goal just over six minutes into the Class B North final. It was a two-goal lead four minutes later. By halftime, the lead was up to four.

And all along, the Black Raiders couldn’t quite believe what was happening.

“I was thinking ‘Oh my goodness, this is so surreal,’ ” junior forward Karlie Ramsdell said. “It was crazy.”

Winslow’s Bodhi Littlefield jumps onto goalie Leah Pelotte as Alaina Lambert (15) grabs a hug after defeating Belfast 5-2 in the Class B North championship game Wednesday at Hampden Academy. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

Whatever word one used to describe it, it was more than enough for a Winslow team that showed up at Hampden Academy on Wednesday with a dose of drive and determination. Ramsdell scored three goals, Bodhi Littlefield and Sage Clukey added scores and top-seeded Winslow beat No. 2 Belfast, 5-2, to reach the Class B state final for the first time since 2015.

“It is so good to actually be able to come here and win and go to states, where I’ve never been,” said Ramsdell, who scored two of her goals in the first half as Winslow (15-2) rolled to a 4-0 lead. “We wanted to come out and win because we lost to them previously this season. … That really put a fire under us.”

Winslow dropped a 3-2 decision to Belfast (13-4) in the regular season finale, but there was just as much motivation stemming from last season, when the Black Raiders reached this game before falling to eventual state champion Gardiner.

“When we went through the line last year and were handing out the medals, the underclassmen, they set the goal. They said it coming through, ‘We’re going to be back,’ ” coach Mary Beth Bourgoin said. “That was the goal from that day. It was definitely in their mind. It’s been in their mind all season.”

There was incentive for a fast start everywhere the Black Raiders looked, and fans had barely settled into their seats when they began taking advantage. Not even six minutes had passed when Winslow was awarded a corner, and Littlefield smacked a shot that Brooke Richards (13 saves) stopped but directed right back to the junior midfielder, who calmly put her follow-up shot into the back of the cage with 23:58 to go.

“It really fired me up,” Littlefield said. “Getting down there and getting the first goal of the game, it fires your team up too. It was nice to get my team going and get one on the board.”

Exactly four minutes later, Winslow struck again. Taylor Rodriguez raced alone toward the goal, forcing Richards to charge out. Richards was successful in breaking up the chance, but Ramsdell was following right behind, and drilled a shot that went into the untended net with 19:58 left.

Belfast coach Jan Jackson called timeout to try to calm her team, but the Winslow push kept coming. With 11:55 to go, Littlefield skipped an off-balance shot from the right side of the circle that Clukey was able to redirect in, making it 3-0. With 3:01 to go until the half, Ramsdell gathered a deflected ball in front of the cage and scored to bump the lead to 4-0.

“We were thinking to keep pounding it on,” Clukey said. “We didn’t want to lose it. And we didn’t lose it.”

“We practice that a lot,” Littlefield added. “Not physically, but mentally, to never let up and keep pushing.”

And then, as the game changed from the first to the second half, momentum changed with it. Kayci Faulkingham scored on a corner with 26:18 to play, and with 17:52 left Hannah Banks carried the ball up and around a couple of defenders before ripping a shot into the cage that made it 4-2.

Had it not been for some diving stops by Winslow goalie Leah Pelotte (16 saves), the comeback could have been complete.

“At halftime we had a really good talk about getting fired up and coming out and scoring goals, because we are good at scoring goals,” Belfast coach Jackson said. “There’s no reason why, in 30 minutes, we couldn’t score four goals. We are capable of that.”

“They’re a great team, they’ve got great skills,” Bourgoin added. “I think my girls stepped back a little bit, but I do think it was to their credit they fought back.”

The comeback was stifled with 10:23, when on a Winslow corner Silver Clukey rapped a pass to the left side of the cage that Ramsdell was able to tip in for a 5-2 lead and the first hat trick of her career.

Winslow senior forward Taylor Rodriguez (1) collides with Belfast goalie Brooke Richards (00) during the Class B North championship game Wednesday at Hampden Academy. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

“Karlie’s been working on her tipping this year and how to position herself,” Littlefield said. “Today was a gift for her.”

And for her team, an awaited chance at some redemption.

“After last year, we’re feeling pretty good right now,” Sage Clukey said. “This was a huge win for us. We’re so excited.”

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