GARDINER — The message on the Greely bench was simple Tuesday after Gardiner scored its sixth straight goal to take the lead: Don’t panic. Stay calm. Play your usual game.

The Rangers listened — and left Hoch Field with a hard-earned victory.

Matt Kennedy scored five goals, including the go-ahead tally midway through the fourth quarter, as 10th-seeded Greely rallied past No. 7 Gardiner 11-9 in a thrilling Class B boys lacrosse preliminary game in which the score was tied — and broken — three times in the final period.

The Rangers (7-8) will visit No. 2 Brunswick in the quarterfinals Thursday.

Kennedy scored two of his goals in the fourth quarter, after Gardiner grabbed an 8-7 lead following a 7-2 deficit early in the third.

“(The feeling was) just to say calm, keep going and go through the storm,” Kennedy, a senior, said. “They had a lot of momentum, but we just kept to our game and we finished the game out.”


Kennedy and classmate Lukas Cook (two goals, two assists) quickly scored to give Greely a 9-8 lead with 5:16 left. Gardiner’s Cody Dingwell scored his second goal of the game with 4:50 left to tie the score at 9-all, but Kennedy struck again just 46 seconds later to put the Rangers on top, this time for good.

Bez Mendolsohn’s second goal of the game, with 3:30 left, rounded out the scoring, and goalkeeper Sam Dudek (14 saves) sealed the win with a pair of top-notch stops.

“All the credit in the world to Gardiner,” Greely coach Mike Storey said. “They really, really pushed and brought that game back. But we continued to stay disciplined and follow through with what our plan was and our guys stepped up when they needed to.

“We, as a program, stay calm and we deal with the situation at hand.”

Gardiner — which lost to Greely 10-5 in their lone regular-season encounter May 26 — didn’t panic either after trailing 7-2 early in the third quarter on Finn McLean’s second goal of the game.

The Rangers, who seemed to have all the momentum, started to turn the ball over while their shots on goal went wide, and the Tigers (8-7) took advantage with three goals from Kayden Weston and one apiece from Dingwell, Cole Brann and Nate Luiz.


Weston’s go-ahead goal, which gave Gardiner an 8-7 lead with 6:37 left in the fourth, was an outside shot that found its way through a wall of defenders. After the ball landed in the Greely net, the Gardiner bench erupted in joy.

“They stayed out of the box the second half and played smart lacrosse,” said Gardiner coach K.C. Johnson, whose team committed only two second-half penalties after making five in the first half. “A lot of IQs were raised today when it came to playing.

“We started executing more on offense. We had only five possessions in the first half, and that made a huge difference. Our ride was better, it was more crisp, and we stopped just lunging at balls. We broke down guys. There were a lot of possessions forced where they threw the ball away.”

The game was full of momentum swings from the start, as Greely burst out to a 3-0 lead early in the first quarter before Gardiner cut the deficit to 3-2. The Rangers responded with three straight goals to grab a 6-2 halftime lead.

Brayden Elliot also scored for Gardiner, which received six saves from goalie Logan Crowley, including a couple strong first-quarter stops that prevented Greely from taking a bigger lead.

Angus Perry had two assists for Greely, which committed four fouls.

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