Lewiston’s Roman Dennis winds up for a shot during the second half of Wednesday’s game against Messalonskee.
LEWISTON — A different Messalonskee showed up for its second meeting with Lewiston.
The Eagles played the Blue Devils into a deep hole in the first half and then kept them at arm’s length in the second to win Wednesday’s Class A North boys’ lacrosse showdown, 14-9.
“Huge morale booster,” Messalonskee’s Connor Smith, who scored five goals, said. “You know, before the last (meeting), we had never lost to Lewiston at home. So for us … to come in here, taking them away at their own barn, that’s huge.”
The Eagles opened the season April 13 with a 13-7 loss to the Blue Devils, a game that coach Tom Sheridan said wasn’t as close as the final score.
“We weren’t quite the team we are now,” Sheridan said. “They definitely played better that day. We did not deserve to even come close.”
Back then, the Eagles were still finding their wings, figuring out how to fill the voids left by 14 seniors who graduated after the 2016 season.
“We just came in today, I think guys were just determined to do well offensively, defensively,” Sheridan said, “because we were just disappointed in our performance last time.”
Lewiston scored first Wednesday when Pat Racine found Sam Payne cutting toward the middle, and Payne put the ball in the net for a 1-0 lead midway first quarter.
Smith scored his first goal 80 seconds later off an assist by Austin Pelletier, and then Pelletier scored about a minute later to give the Eagles a 2-1 advantage.
Pelletier netted another goal with 20 second to play in the opening period for a 3-1 lead.
The second quarter got pretty ugly pretty quickly for Lewiston. Smith scored with 9:03 left in the half, then again with 8:35 left. With 8:06 remaining, Colin Kenney finished off a series of deft passes to make it 6-1 and give the Eagles three goals in a 57-second span.
Alder Balboni added to the lead late in the half, and Pelletier put in another with 30 seconds to play.
“We came out guns blazing,” Smith said. “We wanted this game. We moved that ball like I haven’t seen us move it all year. Bing, bang, boom, we just put that ball in the net.”
With four seconds left, Gunnar Wade ended Lewiston’s offensive drought, making it 8-2 at the break. Jayden Wilson set up the goal by picking up a ground ball on the left sideline and lofting over the defense to Wade, who easily prevailed in a one-on-one with Messalonskee goalkeeper Dawson Charles.
The goal, Lewiston coach Ben Fournier said, set the tone for a more aggressive Lewiston in the final two quarters.
“That kind of lit a fire under us for the second half, kind of got us going a little bit,” Fournier said.
Garrett Poussard passed to Wade, who set up Alex Rivet for a goal 30 seconds into the third quarter, cutting the deficit to 8-3.
But goals by Van Gusmanov and Smith gave Messalonskee and eight-goal cushion, 11-3, with 7:03 left.
“They came out firing, and I think we came out just a little bit slow, and took us a while to wake up,” Fournier said. “By then … we were down eight goals at one point, and Messalonskee, they’re going to go hard, they’re not going to let up.
“The played hard from start to finish.”
Wilson set up Wade a minute later, and Rivet scored again at about the five-minute mark to make the score 11-5.
The Blue Devils really found themselves in the fourth quarter, but the Eagles had enough answers to keep the rally from getting to serious.
Rivet scored two goals to cut Messalonskee’s lead to 11-7.
On the first, Wade picked up a dropped ball and fed to to Rivet in the middle. Then, at the three-minute mark, Desmond Jackson broke ahead of the pack and carried the ball downfield. He sent it to Wilson, who set up Rivet.
But Messalonskee answered when Pelletier scored his fourth goal to push it back to 12-7.
Wade buried his third goal of the game, and then Wilson scored to put Lewiston within three, 12-9, with 4:18 to play.
Ten seconds later, though, Smith responded with a spirit-breaking goal, his fifth, to make it 13-9.
Balboni added the final goal with 37 seconds left.
“We’ve got to show up and and we’ve got to play a full game,” Fournier said. “We can’t sit back and give the other team a nice lead and then expect to come back and win.
“We’ve got to play from the opening whistle to the last whistle.”
Messalonskee (4-2) jumps from fifth to second in the A North Heal points standings.
Lewiston (3-2) falls from third to fourth place. The Blue Devils’ next game is at home against unbeaten Brunswick (5-0) on Friday.
Lewiston’s Alex Rivet fires a shot on goal during Wednesday’s game against Messalonskee.Messalonskee’s Chase Borson, right, knocks the stick out of the hands of Lewiston’s Gunner Wade during Wednesday’s game in Lewiston.Messalonskee’s Alden Baldoni, right, tries to stop Lewiston’s Garrett Poussard as he fires a shot on net during the second half of Wednesday’s lacrosse game in Lewiston.