RUMFORD — The matchup certainly lived up to its highly anticipated billing as Mountain Valley and Dirigo battled to a no-decision in a high spirited boys’ soccer Tuesday night at Chet Bulger Field.

Mountain Valley had rallied back to take a lead on a Dylan Mawhinney goal, but the Cougars Eric Bolduc scored on a penalty stroke and even extra sessions wasn’t enough as the game ended in a 3-3 tie.

There is still plenty of energy between the arch-rivals and there was plenty at stake. Class B Mountain Valley (6-4) is fighting for its playoff life and Class C Dirigo (11-0-1) is trying to hold on to its No.1 ranking. Each team had scoring chances and the aggressiveness combined with chilly conditions plagued several players with cramps.

The Cougars received the total offensive production in a 4-1 win against Mountain Valley, last month.

“This was a game of missed opportunities for us,” Dirigo coach Dennis Hanson said.  “But Mountain Valley is peaking at the right time. This was a big game and coming up here to play under the lights is an advantage to them.”

A penalty stroke was called when Cougar Cliff Turner was pushed down and Bolduc used a fake to roll the ball in with 18:34 left in regulation.

Mountain Valley had erased a two-goal deficit with scores by Luis Ristow, the initial one resulted when the exchange student blew by the defense with 1:44 left in the first half. Ristow received a yellow card for excessive celebration and sat for 10 minutes.

Ristow tied the game on another rush 12:22 in to the second half and the Falcons and took their first-ever lead, but 4:22 later when Mawhinney booted a slow rolling ball between the legs of Cougar sophomore goalie Caleb Turner (eight saves). The Cougars had allowed five goals this season.

“We played with intensity in the second half,” said Mawhinney, who played for Dirigo two years ago. “We got the ball into the box and made our luck. The ball movement was good and we communicated with the midfield.”

The respective defenses stepped forward on several occasions to disrupt the flow. The Cougars relied on Jeremy Remeika, Alex Milledge and Cody St. Germain. The Falcons countered with sweeper Zach Taylor, Travis Gauvin and Austin Glover. “We made some mental mistakes,” MV coach Jarrod Dumas said. “But, this team is beginning to jell and when the game was on the line they made the plays.”

Dirigo had taken a 2-0 lead on goals by Tyler Gates (24 goals this season) in the first. The first came when a penalty stroke was called for tripping in the box and the second when Gates settled and booted the ball high in the right corner past Falcon goalie Kyle Gauvin (12 saves)

“We was up two goals and didn’t finish,”Hanson said. “We let them control the midfield.”

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