WALES —  After a 4-1 start to the season, which included a two-goal win over Oak Hill, Morse fell into a slump. Four losses in five games, including a nine-goal loss against rival Gardiner last Friday not only dropped the Shipbuilders to 5-5, but to the ninth and final playoff spot in Eastern B.

Wednesday, in a rematch with Oak Hill, Morse seemed to rediscover its game in the second half, holding the Raiders scoreless for nearly 15 minutes en route to a 9-6 victory.

The win lifted Morse to 6-5 and up to eighth in the Heal Points, while the Raiders fell to 3-7, but still clinging to seventh in Eastern B with road games at Camden Hills (Friday) and Edward Little (Tuesday) remaining.

Morse coach Jay Paulus was pleased to see his team stick to its goals of winning the ground-ball battle and staying patient on offense.

“We are sitting on the border, so this was huge,” Paulus said. “A win today was essential.”

Oak Hill’s efforts were led by goaltender Matty Martin, who had 19 saves while trying to keep his Raiders in it.

“Matty is unbelievable, and there are several times that I watch on the sidelines and he just makes the save,” Oak Hill coach Dan Brannigan said. “I don’t know how he does it. He picked up the game in eighth grade and is just a natural. He took a rip off the cup today, and turned around and made the next save.”

“Their goalie is unbelievable, so we tried to change our shooting lanes,” said Paulus after watching his Shipbuilders outscore the hosts 5-2 in the second half.

Back and forth

Neither team grabbed control of this one in the first 24 minutes, with four ties and two lead changes. Kevin Feeney was the catalyst for Morse, assisting on three goals in the opening half, with four Shipbuilders beating Martin, who had seven stops.

“I just needed to stay mentally focused and be there for my team,” Martin said. “I try not to pay too much attention to the praise. I don’t like all the hype. I just try to play my game.”

For Oak Hill, Kyle Flaherty tallied two goals and an assist before leaving with an undisclosed injury, with Kyle Tervo and Steven Gilbert chipping in one score each as the teams went to the half tied, 4-4.

After a halftime senior day celebration for Oak Hill, Morse took control in the third quarter. Martin stopped Jake Reno and Perry Chase, but had little chance on the go-ahead goal by Chase, with Feeney earning his fourth assist.

After an Oak Hill timeout, Gilbert slipped a shot past Morse goaltender Ryan Munsey (14 saves) to tie the game, but Alec Beveridge and the Shipbuilder defense took over from there. Beveridge beat Martin three times, the last coming with two ticks left on the third-quarter clock for an 8-5 Morse lead.

“We have definitely struggled lately, so it was great to see us come out and play well in the second half. We gave 100 percent today,” said Beveridge, who made it a 9-5 contest with 6:55 remaining in the fourth.

Oak Hill finally ended its scoreless stretch of 14:52 when Gilbert completed his hat trick, but Morse possessed the ball for most of the final three minutes to put the Raiders away.

“Our big thing is we love to dig ourselves holes, coming back to win some games, but unfortunately you can only do that so many times,” Brannigan said. “They have all the faith in Matty, but they leave him out to dry too many times. We only scored six goals, and you need to do more than that.”

“Today was huge for us,” Paulus said. “We have played 11 games, 11 different games, and you never know what you’re going to get each time out. Now, we focus on Brunswick (Tuesday), a much different opponent for sure.”

Beveridge paced Morse with five goals, with Feeney finishing with five assists. Chase chipped in two goals and one assist, while Declan Moore and Cameron Marco had a goal apiece.

Defensively, James Laser led the Shipbuilders with eight ground balls, while midfielder Kevin Tolan had five ground balls.

Oak Hill defensemen Mikey Pease and Kyle Field were solid, helping Martin by blocking three Morse shots each.


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