BRUNSWICK — The Brunswick High School boys’ lacrosse team knew Thursday night’s clash with Lewiston was going to be different. After two blowouts over Edward Little and Mt. Ararat to begin the season, coach Don Glover said his defending state champions were a home underdog against Lewiston.

It’s a good thing he didn’t take them lightly.

The visitors jumped out of the gates and made it clear early on that they were not going to be blown out. After three lead changes and a scrappy, hard-fought four quarters, the Dragons ultimately got their 8-6 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference win, but they had to work for it.

The game started with both teams firing shots left and right. Alex Rivet opened the scoring for Lewiston (2-1), ripping one into the net less than a minute into the first quarter. A quick response from Aiden Glover and Brunswick (3-0) set up a theme in the first half — one side scores and the other quickly returns the favor.

Rivet assisted Griffin Wade on the next goal for the Blue Devils, a mere 23 seconds before Christian Glover and the Dragons equalized again. Two straight goals from Brunswick (Glover, Max Gramins) in the first quarter were matched by two straight goals from Lewiston (Jayden Wilson, Roman Dennis) in the second. By the end of the first half, after 29 total shots and five saves from each side, the score was deadlocked at five. The Blue Devils were here to play.

“They have an exceptional group of athletes,” Don Glover said of Lewiston. “Ben (Fournier) and Tom (Fournier) are exceptional coaches. They’ve been putting up numbers and have a bunch of kids that have been falling in love with lacrosse who are just scrappers and good athletes. We knew this was going to be a pretty pinnacle game for two 2-0 teams.”

“I just think our guys played hard,” Lewiston coach Ben Fournier said. “They worked hard every second of the game and they gave it their all, so we were able to keep it close for a while.”

Second half lockdown

The goal scoring ceased early in the third quarter, with Brunswick tightening up on defense and pressuring the ball hard. Andrew Eno broke through for the Dragons at the 6:46 mark, but only after slashing penalties, pushes, and forced turnovers from a Lewiston side that refused to back down.

“Definitely first respect to Lewiston,” Christian Glover said. “They’re a young team and have really come a far way from last year. They’re great athletes, they know how to move the ball, so we had to adjust second half.”

Glover wound up and launched a ball past Bryan Wigg from distance to make the score 7-5 with just under four minutes to go in the third frame, but the Blue Devils and Wade responded once more at the 2:50 mark to make it a one score game heading into the fourth. The visitors tested Dragons goalie Logan Ouellette with four shots on goal in the final frame, but Wade’s goal was the last time they broke through.

“They have all the little things locked down,” Fournier said of Brunswick. “Coach Glover is so good at adjusting on the fly and he’s got a plan for everything that happens during the course of a game, so they did a really good job at that.”

Ouellette, who blocked 11 shots on the night, made two key stops late in the fourth quarter to deny Lewiston a seventh goal.

Wigg also finished with 11 saves in net for the Blue Devils, including three straight during a pressure-packed stretch near the end of the game. Brunswick won the ground-ball battle (32-23) and led in shots (30-21), but Fournier’s group dominated on face-offs, winning 11-of-15.

“It’s a great learning experience,” Fournier said. “You definitely learn a lot more from a loss than from a win. I think we took a lot out of this game. We’re going to work on some stuff during practice and hopefully we’ll be ready for them next time.”

Wade led Lewiston with a pair of goals, while Wilson tallied two assists. On the other side, Glover scored twice and assisted Eno’s game-sealing goal less than 30 seconds into the fourth quarter. Eno and Grammis each found the back of the net twice.

“It was kind of a little bit of a chess match back and forth,” Don Glover said. “There were some tactical things and some different play situations. Incredible game.”

For Glover, whose Dragons are slated to visit Yarmouth on Saturday at 6 p.m., there was one key takeaway from Thursday’s game.

“No. 1 is possess is the ball,” he said. “At points, we were our own worst enemy. We were pushing the ball a little too quick and looking for a big home run hits and stuff like that. We’re walking off the field with this kind of saying, ‘We cant do those things.’ Obviously against a Lewiston, it was nip and tuck — we play this way and give the possessions away against a Yarmouth, we’re really going to be in some serious trouble.”

“We can definitely build on this,” Christian Glover said. “Especially going into Saturday with Yarmouth, but we’re not going to look back on it too much —we want to move forward with our season.”

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