AUBURN — Gray-New Gloucester backup goalie Sam Tibbetts proved on a dreary and cold Wednesday afternoon that there really is a first time for everything.

This is Tibbetts’ first year playing soccer, as a senior, and he started for the first time in net and oversaw the Patriots’ 2-1 victory over host St. Dominic Academy in a bone-chilling cold rain. He made five key saves.

“It is just great to get a win,” Tibbetts, who also plays hockey and lacrosse, said. “I was a little nervous when the first whistle hit because like everybody is a little bit nervous, but once you get into your own element, you just kind of settle in, play. I’ve got a group of 10 guys in front of me who are amazing.

“This my first year playing. I was the manager last year and I am best friends with all these guys. So they were like: ‘You’ve got to come out and play.’”

The second half was a back-and-forth affair, with the Patriots holding on to a slim 1-0 lead.

St. Dom’s (4-6) capitalized on a free kick after G-NG was penalized for a dangerous kick. Senior striker Dominik Cyr booted the ball into the upper-right corner of the Patriots’ net on the kick, with junior midfielder Leo Naous getting the assist with just over 34 minutes left in the second half.

Cyr’s goal jostled the Patriots, who began pressing the Saints and eventually responded with a tie-breaking goal with 25:36 left in the game. 

Sophomore midfielder Max Kenney used a feed from Wyatt Kenney and punched in the eventual game-winning goal and gave Gray-New Gloucester a 2-1 lead that held up the rest of the game.

“We played St. Dom’s earlier in the year (and won),” G-NG coach Mike Dehetre said. “We knew, given the conditions, finishing would be huge. Give credit to their goalie and defense. They kind of shut us down anytime we got opportunities. 

“I think pressing them was the way to go. I was pleased with the guys’ effort tonight. But our keeper was in it. That was the first time he played in goal. He is a senior and we went with him tonight. He had a good game.” 

The Saints did have an opportunity to tie the game up again when the Patriots were issued a push penalty, but Naous blasted the free kick over the net.

G-NG wasted no time scoring early in the first half. Wyatt Kenney used an assist from junior Josh Michaud and popped the ball in the net.

The Saints had a chance to tie the game in the first half. The Patriots were called for a pushing penalty, but Noah Cyr’s shot missed the mark. 

“This is the first time I have seen the boys come together as a unit all season, so I was really, really impressed with that,” St. Dom’s coach Brady Whetzel said. “We had some great competition against Gray-New Gloucester. They are probably one of the best teams we will play this year. They’ve got a lot of good talent. Other than that, the boys did a really good job moving the ball around.”

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