SANFORD – After 60 minutes of fast-paced but scoreless action between two of the top four field hockey teams in Western Class A, the game came down to this:

A penalty corner with no time remaining on the clock.

Twelve times, Massabesic had set a penalty corner in motion, starting with a flick of the stick by Sam Emmons.

Twelve times, Sanford had thwarted the effort, either with a swarming defense that didn’t allow a shot on goal or with one of the dozen saves made by keeper Sarah Stanley.

But this final chance, after the clock had reached :00, after Massabesic Coach Michelle Martin-Moore called time to set up the final play, had an electric feel to it.

“It’s a different game at the end,” said Taylor Bergeron of Massabesic. “It was so intense. It was crazy.”

Emmons flicked the ball from the end line to the top of the circle. Kristin Lambert settled it and sent a hard shot toward Stanley, who kicked it away. Logan Provencher of Massabesic pounced on the rebound and crossed it to Bergeron, who didn’t hesitate.

“I just took the opportunity and flicked it in as hard as I could,” Bergeron said.

Just like that, Massabesic had won, 1-0.

No overtime. No more frenzied back-and-forth action. A clump of green shirts squealed in celebration near midfield as the no-longer-unbeaten Sanford girls walked slowly off the moist turf Wednesday night under the tall light towers of Goodall Park.

“This was a great game,” said Sanford Coach Diana Walker. “When (Stanley) made the initial stop and it didn’t get cleared out, I said, ‘Aaaah, they’ve been lifting it all night, it’s going to get lifted.’ And they did it.”

Sanford (8-1-1) and Massabesic (9-1) entered the game ranked third and fourth, respectively, in the Western Class A Heal point standings. Sanford’s only blemish had been a 2-2 tie at Scarborough. Massabesic’s only stumble was a 1-0 loss at Cheverus.

Both teams had plenty of opportunities to score Wednesday, but Stanley and Massabesic keeper Courtney Picone, who finished with 14 saves, were up to the challenge.

“Both goalies had some great saves at different times throughout the game,” Sanford’s Walker said.

At one point Stanley went horizontal to stop a shot by Jackie Guillemette following the last of three consecutive penalty corners.

Shortly after halftime, Sanford back Salena Helmreich saved a goal on a shot that had gotten past Stanley.

“I think they had a defensive player who had a save at one point, too,” Walker said.

Sanford held a slight 16-13 edge in shots on goal. Massabesic countered with four breakaways and enjoyed a 13-6 advantage in penalty corners.

Billed as a ‘Playing for the Cure’ game for breast cancer awareness, players from both teams wore pink ribbons and headbands. All the lines were painted pink, as were two large ribbons near each 25-yard line. Both officials wore pink shirts over their usual highlighter-yellow jerseys.

“Playing for the cure definitely made a difference,” said Massabesic’s Martin-Moore, explaining that one player’s mother is currently undergoing treatment, that Martin-Moore’s sister is a survivor, as is another close friend of the team. “So cancer has affected this team pretty deeply.”

Walker said through the Massabesic team selling 100 pink ribbons during lunch hours this week, the sales of pink T-shirts, and money donated at the game through a coin drive, more than $500 will go to the American Cancer Society. That knowledge took away some of the sting of such a sudden defeat.

“Sometimes a loss like this during the regular season helps you prepare yourself better for the playoffs than going in undefeated,” she said. “Don’t get me wrong. I wanted to win. I told them it’s over now. You’ve got your loss. You don’t like it? OK, do something about it.”

Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:

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Twitter: GlennJordanPPH