PORTLAND — As the late afternoon sunlight faded, it took with it the chance for overtime and the opportunity for one team to leave the field a winner.
In the end, Henry Cleaves’ goal off the rebound of his penalty kick lifted Waynflete to a 2-2 tie with Sacopee Valley in a physical Western Maine Conference boys’ soccer game at Waynflete’s Fore River Athletic Complex.
Coaches and game officials determined it was too dark to play overtime, so the game ended in a tie.
As is usually the case at this point in the season, with teams nursing injuries, a tie can feel like a win or a loss, depending on your perspective.
“We would have preferred a win, which would have been worth a bundle of (Heal) points,” Sacopee Valley Coach Mike Lane said. “Against a quality team like this, on their home field, a tie is decent. I’m pleased that we didn’t give up after being down early. We turned it into something positive in the second half.”
This is familiar territory for the Hawks (6-2-4), who earned their third straight draw. They came into the game ranked eighth in Western Class C, with games remaining against North Yarmouth Academy and Buckfield. They hope the draw with sixth-ranked Waynflete will help them earn a home game in the preliminary round of the regional tournament.
It was a second straight tie for Waynflete (7-2-2), which began a grueling four-games-in-seven-days stretch that includes matches at NYA and Class A Falmouth. Waynflete has an eye on a top-four finish in the region.
“A tie is OK, but I’m a little disappointed we gave up two goals and so many chances,” Waynflete Coach Brandon Salway said. “We got a little scattered, but hopefully we can correct that.”
As it was, both teams made the most of their best chances.
Waynflete took a 1-0 lead when Harry Baker-Connick buried the rebound of Willy Burdick’s shot 10 minutes into the game.
Sacopee Valley’s Ryan Moulton drew a yellow card late in the first half but returned to figure in both second-half goals.
About 10 minutes in, he sent a low shot toward the far post, where Trey Watson knocked it in. Moulton then drew a penalty at the edge of the box with 25:37 to play. Matteo Pascucci’s free kick deflected off the Flyers’ wall and sailed past keeper Milo Belleau (10 saves) for a 2-1 lead.
Two minutes later, Waynflete’s Elyse Bayizere was fouled in the box, setting up Henry Cleaves’ penalty kick. Keeper Michael Pingree (12 saves) made the stop, but the rebound bounced to Cleaves, who put it in to tie the game.
“(It’s a big boost), especially when you think they save it and then you score,” said Baker-Connick, who played a limited role because of an injury.
“We came out in the second half a little flat and they got a couple,” Cleaves said. “We responded well, we just couldn’t put it in.
“A tie is disappointing, but the important thing is to get healthy.”