PORTLAND – It was an uncharacteristic pairing for an early round of the boys’ lacrosse playoffs. But with the growth of lacrosse came realignment, which grouped the Portland and Brunswick boys’ lacrosse teams in the same playoff region at the start of the 2010 season.

Wednesday at Fitzpatrick Stadium, the two teams met for the first time in the Eastern Class A playoffs. Behind Caleb Kenney’s seven goals, the No. 4 Bulldogs defeated the No. 5 Dragons 15-6 in a regional quarterfinal game. Portland (10-3) will play Saturday at No. 1 Lewiston in a regional semifinal.

“It’s unusual,” Kenney said of the matchup. “We played them in the state championship game (in 2009) and the name ‘Brunswick’ comes from deep in the playoffs. It’s different getting used to different opponents but it’s a good challenge.”

Brunswick (6-7) could not score the equalizer late in the first quarter, despite playing a man up in the final minute, and Portland built on a 2-1 lead at the start of the second quarter, scoring three goals before Evan Howard scored with 0.5 seconds left in the half to cut the lead to 5-2.

“Portland’s a very, very good transition team and we knew that coming into this game,” Brunswick Coach Don Glover said. “We knew they had some key personnel that could hurt us. We contained their fast break for about three-quarters of the game but then we got caught in some uneven situations and they were able to take advantage of them. They’re a well-disciplined team and if they had the opportunity, they made it count.”

But clinging to a 6-5 lead going into the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs found the fuel to take control of the game, scoring five goals in the first four minutes of the frame, including Kenney’s tally 56 seconds into the fourth.

While the Bulldogs counted on a late surge to win the game, they got steady goaltending from Ryan Jurgelevich. The junior made 15 saves, including several key stops that helped Portland maintain its lead against the Dragons.

“He’s a good athlete, a good technical goalie who has good fundamentals and mechanics,” Glover said of Jurgelevich. “He had a very good day. He, honestly, broke our back at points.”

Brunswick cut Portland’s lead to 5-4 in the first three minutes of the third quarter, then cut the lead to 6-5 with 26.6 seconds left in the third on Seth Holmblad’s second goal. Then, the Bulldogs opened up the game.

“We’ve been in a ton of games at halftime and it seems like after halftime, we struggled,” Kenney said. “But we didn’t let that happen. We re-focused.”

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: rlenzi