PORTLAND – Tim Rovnak scored two goals in the final 10 minutes to propel Portland to a 2-0 victory against Deering in a Western Class A schoolboy soccer game Thursday night at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

Portland (2-1), the defending regional champion, dominated play for much of the game, but it took more than 50 minutes to find a way to get the ball past Deering goalie Jamie Gullbrand and the corps of fullbacks who play in front of him.

“Credit to Deering,” Portland Coach Rocco Frenzilli said. “They came out with a game plan and their game plan was obviously working. I thought we dominated but if we’re not scoring, we’re not in the game.”

The Bulldogs held a 32-2 edge in shots, but most of them came from long range, and most of the balls sailed wide of the mark and over the crossbars.

“Our team defends well together,” said Joel Costigan, Deering’s first-year coach. “We noticed early they were playing a very physical game and playing very quick, and we tried to take some of the pressure away.”

Rovnak, a junior forward, broke the scoreless tie when he put in a rebound of a penalty kick with 9:10 left. It was awarded when Deering sweeper Anthony Verville used his left hand to bat the ball away from an open net.

“It was a nice header by Paley Burlan and it was going to go in until it got batted away,” Rovnak said.

It was the first penalty kick of Rovnak’s high school career, and it wasn’t easy.

Gullbrand made the initial stop, but the ball rolled away from him. Rovnak rushed in to poke it past the goalie, who tried to reach for the ball while laying on the turf.

“My first thought was to go left, but in the middle (of the kick) I changed to go right, which was really stupid of me,” Rovnak said. “But I was lucky enough to get the rebound and put it in.”

“Jamie made a very good save in goal,” Costigan said. “The ball didn’t go very far. I thought he had it, but the ball got free and (Rovnak) definitely cleaned it up.”

Five minutes later, Rovnak scored again.

Ralph Houanche chipped the ball over the sweeper’s head, and Rovnak ran onto it and rolled a hard shot from inside 20 yards into the open net as Gullbrand rushed out to try to make the save.

“We tried to go over the top for the whole game, and it really wasn’t working for us until we finally got that last goal,” Rovnak said.

“We needed this one. It was a signature game for us,” Frenzilli said. “I don’t think we have our identity yet as a team, so I told the boys ‘Let’s go make this our identity game,’ and obviously we did.”

Despite the loss, Costigan said the Rams (2-1) could take some positives from the game.

“We’ve been working on our discipline in the game,” he said. “In the summer and preseason we didn’t do a good job of that, but in the last two games we’ve been able to play without emotions. … We’ve played composed.”

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

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