One year after having its quest for an undefeated regular season end with a one-goal loss at Windham, the Portland boys’ lacrosse team returned the favor Friday at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

The Bulldogs scored four quick goals in the first quarter, then held on for a 6-5 victory – sending the Eagles to their first loss after nine wins while improving their own record to 9-1.

After building its early advantage, Portland went cold for 27 minutes but never relinquished the lead. The Eagles pulled within one and had a chance to tie in the waning seconds, but John Sylvain made a clutch save to preserve the victory.

Windham’s Liam McCusker tries to get past Portland’s Mikias Silva. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

“It took a couple years off my life but I’m happy we won,” said Portland Coach Mike DiFusco. “They bring it every time we play them. It was a good game. We hadn’t really been in a close game, so it’s a good experience. It’s a big win for us moving forward.”

Neither team scored for more than six minutes before Grant Jacobson connected. Sam Gerber then added a goal, and after Liam McCusker unanswered unassisted for Windham, Jacobson scored again and Nick Leavitt added another for a 4-1 lead after one quarter.

Eagles goalie Ben Elliott then stopped the Bulldogs, making 12 first-half saves. And when Seth Wall scored in the second quarter, Windham was within 4-2 at the break.

Portland also didn’t score in the third quarter but Windham couldn’t take advantage, only scoring once to pull within 4-3 on a goal from McCusker.

Windham’s Thomas Lekousi makes a move to try to get around Portland’s Nicholas Leavitt. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

The Bulldogs finally got a goal with 10:16 to play when Miki Silva finished a feed from Evan Bay.

“We found good shots in the first quarter, then we got out of rhythm,” said DiFusco. “Once we got out of the penalty box, we were able to capitalize again.”

Silva set up Bay for a 6-3 lead with 8:50 to go, but the Eagles charged back.

Matty Babb scored from McCusker with 5:40 to play, then Babb scored unassisted with 2:02 remaining to make it 6-5.

Holden Anderson won the ensuing faceoff and the Eagles had a couple looks at a tying goal, but Tyler Woolston missed wide and McCusker was denied by Sylvain to end it.

“We knew (Woolston) would start with (the ball), and we had to close it up and trust our D and our goalie,” said Silva. “That last save was unbelievable. He tracked it the whole way.”

Sylvain finished with six saves. Windham got 17 saves from Elliott.

“Our guys played tough right until the end and had some opportunities at the end, and that’s what you want,” said Windham Coach Pete Small. “We’ve played 10 games, and honestly, we’ve improved every game. We’ve got Gorham and then Bonny Eagle to finish. We have to go take care of business.”

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