Waynflete’s boys’ lacrosse team celebrates at the final horn of Saturday’s 7-5 home victory over York. The Flyers remained undefeated on the season. Hoffer photos.

BOX SCORE

Waynflete 7 York 5

Y- 1 2 1 1- 5
W- 0 1 3 3- 7

First quarter
3:02 Y Burke (Healey) (MAN-UP)

Second quarter
9:45 Y Anastas (Healey)
8:45 Y Trafton (unassisted)
2:26 W Whipple (Burton-Johnanson)

Third quarter
11:22 Y Healey (unassisted)
8:23 W Millspaugh (O. Anderson)
5:10 W Millspaugh (unassisted)
3:58 W Lane (Hopkins)

Fourth quarter
10:27 W Millspaugh (Whipple)
8:28 W O. Anderson (Whipple)
7:46 W Hopkins (Lane)
6:11 Y Hines (Trafton) (TWO MEN UP)

Goals:
Y- Anastas, Burke, Healey, Hines, Trafton 1
W- Millspaugh 3, O. Anderson, Hopkins, Lane, Whipple 1

Assists:
Y- Healey 2, Trafton 1
W- Whipple 2, O. Anderson, Burton-Johanson, Hopkins, Lane 1

Faceoffs: (York, 9-7)
Y- Plante 9 of 16
W- Talpey 3 of 9, Isherwood 4 of 7

Ground balls:
Y- 35
W- 40

Turnovers:
Y- 22
W- 20

Shots:
Y- 28
W- 41

Shots on cage:
Y- 17
W- 24

Saves:
Y (Malinoski) 17
W (Vest) 12

PORTLAND—Frustrated and facing its biggest dose of adversity all season, Waynflete’s boys’ lacrosse team responded like the champion it hopes to become Saturday afternoon against visiting York at Fore River Fields.

The Flyers entered the game unblemished, having played just one close game, but after one quarter, their normally prolific attack hadn’t produced a goal, as Wildcats junior goalie Alex Malinoski saved all nine shots he faced, while sophomore Kevin Burke scored a man-up goal to give the visitors the lead.

Juniors Jake Anastas and Huck Trafton added goals and with under three minutes to go in the first half, Waynflete had yet to score, but with 2:26 remaining, the Flyers finally broke through, as senior Sam Whipple scored a man-up goal to make it 3-1 at the break.

Senior Calvin Healey put York back on top by three 38 seconds into the second half, but Waynflete roared to life and by the end of the third quarter had drawn even, as senior standout Harry Millspaugh scored two goals and senior Ned Lane found the net as well.

With Flyers senior goalie Alex Vest stymieing the Wildcats at every turn at the defensive end, Millspaugh gave the Flyers the lead for good with 10:27 to play and senior Owen Anderson and sophomore Roan Hopkins added goals for a seemingly comfortable 7-4 lead.

But York had one final push, as senior Ben Hines scored man-up to cut the deficit to two.

Vest and his defense slammed the door from there, however, and Waynflete was able to close out a 7-5 victory, its seventh without a defeat this season, as the Flyers dropped the Wildcats to 4-4 in the process.

“I think it’s a testament to how resilient we are,” said Millspaugh, who had a game-high three goals. “It’s easy to get complacent because we’ve been on a hot streak. You could see it in the first half when we were a bit slow. In the second half, we pumped up the energy and played fast and scored goals.”

One of the best

Waynflete won the Class C title in 2018 and hoped to repeat in 2019, but lost to eventual champion North Yarmouth Academy in the state semifinals.

After sitting idle a year ago, the Flyers, under new coach Andrew Leach, are sporting a championship look again this spring.

Waynflete opened with a 14-2 win at Lake Region, then downed visiting Wells (11-6), pitched 14-0 shutouts over host Gray-New Gloucester and visiting Freeport, then earned its biggest win of the year, 6-5, at reigning Class B champion Yarmouth, before defeating host St. Dom’s Wednesday, 7-1.

As for York, it opened with an 18-7 loss at Cape Elizabeth, then defeated host Freeport (17-4) and visiting Wells (20-11) before losing at home to Cape Elizabeth (22-10). After wins at Wells (11-5) and Marshwood (12-9), the Wildcats dropped a 21-13 home decision to Berwick Academy Tuesday.

In the teams’ most recent meeting, May 29, 2019, host Waynflete held off York, 10-7.

Saturday, on a fabulous mid-May afternoon (70 degrees with a slight breeze at the start), the Flyers got pushed, but pushed back and got to celebrate at the end.

The tone was set early by Malinoski, who denied Whipple twice.

At the other end, Vest made his first save, on a shot from Healey.

After Malinoski made another save on a Whipple shot, the Wildcats went man-up.

Vest was able to deny bids from Trafton and Burke, but with 3:02 to go in the first quarter, Healey set up Burke for a shot that Vest couldn’t stop and York had a 1-0 lead.

Later in the opening stanza, Malinoski robbed Lane and saved a shot from Whipple, while another Whipple shot hit the post.

In the waning seconds, Malinoski saved a shot from freshman Nils Burton-Johanson and a rebound shot from Lane to keep the Wildcats on top.

“It was tough for the offense,” Millspaugh said. “We had our looks. Shots either went wide or the goalie made great saves. Shout out to their goalie, but our defense was locked down. That kept us in it and kept the offense determined to score.”

The visitors then tacked on two more goals early in the second quarter.

With 9:45 to go before halftime, Healey set up Anastas for a 2-0 lead.

Then, a minute later, Trafton fired a shot which Vest got a piece of but couldn’t prevent from going into the goal, to increase Waynflete’s deficit to three.

“That was pretty frustrating,” Vest said. “The ball hit the top of my stick. It got right by me. When I get a little frustrated, my defenders pick me up and keep me going. When I lose my head, I don’t make saves.”

Waynflete senior Owen Anderson defends York sophomore Kevin Burke during first half action.

York wouldn’t score again in the half, but the Flyers continued to be frustrated, as Millspaugh, Anderson and Anderson again had shots saved from Malinoski.

After Vest robbed Burke, Anastas was sent off for a push and playing man-up, Waynflete finally broke the ice.

After Millspaugh missed high and Hopkins shot wide, Burton-Johanson got the ball to Whipple, who solved Malinoski with 2:26 to go before halftime.

Neither team threatened from there and at the half, the Flyers were down, 3-1, but it could have been worse.

“At halftime we talked about being down two when we made mistakes and took penalties and they had long possessions and I said I thought we were in a good spot,” Leach said. “Give York credit. They came out in the first half and jumped on loose balls.”

The Wildcats added to their lead just 38 seconds into the third quarter when Healey finished unassisted, but the Flyers were about to respond.

After Malinoski saved a shot from Millspaugh, Millspaugh finally broke through with 8:23 to go in the frame, as he finished a feed from Anderson.

After Malinoski robbed Burton-Johanson, Millspaugh struck again with 5:10 on the clock, taking off in transition, eluding a defender, then beating the goalie to cut the deficit to one.

“Once you get that first goal, the energy starts pumping through your veins,” Millspaugh said. “The boys got riled up and it was easier to produce.”

Waynflete then went man-up again and with 3:58 remaining in the third, Hopkins found Lane all alone in front and Lane converted to tie the score, 4-4.

Late in the period, Vest robbed Anastas twice and also denied Healey, while Malinoski preserved the tie by saving a shot in front from Anderson.

The game would be decided in the fourth period, where the Flyers made more of the big plays to emerge victorious.

Vest kept the game tied by saving a shot from Healey 48 seconds in.

Then, with 10:27 remaining, Whipple got the ball to Millspaugh in front and despite slipping while shooting, Millspaugh managed to get the ball past Malinoski to give Waynflete its first lead, 5-4.

Waynflete senior Harry Millspaugh puts a move on York senior Ben Hines.

The Flyers continued to surge, as Whipple set up Anderson for a goal with 8:28 on the clock and 42 seconds later, Lane found Hopkins, who finished, to make it 7-4.

“In the first half, our dodgers, Sam, me and Roan, tried to dodge too much to goal and score, but it didn’t work out,” Millspaugh said. “Once we started sharing the ball, everyone got involved. Owen Anderson had an insane game, shifting defenders left and right. Everyone came up big in the second half.”

“Their goalie was playing on his head in the first half,” Leach said. “This was his best half that I’ve seen. The guys realized we had to make him work for it. We moved off-ball more and got great assists. We created space for Harry to get open. The one more pass gave us some open looks.”

But Waynflete wasn’t out of the woods yet.

With 6:22 to play, two Flyers were sent off, both for slashing, and the Wildcats capitalized 11 seconds later, as Trafton set up Hines to end a 17-minute, 11-second scoring drought, as well as Waynflete’s 6-0 run, and just like that, York was only down, 7-5.

The Flyers were able to possess and run some time off the clock, but the Wildcats got one final chance as Whipple was sent off for cross check to the head with 24 seconds to play.

York had time to get a quick goal and hope to get the ball back with a chance to tie it, but Healey missed wide and Waynflete was able to run out the clock on its 7-5 victory.

“Everyone is here ready to work,” Vest said. “We love to get out here and play. We prepare all week for these games.”

“We talked at halftime and the guys responded, big-time,” Leach said. “We talk about continuing to play the next play. We’ll make mistakes, but we can’t make the next mistake. We had to keep going.”

Millspaugh continued his terrific season with three goals to pace the offense.

“I’ve called Harry a unicorn so many times,” Leach said. “He’s super-talented, high character, so coachable.”

Anderson, Hopkins, Lane and Whipple each added one goal, while Whipple had two assists and Anderson, Burton-Johanson, Hopkins and Lane finished with one apiece.

Vest made 12 critical saves.

“It’s all about keeping that energy and it helps when your whole team is behind you,” Vest said. “Some of those shots were a little slower than I expected, but it clicked for me in the second half. I could see the ball well and the shots wound up in my pocket. It felt good.”

“In the second half, Alex did what York’s goalie did to us in the first half,” Leach said. “He did a great job of making saves from distance. (Defensemen) Ben Adey, Liam Anderson, Mike Veroneau and Jasper Curtis playing the whole game, giving great ball-pressure and knowing when to slide and when to stay, I’m really proud of them.”

The Flyers had a 40-35 edge in ground balls (Burton-Johanson collected a game-high eight), enjoyed a 41-28 shots advantage (24-17 on cage) and overcame 20 turnovers.

York got one goal apiece from Anastas, Burke, Healey, Hines and Trafton.

Healey also had a pair of assists, while Trafton finished with one.

Healey and junior Liam Clayon shared team-high honors with six ground balls.

Malinoski saved 17 shots.

The Wildcats won 9 of 16 faceoffs and turned the ball over 22 times.

Closing strong

York still has home games remaining against NYA, Gorham and Greely before finishing the regular season at Yarmouth.

The Flyers are idle until Friday when they finally get another shot at visiting NYA.

“The (playoff) loss to NYA (in 2019) I thought was an upset and that really made us hungry, so I’m so fired up to see NYA again,” Millspaugh said.

“Playing NYA is a good thing,” Leach said. “The boys have been chomping at the bit for that one. They’re fired up. That’s going to be a great matchup.”

Waynflete also hosts Berwick Academy and Portland, plays at Greely and hopes to schedule a 12th game at some point.

“This squad is pretty young and inexperienced, but a lot of the senior leaders are stepping up and are showing what it means to win and be hungry for a state championship,” Millspaugh said. “I think we’ve got a really good shot at it.”

“Going into the season, I was really excited to have a chance to go to playoffs and win a championship,” said Vest. “First and foremost, we want to stay COVID-clean. We’ll keep showing up at practice and grind. We want to get to the finish line.”

“I knew coming in, with the seniors especially, I knew it would go well, but I didn’t know it would go this well this early,” Leach added. “I credit the guys who played soccer (for a two-time Class C champion which went undefeated last fall), who play against the big boys during the soccer season. They play an aggressive soccer schedule and they look for big moments. They love playing the big guys. Playing a tough closing schedule gets us ready for the playoffs.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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