OLD TOWN, Maine — With the high school soccer season now in its second half, teams are paying more attention to where they stand in the Heal point ratings — particularly given the Maine Principals’ Association decision earlier this year to reduce postseason fields from 66 percent of the teams in each division to just 50 percent.
Old Town squared off against Mount Desert Island of Bar Harbor on Thursday afternoon in a clash of Class B teams currently on the outside looking in, and Luke Bartlett scored on a penalty kick with 3:21 left in the second overtime to give the host Coyotes a 4-3 victory.
MDI was whistled for pushing Bartlett from behind in the penalty area after Old Town had lofted a kick toward the goal crease.
The Coyotes’ senior co-captain then hit a low shot to the right of diving MDI goalie Connor Records that enabled the Coyotes to improve their record to 4-4.
“I kind of got pushed from behind,” said Bartlett. “I was kind of off-balance anyway so it made it look worse than it was, but it was in the penalty box.
“I was just thinking ‘let’s put this one in and get it over with.’”
Lucas Baillargeon and Jake Leithiser each added a goal and an assist for Old Town, while Josh Moul also scored and Matt Richard contributed an assist.
Carl Ferm paced MDI with a goal and an assist, while Ben Steel and Devin Young also scored.
Old Town entered the contest ranked 15th in Eastern Maine Class B, one spot behind MDI.
Just nine teams from that division will qualify for the playoffs that begin with preliminary-round matches on Oct. 24.
“You’re always thinking about where you are in terms of the standings because you don’t want to miss the playoffs,” said Bartlett. “But I just think we need to play our game and not really worry about that right now. We’ll worry about that toward the end of the season and the last couple of games. Right now we’ve just got to play soccer and win games.”
For 4-5 MDI, the loss was especially frustrating given that the Trojans rallied from a 3-1 deficit to force overtime — the tying goal coming when Steel skimmed home a header off Ferm’s direct kick from the left wing with just 27 seconds left in the second half.
To a certain extent, at least, Old Town could sympathize with MDI’s disappointment.
“We’ve played a couple of games when we’ve actually outplayed the other team but come out on the losing end,” said Old Town coach Mark Graffam. “This was almost was one of those games for us.”
Old Town outshot MDI 16-5, with Lee Larry and Cody Cross combining for two saves for the Coyotes while Records made 11 stops for the Trojans.
Leithiser gave Old Town a 1-0 lead with 18:04 left in the first half after being sent in ahead of the field on a pass from Baillargeon.
Moul made it 2-0 with 5:04 left, redirecting a cross into the goal crease by Richard past Records.
Ferm scored on a 30-yard direct kick from the left side 2:20 into the second half to pull MDI within 2-1, but Baillargeon took a pass from Leithiser and put a sharp-angled shot from the right wing inside the far post four minutes later to restore Old Town to a two-goal lead.
Young was credited a goal with 23:33 left when his throw-in from the right wing deflected off Cross’ hands and went just under the crossbar.