ORONO — The game was less than eight minutes old and the Orono High School boys soccer team was staring at a 2-0 deficit against rival Old Town on Monday afternoon.
But the Coyotes never scored again and the Class C Riots rallied to score the next five goals, including three by senior Miguel Caballero for a 5-2 victory as they improved to 4-3-1.
Class B Old Town fell to 5-4.
Orono striker Mathew Cloutier, who got the rally started by scoring with 30:01 remaining in the first half, said the Riots didn’t panic when they fell behind.
“We still had a lot of time,” said Cloutier.
“We’ve gotten used to being down 2-0,” said James Normand, who made it 4-2 early in the second half.
After Matt Melanson and Gabe Melmed staked the Coyotes to a 2-0 lead with goals 6:36 apart, Cloutier converted a short pass from Dan Perry, who sent him in alone down the right side of the penalty area.
“Dan gave me a nice through ball and I put it far corner,” said Cloutier.
Caballero tied it with the first of his two goals from the penalty spot.
A shot off his own was ruled to have hit a Coyote hand in the penalty area and he calmly converted the penalty kick by placing it to the left of goalkeeper Jameson Ploch with 15:31 left in the half.
Caballero scored the game-winner with 1:33 remaining in the half as he was left unmarked in the middle of the penalty area and he easily headed Chris Introne’s well-placed corner kick past Ploch.
“Viktor (Domberg) went to the near post so I took the middle,” said Caballero.
His goal came just a few minutes after Coyotes had a similar opportunity only to have Drew Van Steenberghe’s header off Melmed’s corner sail over the crossbar.
The Coyotes pressed for the equalizer early in the second half, generating the first five shot attempts only to miss the net a few times and have Orono goalie Conor McKaig come up with a couple of good saves.
Orono extended the lead against the run of play 10:12 into the second half off a well-executed free kick sequence.
Domberg lofted a free kick toward the far post and Introne headed it across the goal mouth right into the path of Normand, who blasted it into the net from 10 yards out.
“I timed my run. I was coming in second (behind a teammate),” said Normand.
Caballero capped his hat trick with 22:24 remaining after Cloutier was tripped in the penalty area.
Again Caballero put his penalty kick to the left of the goalie, Scott Smart.
Smart had replaced Ploch after the fourth goal.
Caballero’s goal was his 12th of the season.
“I read the goalie first and put it where I think he isn’t going to jump,” explained Caballero.
Old Town had opened the scoring when Matt Melanson pounced on a loose ball in the penalty area after Thorbin Trebing’s shot was blocked, pushed it around a defender and slid it past McKaig from eight yards out.
Melmed was credited with the second goal when his corner kick sailed beyond the far post and glanced into the net off an Orono defender.
With Caballero and German exchange student Trebing creating space and scoring chances with their exceptional skills, the game evolved into an entertaining wide-open affair.
McKaig played extremely well, finishing with nine saves on 27 shots, and his mates did a much more effective job defensively after allowing the first two goals.
Cameron Dwyer and Swedish exchange student Domberg efficiently tightened up the back line for Orono and the Riots double- and triple-teamed Old Town leading scorer Trebing whenever he touched the ball.
“The better team won,” said Old Town coach Mark Graffam. “We’ve got to find some other people (other than Trebing) to score and we have to play with a little more passion.”
Ploch finished with six saves on 20 shots and Smart made three on eight.