Madawaska's Brady Gagnon lays out for a shot on goal during the Owls' 10-0 victory versus Fort Fairfield at home on Friday night. Gagnon had two goals and three assists on the night. Credit: Hannah Catlin / St. John Valley Times

MADAWASKA, Maine — The Madawaska varsity boys soccer team shut out Fort Fairfield at home on Friday night.

The Owls strung together a decisive 10-0 victory following a loss to Fort Kent earlier in the week that broke their undefeated record. Madawaska is now 7-1-1 and Fort Fairfield moves to 1-4-0 on the season.

“They came back like I wanted them to,” head coach Ben Gagnon said. “They didn’t come back with their heads down, they came back to play.”

Fort Fairfield’s Chase Coiley (left) carries the ball into the Owls’ defensive territory, passing Madawaska’s Chris Martin (center) and approaching Geoffrey Lavoie (right) during the Owls’ 10-0 victory versus Fort Fairfield at home on Friday night. Credit: Hannah Catlin / St. John Valley Times

It was a strong passing game for the Owls, who capitalized on well-placed balls in front of their strikers on the wings — diving into the corners for long crosses to the center forwards. Crowding the goal, Owls players more than once went flying into the back of the net in attempts to tip the ball in.

Scoring for Madawaska was led by Carsen Cyr, who put up five with three assists. His first goal of the game was a header off a big cross from teammate Sam Dufresne.

Dufresne had two assists in the first half, and had two goals of his own in the second. Brady Gagnon put up two goals as well with three assists. The Owls’ goals were rounded out by Nick Poitras. Additional assists came from Ian Beaulieu and Chris Martin.

Madawaska’s Carsen Cyr (left) dribbles into the Fort Fairfield penalty box past Elijah Lyons (center) and Silias Libby (right) during the Owls’ 10-0 victory versus Fort Fairfield at home on Friday night. Cyr had five goals and three assists. Credit: Hannah Catlin / St. John Valley Times

“We moved the ball at times very well tonight defensively, [but] it’s something we’re really looking to improve on,” head coach Cody Tompkins said. “We’ve got to step to the ball, we’ve got to mark better.”

With a season that’s been dogged by COVID-19 cancellations and schedule reshuffling, Gagnon said he wants his players to enjoy the season and get the most out of each game they can.

Gagnon has been the varsity soccer coach for four years, but led these same players at the middle school level and even back during their recreational soccer days. Junior Brady Gagnon, who scored two on Friday, is his son.

“My team’s biggest strength is that they are a group of committed athletes who have played together since they were 4 years old,” Gagnon said. “They are a great group of boys who enjoy playing together outside of games and practices. It is not uncommon for me to get a call or message that I should come join the crew of them playing at the field.”

A banner strung over the Owls’ home field on Friday night celebrated the 40th birthday of head coach Ben Gagnon. Credit: Hannah Catlin / St. John Valley Times

Friday was Gagnon’s 40th birthday, and the field was decorated with balloons and a banner strung over the announcer’s booth above the game. After the game, Gagnon posed with his team below the banner and they showered him with confetti.

Gagnon’s wife, Vanessa, led the decoration effort Friday afternoon. She said she was glad he got to spend his birthday with his team. When people ask them how many kids they have, she added, “Ben says 22.”

Hannah Catlin

Hannah Catlin is a reporter at the St. John Valley Times/Fiddlehead Focus in Madawaska, Maine.