Wisdom's Carter Pelletier (middle) charges down the field toward Madawaska's net, pursued by Nick Poitras (left) and Adam Gendreau (right). Pelletier scored the game-winning goal in Wisdom's 2-1 Class D North quarterfinal victory at home Tuesday. Credit: Hannah Catlin / St. John Valley Times

ST. AGATHA, Maine — The Wisdom boys took a 2-1 victory at home against Madawaska Tuesday afternoon, in what was a tense Class D North quarterfinal between the high ranking, neighboring teams.

Wisdom’s Camden Pelletier produced the game-winning shot with just 20 seconds left to play, giving the Pioneers the victory.

No. 4 Wisdom (14-2 overall) faces the winner of No. 1 Bangor Christian (13-1-2) versus No. 9 Machias (9-5) Friday in the Class D North semifinals. The fifth seeded Owls finish their season with an 11-4-1 record.

Madawaska striker Carter Gagnon (right) pushes the ball into the Pioneers’ corner, chased by Wisdom’s Dawson Gagnon during Wisdom’s 2-1 Class D North quarterfinal victory Tuesday. Credit: Hannah Catlin / St. John Valley Times

Tuesday’s game began with a first-half shutout in Madawaska’s favor. A shot from Brady Gagnon landed in the net less than 10 minutes into the game, and from there the Owls were able to defend their half and control the ball well, preventing excessive shots on net.

In the second half, however, the Pioneers came back with a vengeance. Kaden Daigle landed Wisdom’s first goal just five minutes into the half. From there, the offense kicked into gear, largely keeping the game on Madawaska’s half and taking a number of close shots on net.

Owls goalie Chris Bouchard put in a strong performance, and Madawaska tried to rally late in the game with several near-scores.

Wisdom’s Logan Lagasse prepares to send a crossing pass during Wisdom’s 2-1 Class D North quarterfinal victory over Madawaska Tuesday. Credit: Hannah Catlin / St. John Valley Times

Wisdom Coach Dominique Rossignol said he was thrilled with his team’s performance. While the Pioneers have led most of their victories throughout the season, and were a bit shocked by going down in the first half, Rossignol said he had no doubt the rally was coming.

“We’re just warriors, we just don’t quit,” Rossignol said. “I just have way too much character on that team to do anything other than believe they were going to come back and turn that around.”

Rossignol was particularly thrilled by Daigle’s performance. Daigle was the team’s goalkeeper coming into the season, but lost the position early after missing several games due to COVID-19. Daigle scoring the game tying goal was evidence of his commitment to his team despite difficult circumstances, Rossignol said.

Madawaska’s Carsen Cyr (left) drives the ball in toward the Pioneers’ net pursued by Jack Desjardins during Wisdom’s 2-1 Class D North quarterfinal victory Tuesday. Credit: Hannah Catlin / St. John Valley Times

It was a difficult loss for the Owls, who have been dominant this season driven by strong offensive performances and ball control up and down the field. The vast majority of Madawaska’s players will return next year, with only one graduating senior leaving the team.

“They played well today. Either team could have won that at any point,” Madawaska Coach Ben Gagnon said. “Next year’s looking bright.”

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Hannah Catlin

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