TOWNSEND -- North Middlesex has built 2-0 leads in each of its two-of-its first four games this season, but it has not been able to hold on for the win.
That all changed Tuesday morning when it hosted St. Bernard's.
The Patriots jumped out to a 2-0 lead midway through the first quarter behind goals from Ryan MacDonald and AJ Gearin.
North Middlesex held on for its first win of season, 12-9, behind a four-goal performance from Gearin and multi-goal games from MacDonald and Corey DaSilva (3 goals, 2 assists).
"It feels good to get the win," North Middlesex head coach Paul Giacobbe said. "We moved the ball a lot better than we had in the past.
We were able to push and get good opportunities in transition.
We blew a 2-0 lead against Algonquin and Tyngsboro, but we were not able to hang on.
Today our defense played together and communicated well -- I think that was the difference maker."
When the Saints and Patriots met last season at the Bernardian Bowl, it was a grind it out game.
On Tuesday it was much of the same.
"We blew a five goal lead on this team two years ago and last year it was a low scoring game," he said.
"I know they run the backer zone and thought they'd pressure at x today, but they didn't. We got some good feeds out of AJ Gearin today."
MacDonald drew first blood with a wicked bullet that found the low right corner of the cage to give the Patriots a 1-0 lead just 23 seconds in.
The hard-hitting St. Bernard's defense settled in and challenged the North Middlesex attack .
The Patriots broke through when Gearin (game-high 4 goals, 5 assists) corralled a feed from behind the cage by MacDonald and blasted the ball from pointblank range past St. Bernard's goalie Conner McHew to make it 2-0 with 7:30 remaining in the first quarter.
The Saints answered back a minute later with a goal by Sean LeFlamme from the top of the point.
LeFlamme launched a screamer from 15-yards that beat North Middlesex goalkeeper Eric Murphy low right.
With five minutes remaining in the first quarter, the Saints struck again.
Curtiss Vachon uncorked a side-winding shot from the top of the attacking zone to bring the two sides level at 2-2.
North Middlesex closed the quarter two more goals from TJ Melanson and Gearin. Gearin's goal came with five seconds remaining in the quarter.
North Middlesex padded its lead with five more goals in the second quarter. The Patriots carried a 9-5 advantage into half time.
The Saints knocked in a couple of goals in the quarter from Vachon and Tom DeNault, both goals came 15 seconds at 6:45 and 6:30 of the third quarter.
North Middlesex's lone goal of the third quarter came with 35 seconds remaining when DaSilva scored on a blistering shot from the right side to make it 10-7.
North Middlesex added a pair of insurance goals in the fourth quarter from MacDonald and Gearin.
Giacobbe was impressed with the play of his midfielders and defensemen.
"Mike Carson took St B's best attackman (Vachon) and shut him down," he said. "Carson did a good job staying on him in man defense which was great -- that was a big key to the game."