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TOWNSEND — Hayden Lynch scored four goals and Quintin Forbes did a sensational job of distributing the ball with five assists to lead the Groton-Dunstable boys lacrosse team to a 9-4 win over North Middlesex.

“I really liked the way we played in the first half,” said Groton-Dunstable coach Rick Arena. “We started moving the ball offensively and we got a lot of good looks at the goal. We came into the game down two defensive starters, but Myles Markham and Matt McKay really stepped up. A.J. Dufresne was outstanding defensively for us, and our defense played a very smart game.”

“We just need to clear the ball better from our own end and we had way too many turnovers,” said North Middlesex coach Paul Giacobbe. “Our defense is inexperience, but they are getting better. Goaltender Chris Gersh was awesome in net for us and made some outstanding saves. Our offense started working better together in the second half and we were able to score a couple of goals.”

North MIddlesex drew first blood, taking a 1-0 lead in the first quarter when Will Faulkner scored, but Groton-Dunstable came on and took control of the game with three unanswered goals over the remainder of the period.

Jack Barrett tied the game, assisted by Forbes, before Kyle McCullough put the Crusaders on top for good, assisted by Forbes.

Lynch netted his first of the game to cap the first period scoring.

The Crusaders maintained the momentum in the second quarter, outshooting the Patriots 9-4 and scoring the only three goals to extend the lead to 6-1 at halftime.

At 6:29, Matt Manning took a pass in the slot from Forbes and fired a 15-yard shot inside the left post to make it 4-1.

Just over two minutes later, Lynch scored at the end of a fast break, taking a long pass from Forbes and putting a low shot inside the left post.

Gersh (18 saves in the game) and Groton-Dunstable’s Mike Kerwin came up with some strong stops in the period. Gersh denied David Sweet’s hard, low shot from left wing while Kerwin denied Faulkner from close range.

The Groton-Dunstable defense, keyed by Dufresne, did a solid job of stopping North Middlesex one-on-one forays and kept the Patriots’ offense on the perimeter.

Manning capped the scoring in the first half, with a 15-yard shot inside the left post, after taking a pass from Forbes.

The Crusaders upped the advantage to 7-1 at 2:43 of the third quarter when Tristan Lynch scooped up a rebound and scored after Gersh had made the initial save.

The Patriots tightened up defensively over the next 18 minutes and climbed back into the game.

Faulkner netted a low shot after taking a pass at the left post from Nick Scaltreto to make it 7-2, which was the score entering the fourth quarter.

The Patriots made it interesting with a pair of goals within 53 seconds in the fourth quarter.

At 4:25, Scaltreto fired a shot under the cross bar to make it 7-3 after Mike Sulmonetti set the play up with a strong run and an accurate pass.

At 5:18, Scaltreto (goal, two assists) sent a pass in front to Dom DiTommaso, who bounced a shot into the goal.

The Crusaders responded with the final two tallies of the contest to pull away, both by Hayden Lynch.

At 7:57, he circled the net and scored from close range, before netting a 10-yard bouncing shot at 9:12.

“We came out flat in the third quarter,” said Arena. “After they drew to within 7-4 we finished strong, but we need to start playing four good quarters.”

“We’re making progress,” said Giacobbe. “We had a couple of new kids join the team this week and that should add to our depth.”