It is often said the third time is the charm. Well, it certainly was for long-time Belfast Area High School field hockey coach Allen Holmes Tuesday as he won his 400th career game after that coveted victory eluded him — and his team — in two recent one-goal losses.

Holmes reached 399 career wins in the Lions’ first game of the season, a 1-0 victory over Waterville. However, the next two attempts, against Winslow and Nokomis of Newport, ended with tough one-goal losses, including 2-1 to the Black Raiders and 1-0 to the Warriors.

But, this time the home-standing Lions (2-2) were ready seal the deal for their beloved and respected coach and the milestone victory came with Tuesday’s 3-0 win over Hampden Academy (1-4).

Holmes joked that he wished Belfast had scored four goals to even out the pattern, however, he said he was happy about finally reaching the milestone. Holmes estimates that his career mark is around 400-147-35. Of course, Holmes also has led the Lions to six state Class B championships and 11 Eastern Class B titles during his storied tenure.

“I’m glad that it’s over,” Holmes said. “The program’s accomplishment is just unbelievable.”

“It’s a great milestone for Belfast athletics,” said Belfast athletic director Mark Babin.

Holmes’ players had similar feelings as they dumped water on the coach, carried him to the bench, and celebrated the win with cake, all while laughing, cheering, and smiling.

Not only is Holmes part of a select group of Maine high school athletic coaches with 400 career wins, but he is the only high school field hockey coach in the state to boast such a record.

“That’s pretty awesome,” he said about the honor. “[It has taken] a lot of hard work, a lot of dedication, a lot of good parent support [and] administrative support. So it’s all worked together. So it’s a good win for Belfast and the surrounding communities.”

The game — and ultimately the milestone victory — almost did not happen. Thanks to a strong bout of rain, the game could have been called off at halftime with the score on the board being final. The game was scoreless at that point.

However, despite the rain the game went on and Belfast dominated the second half. Ashland Hall led the team with two goals, one at the 20:17-mark and another at 2:34. Helene Wallace assisted the first goal and Lauren Rice the second. Rice had an opportunity to shoot for the cage and score but opted for the pass, which coach Holmes commended her for.

Madison Cummings also scored a goal with 17:26 remaining as Hall assisted.

Paxton Mohney was in the cage for Belfast and faced one Hampden Academy shot. Maggie Ross and Chelsea Cosey shared the goal for the visitors and faced 17 shots. Ross made all 10 saves for the Broncos.

Belfast also held an 11-1 edge in penalty corners.

Now that the milestone victory has been achieved, Holmes said he and the team are focused on the task at hand. He wants to lead this year’s squad to victory and “go from there,” he said. “I’ll take this team as far as they can go.”

Village NetMedia Sports Reporter Frederick Freudenberger can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at fritz@villagesoup.com.