With four games remaining in the regular season against top-tier opponents, the Mount View boys soccer team desperately needed a win heading into Tuesday’s road showdown with rival Belfast if the Mustangs hoped to stay in the hunt for an Eastern Class B playoff spot.

And with their backs against the wall, the Mustangs delivered.

The visitors got a goal late in the first half to knot the score and secured what proved to be the game-winner early in the second half as Mount View got a much-needed 2-1 victory over Waldo County rival Belfast Tuesday.

James Philbrick had a goal and an assist for visiting Mount View (5-4-2), while Aaron Elkins also creased the net and Zoli Kertesz added an assist in the victory. Yanni Rakis scored the lone goal for Belfast (5-6).

Chris Montminy made four saves in net for the Mustangs, while the goalie trio of Eric Gaulin, Scott Kulikowski and Tremmil Groene combined to make five saves for the Lions. Mount View outshot Belfast 8-6 and held a 5-2 advantage in corner kicks.

“We’ve been trying to break through and trying to win that big game and tonight was that big game,” said Mount View coach Chris Hink. “We have big games the rest of the way, but to get one here and there is huge for [Heal] Points. Because everything is so close, and that might jump us [up the ladder] and maybe give us some momentum going into these last three [regular-season] games.”

The win — for the moment — shoots Mount View to seventh in the Maine Principals’ Association Heal Point Standings for Eastern Class B, while Belfast falls to ninth. The top nine teams qualify for postseason play in Eastern Class B.

Mount View (5-4-2, 33.4821 points) is seventh and Belfast (5-6, 29.4643 points) ninth. Camden Hills (10-0-1, 84.3750 points) is first in the 18-team region.

Belfast started the game well in control, putting a handful of quality scoring chances on goal and keeping the ball in the Mustang defensive end. The best chance of the early going came when freshman Chris Williams fired a shot on goal that rocketed off Montminy and bounced back out into the box, where a Lion teammate had a chance at a header that skimmed the crossbar and bounced out of bounds.

Minutes later, the Lions pounced first as Ben Shepherd collided with Montminy on a 50/50 ball near the top of the box, which Shepherd managed to push by the Mustang keeper. Rakis got a foot on the ball and touched it into the net, giving Belfast the lead with 21:22 remaining.

Belfast looked to be in control, however, the complexion of the game changed with roughly 10 minutes to go in the first half, when Gaulin collided with a Mount View player and left the game with an apparent ankle injury. Kulikowski relieved Gaulin for the final 10 minutes of the first half, while Groene played in goal for Belfast in the second half.

Belfast coach Carl Violette felt it was then that the complexion of the game changed in favor of the Mustangs.

“He’s a captain and he usually brings a lot of confidence,” the coach said of Gaulin. “And I think [the defense] lost [some of that]. We still had a lot of good opportunities, but Mount View defended well and we didn’t penetrate like we wanted to.”

Violette said his team only went about 12 players deep Tuesday, with many of his players physically spent from the junior varsity game played prior to the varsity match.

Less than five minutes after the change in goal, Kertesz found Philbrick open on the right side of the field near the goal and fired a shot across the goalmouth and into the far side of the net with 5:38 remaining to knot the score.

Mount View added another score with 31:10 left in the second half when Elkins chased down a pass from midfield and pushed the ball past Groene, who was playing well out of the box in an effort to track down the loose ball.

The ball nestled into the net, which proved to be the game’s final tally.

The remainder of the game proved to be a stalemate for both teams, with neither squad willing to surrender either an insurance goal or a game-tying goal. However, Belfast had its best chance to score with five minutes remaining in regulation, when Montminy stepped out of the box during a goal kick to give the Lions the ball.

Belfast transitioned quickly and had a strong look at the net straight off the foot of Rakis from about 20 feet out, but a well-timed jump by Montminy gave him his fourth and final save of the night.

Mount View has three point-worthy games remaining on its schedule. The Mustangs will play their final home game Thursday, Oct. 7 against Oak Hill of Sabattus before ending the regular season on the road Wednesday, Oct. 13 at Winslow and Friday, Oct. 15 at top-ranked Camden Hills. Belfast plays at Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield on Thursday, Oct. 7 and hosts Medomak Valley of Waldoboro on Wednesday, Oct. 13 before ending the regular season on the road on Tuesday, Oct. 19 against Nokomis of Newport.

Hink feels the Mustangs are a “sleeper” team going forward, and hopes the Mustangs can continue the momentum into the Eastern Class B playoffs.

“We lost a lot [of seniors] last year, but it’s a new team this year,” he said. “There’s lots of grinding and we’ve got to learn from every game and that’s what these boys are doing. And if they can keep building off that, you never know.”

As for the Lions?

“We have three games left, and we have to win them to stay in at this point [in the Heal Point Standings],” said Violette.

Village NetMedia Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at mhaskell@villagesoup.com.