In the case of the Belfast field hockey team, the third time, eventually, was a charm.

The No. 3 Lions and top-seeded Nokomis of Newport were deadlocked in a classic battle for the Eastern Class B championship Tuesday night at blustery, cold Hampden Academy before the Lions, having yet to pick up a win against the Warriors in their two previous meetings this season, were awarded a penalty corner with no time remaining at the end of the second overtime.

Sophomore Maddy Cummings cleaned up her own rebound and scored the lone goal of the game as Belfast upset the defending state Class B champions with a thrilling 1-0 victory in a game played on the fast, artificial surface at Hampden Academy.

With the stunning, dramatic victory, the Lions (13-1-3) move on to the state Class B championship game on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 3 p.m. at Yarmouth High School, where they will face Western Class B titlist York (16-1) for the coveted crown.

The Warriors’ season concluded at 15-1-1.

On the game-winning goal at the end of the second OT, Emily Blood inserted on the corner and knocked the ball to the top of the circle to Brooklyn Curry, who found the seam and the cutting Cummings inside. Cummings then fired a shot off the pads of Warrior goalie Kendra Underhill and the ball bounded back to Cummings, who fired again and beat the keeper to the right to clinch the regional title for the Lions.

“We kind of figured they were going to be looking over us,” said Cummings of the higher-seeded Warriors. “So we’ve been practicing on turf to get better and we just had a different strategy today and it really worked.”

“We practice those rebounds,” said 39-year Belfast coach Allen Holmes, whose team clinched its 11th regional title in 15 chances. “Obviously, not under the same pressure situations, but we’re very happy with the results and the girls are pretty excited. We’re going to the state final and that’s pretty darn good. That was our goal at the start of the season and it looks like it’s going to happen.”

It was the second time Cummings scored the game-winner in this year’s postseason as she earned the winning goal in the 20th round of penalty corners in the quarterfinals against No. 6 Foxcroft Academy of Dover-Foxcroft.

On Tuesday, Julia Ward made seven saves on 12 shots and was sensational in the cage for the Lions, while Underhill made six saves on seven shots for the regional runners-up. Nokomis also held an 11-2 edge in penalty corners during regulation.

Then the two teams played two eight-minute, 7-on-7 overtime periods, with Cummings sending the Lion fans home happy with a score after time had expired in the second extra frame.

The Lions salvaged a 1-1 tie in double-overtime against the Warriors in the first game of the regular season and dropped a 3-0 decision to Nokomis in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B title game. Thus, Belfast finished 1-1-1 against Nokomis this season.

Defense played a significant role in the outcome of Tuesday’s playoff game as the Warriors had multiple chances to put the Lions away in both regulation and overtime. The two best chances came when Warrior senior Leah Edmundson was awarded a penalty shot after a shot on goal went off the foot of Lion Katrina Lapham in front of the goal, but Edmundson missed wide left with 5:39 remaining in the second overtime.

Lapham also was involved in what was the defensive play of the day — perhaps the year — with less than a minute remaining in regulation when she made a stick save — bringing her stick about midway up her body — behind Ward and amidst a sea of players on a blistering shot by Warrior Marissa Shaw that could have won the game for Nokomis.

“Reflexes,” Lapham said to describe the play. “That’s all it was. I don’t even remember it happening.”

“Kat came over to me during one of those timeouts and said, ‘Coach, I don’t think I can do that again,’ ” said Holmes. “I told her, ‘You’ve done it twice [so] maybe we can take the pressure off you on the other end and do something that way.’ ”

Ward’s standout play kept Belfast’s chances alive as she made many terrific saves against the hard-hitting Edmundson and Marissa Shaw, among others.

But, through determination and grit, the Lions are off to the state Class B final and Holmes and his young student-athletes are on cloud nine.

“It’s almost like watching those people on TV getting interviewed after they do something,” he said. “You can’t believe it’s really happened. But these guys have made believers out of me most of the year. We had a little lull there [at the end of the regular season] when we played Mount View and we didn’t score and we played these guys in the KVACs and didn’t score. So, to come back and get this one in the fashion we did was really special.”

The Lions won the state Class B crown in three straight seasons from 2004-06 as well as state titles in 1989, 1985 and 1979, all under Holmes’ leadership.

Additionally from Tuesday’s playoff game, Belfast’s Kristi Osgood left the game in the first half with 16:54 remaining after she was struck in the head and lay on the turf for several minutes. Edmundson had scored for Nokomis after the injury occurred and while other Lion players, and an official, were attending Osgood, but the goal was disallowed.

Osgood left the game and did not return. She received five stitches after the game at Waldo County General Hospital. She will be required to take a concussion test before being cleared to play in Saturday’s state championship game.

Last year, No. 6 Nokomis beat No. 3 Belfast 2-1 in overtime in the quarterfinals before advancing all the way to the state final, and winning the coveted crown.

Village NetMedia Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email at