For the dynasty-driven Troy Howard Middle School of Belfast field hockey program, winning is the name of the game and, for the Lions, the game is good. Very, very good.

The talented Lions proved again on Saturday, Oct. 20 that it has their claws on the coveted Busline League championship — and a proven year-after-year and decade-after-decade winning formula — and is not about to release its grip on the prize.

For opponents such as Oceanside of Thomaston, which has had a strong measure of success in the sport for years, that meant another runner-up finish in the single-elimination postseason tournament.

Playing in the late afternoon on the fast artificial surface at Point Lookout, the Lions' skills were on full display as they earned a 5-1 win over Oceanside on a warm but blustery day.

Watch video, and see more photos, below.

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Click to see more middle school field hockey photos.

The No. 1 Lions finished 11-0 overall, including 2-0 in the playoffs, and now have won 51 straight games. The No. 2 Mariners (7-4) finished as runners-up, something they also did last year against THMS.

Troy Howard has won the last seven league championships.

In Saturday's game, Breanna Shorey finished with a goal and three assists, while Harley Sniger added two goals, Chelsea Gaiero a goal and assist and Kara Richards a goal for the champs.

For Oceanside, Collette Black knocked a ball into the back of the cage.

The Lions, led by coach Sara McIntire and assistant coach Brianna Brennick, include Audra Faulkingham, Mia Fay, Gaiero, Lauren Hall, Julia Littlefield, Macey Morse, Trinity Paquin, Malashia Powell, Richards, Paige Rollerson, Brynne Sawyer, Sniger, Mia Winslow, Kimburly Berry, Danielle Hicock, Katie Leach, Mallory Morse, Sophia Taylor, Shyann Walker, Abigail Watts, Jara Brown, Lawless Desrochers, Mackenzie Gibbons, Audri Goodwin, Danica Gray, Jade Haber, Kali Knight, Amelia Lepow, Ava Markam, Monee Peak, Shorey and Kayla Wight.

The Mariners, led by coach Allison Ward, include Winter Adams, Geneva Alley, Ryan Allyn, Elizabeth Barstow, Black, Bailee Breen, Allison Colburn, Kaylee Griffin, Hannah Grindle, Mackenzie Hobbs, Della Johnson, Kylie Johnson, Taylor Landry, Melissa Lavi, Emma Morrison, Cassidy Novicka, Reese Novicka, Sophie Protheroe, Hazel Raggozzine, Madolin Ripley, Melriam Rowland, Gabby Tolman and Keaonna Turner.

In the championship game, Grindle played in the cage for the Mariners and Peak in goal for the Lions.

The game was tied 1-1 before the Lions tallied the final four goals. Richards scored at the 20-minute mark of the first half to give Troy Howard a 1-0 lead before Black answered 10 seconds later to make it 1-1.

However, Shorey scored at 16:06 of the first half to give the Lions an advantage they never relinquished.

Gaiero followed at 23:51 of the second half and Sniger finished with back-to-back goals at 23:36 and 23:07 for the final goals.

The final regular-season standings were: Troy Howard 9-0, Oceanside 6-3, Boothbay 5-4, Nobleboro 3-6 and Camden-Rockport 0-9.

The postseason began with a pair of thrillers on Tuesday, Oct. 16 as No. 5 Camden-Rockport swung to a 2-1, triple-overtime victory over No. 4 Nobleboro and No. 2 Oceanside earned a 1-0, double-overtime win over No. 3 Boothbay.

Then, in a Thursday, Oct. 18 semifinal, No. 1 Troy Howard forged a 6-0 win over No. 5 Camden-Rockport. Additionally, that victory for the Lions over the Schooners marked their 50th straight win dating back to 2014.

“The girls played really well,” said coach Bryant of her squad's effort against CRMS. “After the game, the THMS girls congratulated their goalie and I got a huge group hug from the high school girls. It was a great feeling. It is also a great group of girls.”

The win streak began when this year’s Belfast Area High School senior class of field hockey players were in eighth grade.

“They lost the first game versus Boothbay that season and then won the rest,” said Bryant of her 2014 squad. “The girls were really excited to be part of the [milestone] win. And, of course, they [were] excited to be playing Saturday for the championship.”

McIntire said the 50th-victory game was “a whirlwind of emotions,” particularly now that her journey from former player to coach has come full circle as her daughter, a sixth-grader, is on the Troy Howard team.

In addition, that group of girls that began the win streak in 2014 — which recently saw their high school careers draw to a close as seniors in a 1-0 Class B North quarterfinal playoff loss to Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield — came to watch and support the players, along with varsity coach Jan Holmes-Jackson and other coaches in the program, for the milestone 50th win.

“All the dedication of all of the coaches have made this a successful program,” said Bryant. “We have great community support. We also have great parents and fans. It’s just a really good feeling.”

The following is a recap of reported previous playoff results:

No. 1 Troy Howard 6, No. 6 Camden-Rockport 0

At Point Lookout Oct. 18, the Lions roared past the Schooners and into the league championship game.

Audra Faulkingham, Kara Richards, Ava Markham, Breana Shorey and Chelsea Gaiero scored goals in the win for Troy Howard.

No. 5 Camden-Rockport 2, No. 4 Nobleboro 1 (3OTs)

At Nobleboro Oct. 16, the Schooners emerged victorious with a thrilling playoff win over the Lions.

Alexys Wilmont and Molly Shook caged goals in the win for the Schooners.

No. 2 Oceanside 1, No. 3 Boothbay 0 (2OTs)

At Rockland Oct. 16, the Mariners shot their way into the Busline League final with an overtime victory over the Wildcats. The two teams were scoreless at halftime and through the end of regulation.

Collette Black scored the game-winner with 5:22 remaining in the second overtime.

"Both teams truly played a great game and there was some really good field hockey played," said Oceanside coach Ward. "Our defense played a great game defending corners and Hannah Grindle had a great game in goal. Our midfield did well backing up our offense while still promoting offensive movement."

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