PORTLAND—Bulldog Reilly O’Brien tallied eight goals versus visiting Westbrook on Thursday afternoon, April 26, leading his boys to victory 14-5 in the end.
“They’ve got a good club there, Portland; tip your hat to them,” Westbrook head coach Pete Lyons said. “Hopefully we improve and give them a better tussle when we play them again, the end of the season.”
Westbrooker Jared Grant won a good deal the game’s faceoffs for the Blazes, including the opener. Westbrook’s initial possession, though, produced nothing. On the other hand, neither did the Bulldogs’ follow-up possession. Cavallaro converted on Westbrook’s next opportunity, juking nimbly inward from the left side to best Portland netminder Aaron Hoekstra.
Portland wasted little time in responding – and surging ahead. Reilly O’Brien kicked off the Bulldogs’ scoring with 8:47 to play in the first; just over two minutes later, Sam Shaw echoed O’Brien, and a mere 30 seconds after that, Tristan Arcand made it 3-1. With 5:01 remaining, O’Brien struck again, curling around from the top-left of the Westbrook zone to the top-center, firing through traffic and getting the better of Blazes goalie Christian Childs. 4-1.
Portland continued to build as the quarter elapsed. Sam Gerber battled straight through the middle of Westbrook’s defensive spread to score on a feisty shot in close at 1:55. 5-1. Grant then won another faceoff (his umpteenth), jetted up the left side and flipped the ball over to Evan Pednault; Pednault pulled the trigger from high on the right side, beating Hoekstra for 5-2. O’Brien responded with just 4.5 seconds to play for 6-2 after 12 minutes.
“We’re man-to-man, and they were kind of better than us,” Lyons said, chuckling. “I was feeling okay with our first line, and we just didn’t get our second slide in. And they fed the ball nicely to the crease.”
The Blazes slowed the ‘Dogs down substantially in the second: Portland managed just one point in the stretch, another O’Brien point, this one on a Gerber assist. But Westbrook couldn’t find the back of the net themselves, and haftime arrived with the scoreboard at 7-2.
The Blazes nearly matched Portland again in the third: While the Bulldogs tallied three, Westbrook tallied two. In the fourth, however, Portland again dominated. Blaze Gabe Martin notched the first goal of the stretch, but the ‘Dogs then seized control, hashing the last four of the outing for the 14-5 result.
Cavallaro finished with two goals for Westbrook, as well as one assist; Martin had two and Pednault the one. Grayson Post had two assists, and Ryan Shackley and Grant one each.
O’Brien added two assists alongside his eight goals. Gerber and Shaw contributed two points apiece, with Shaw also logging two assists. Arcand and Kevin Moore had a goal each, and Moore and Evan Bay an assist each.
Westbrook travels to Morse on Saturday, April 28; they visit Windham on May 1. Portland, meanwhile, travels to Edward Little on Saturday and welcomes Biddeford on May 2.
Adam Birt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.
Reilly O’Brien tallied eight goals for the Bulldogs in their win over Westbrook.
Sam Shaw ducks inward on the attack for Portland.
Evan Bay carries on the attack for Portland.
Cam Clifford unwinds into a shot for the Bulldogs.
Ben Thompson drives forward for the Bulldogs hosting Westbrook.
Bulldog Lucas Doiron ducks away from a lunging Westbrook defender.
Joe Herboldsheimer defends for Portland.
Westbrooker Josh Cavallaro tires to skirt Portlander Max Cheever.
Bulldog Kevin Moore surveys his pass options.