(Ed. Note: For the complete Falmouth-Portland and Greely-Leavitt/EL girls’ hockey game stories, please visit theforecaster.net)
The frenetic February fun is underway and there’s already been much excitement for local runners, jumpers, throwers, skiers, swimmers and hockey players, with even more drama around the corner.
Here’s a look at what’s transpired so far and what’s to come:
Falmouth and Greely’s girls’ ice hockey teams came to the Portland Ice Arena Saturday hoping to win their respective semifinal round contests and move a step closer to a potential state final showdown.
The Yachtsmen, ranked first in the West Region, hosted No. 4 Portland, a team Falmouth had defeated by 8-4 and 9-1 scores in the regular season. The first ever playoff meeting between the schools would be much closer, but Yachtsmen senior standout Megan Fortier again stole the show, scoring four times and assisting on another goal as Falmouth went on to a 6-3 win. Senior Moie Aaskov and junior Jayde Bazinet also scored and sophomore goalie Kirsten Mazur was solid in goal, stopping 14 shots.
“We don’t feel pressure, it’s playoffs,” Fortier said. “Everyone’s even. We’re 1-0, basically. We hope to be 3-0. I think we really clicked after the first period. Once they tied it up (2-2) in the second, we knew we had to take charge.”
“I felt pressure, but I have a lot of trust in my team,” Mazur said. “They’re practically my family. We were expecting (the Bulldogs) to give their all. It’s hard to stop their shots. It’s scary sometimes with me being small. A few times they do hit my face and it hurts. I stick it out. I’m tiny, but I have to make them fear me.”
“Kirsten is only a sophomore and didn’t get a whole lot of playing time last year,” Falmouth coach Rob Carrier added. “She took a year to observe and has filled in beautifully. There’s no dropoff from last year.”
The Yachtsmen advanced to Wednesday’s West Region Final against No. 2 York (13-3-3). Host Falmouth edged the Wildcats, 2-1, Jan. 14.
“It won’t be easy,” Mazur said. “It’s scary, especially since I’ve played with some of their players and they might know how I play.”
“This is my third year and we’ve played three one-goal games against them,” Carrier said. “I’d be surprised if this game doesn’t go into overtime. It won’t be easy. So far, we stood tall in test number one. We’ll go up against a great York team next. I’m looking forward to it.”
As for Greely, the No. 2 seed in the East Region, it faced a daunting task in its semifinal against a third-ranked Leavitt squad which beat the Rangers twice in the regular season, 3-2 (in overtime) and 4-3. Compounding matters, Greely was shorthanded due to illness and injury, but still rose to the occasion. Senior standout goalie Emma Seymour stopped 13 shots and junior Monica Howland scored on a rebound early in the third period to give the Rangers an inspirational 1-0 triumph.
“We know we’re a third period team,” Howland said. “We were playing our hardest. We have a great goalie behind us. It’s tough when you can’t score, but we kept crashing the net.”
“I was never going to lose this game,” Seymour said. “We’ve never beaten them before. It’s about time we did. I didn’t want this to be my last game. We really had nothing to lose going into the game. We wanted this so badly.”
“(Emma) made big-time saves,” Greely coach Nate Guerin added. “She stopped a breakaway or two. She tracked the puck well. She knew where it was and she was in position. She’s been strong all year and this is one of her best games of the year. With her, we have a chance to win, which is nice.”
The Rangers advanced to meet No. 1 Brunswick (15-3-1) in Wednesday’s East Region championship game. Greely won both regular season meetings (5-1 at home Jan. 7 and 4-1 at Brunswick two weeks later).
“It’s going to be a tough one, but we’re ready to play,” Howland said. “I think we have what it takes. If we all come ready, we’re a good team.”
“We’re motivated,” Guerin added. “We have a lot of heart and drive. I expect it’ll be another one-goal game. It’ll be close.”
The girls’ hockey state final is Saturday at 7 p.m., at the Colisee in Lewiston.
Yarmouth’s magic carpet ride finally ended Friday. The Clippers (who also had two Freeport players on the roster) won three of their last four games to qualify for the playoffs as the fifth and final seed in the East Region, then upset host No. 4 Lewiston last Wednesday, 2-0, behind goals from Emily Johnson and Michelle Robichaud.
Yarmouth went to top-ranked Brunswick Friday and gave the Dragons fits for two periods behind the goalkeeping of Hannah Williams (23 saves) and Ariel Potter’s tying goal, but Brunswick finally broke it open in the third, scoring five times to win, 6-1, and end the Clippers’ season at 8-12.
“It was a great run,” said Yarmouth coach David Neujahr. “The last couple weeks have been great. We’ve enjoyed it. We told the girls they deserved to be here, that they earned it. I think the girls were a little anxious in the third period and chased a little bit. Brunswick’s a great team.”
The Clippers hope to get back to the playoffs next year.
“The future’s awesome,” Neujahr said. “There’s a lot of young players on this squad. We have some freshmen coming in. Freeport’s adding some players next year too. The future is awesome.”
The Western Maine Conference indoor track and field championships were held Friday at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham.
Greely’s girls easily won the title with 214 points. Falmouth (91) was a distant second. Yarmouth (21) placed ninth, NYA (19) was 10th and Freeport (10) was 12th.
The Rangers got wins from Cameron Keefe in the junior 400 (1 minute, 4.91 seconds), Emily Saunders in the junior high jump (4 feet-6 inches), Catherine Fellows in the senior shot put (32-8), Jessica Wilson in the 800 (2:28.65), Runner of the Meet Kirstin Sandreuter in the mile (5:09.19) and the two-mile (11:19.83), Abby Bonnevie in the pole vault (9-6) and their 3,200 relay team (10:22.54).
The girls put forward a balanced and powerful performance,” said Greely coach John Folan. “Kaley Sawyer and Kelsey Saunders led the jumpers, Libby Thomas and Audrey Parolin were excellent in the sprints, as was sophomore Brennah Martin. The quartet of Catherine, Lindsay Steinberg, Cassidy Storey and Whitney Williams continued to impress in the shot put with a 1-4 sweep. Middle distance aces Melissa Jacques and Sarah Fitch continue to lower their times in the 800 and of course, Kirstin broke her fifth conference record of the season. On balance, a very good performance by all.”
The Yachtsmen won the junior relay (1:54.81).
“Our girls had a good meet,” said Falmouth coach Jorma Kurry. “We were happy with our runner-up finish to Greely, they’re a very strong team. Charlotte Cutshall and Madeline Roberts both had very strong days and we were excited to add a few more last chance state-qualifiers. We have many girls qualified, but not a lot of high seeds. However, if we step up, there are lots of places where we can surprise.”
The Clippers were led by Mary Coyne, who was third in the junior 200 (28.39 seconds). The Panthers got a victory from Jillian Bjorn-Caron in the junior 55 hurdles (10.10). The Falcons’ junior relay team placed third (2:03.67).
The boys’ meet was won by York with 182 points. Greely (107) and Falmouth (86) were second and third respectively. Yarmouth (45) was fifth, NYA (36) seventh and Freeport (7) 12th.
The Rangers got wins from James Ferrar in the junior shot put (42-6.25) and Liam Campbell in the 800 (2:05.33) and the mile (4:35.40).
“The boys were led by outstanding performances of the distance trio of Liam, Nestor Taylor and Stefan Sandreuter,” Folan said. “The emergence of James as a shot putter continues with his win. Mike Leeman continues to score highly in the shot put. Depth throughout the team, however, was responsible for our success.”
Leading the Yachtsmen were Jacob Buhelt, who won the 200 (23.52) and Reid Pryzant, the champion of the long jump (20 feet) and the senior 55 hurdles (8.13).
“The boys are struggling with injuries,” Kurry said. “Reid and Jacob were very strong and they will lead us next week. York’s performance was no surprise. They are a very strong team and the favorite. It will take some breaks to catch them, but our boys are excited for the (state) meet and ready to take on that challenge. We’re excited to have Thomas Edmonds and Jimmy Polewaczyk back this week. They will make a big difference.”
The Clippers got wins from Chandler Smith in the junior 200 (24.90) and Ben Decker in the two-mile (10:06.03). The Panthers produced the senior shot put champion in Cam Rayder (44-1.75). The Falcons were paced by Harrison Stivers (third in the 800, 2:05.98).
The Class B state championship meet is Monday, Feb. 20, at Bates College in Lewiston. It begins at 10 a.m.
The Western Maine Conference held its Nordic championships last week.
NYA won the boys’ crown. Yarmouth was second, Falmouth third, Merriconeag fifth, Freeport sixth and Greely 10th.
In the freestyle, NYA’s Cam Regan was second (12 minutes, 55.2 seconds), Yarmouth’s Jack Elder and NYA’s Ian Moore tied for third (13:06.1) and Falmouth’s Jay Lesser came in fifth (13:09.2).
In the classic, Regan was second (14:30.1), Moore third (14:40.2) and Sullivan fifth (14:55.0).
Yarmouth was first on the girls’ side. Merriconeag was runner-up, Falmouth came in third, Freeport fourth, Greely seventh and NYA 10th.
Merriconeag’s Zoe Chace-Donahue won the classic (17:48.5). Yarmouth’s Tara Humphries was runner-up (17:52.2), followed by teammates Caitlin Crawford (18:17.8) and Sarah Becker (18:46.6). Falmouth’s Sarah Hemphill came in fifth (19:08.9).
Humphries won the freestyle (15:20.1) with Crawford second (15:36.6). Chace-Donahue came in third (15:57.9) and Emelie Chace-Donahue placed fourth (16:20.5). Becker was fifth (16:28.1).
In the WMC Alpine championships, also held last week, The Falmouth boys came in first with Yarmouth second, Freeport third and Greely fourth.
In the slalom, the Yachtsmen were led by Weston Scott, who was first with a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 26.31 seconds. Freeport’s Blake Enrico finished second (1:26.92). Yarmouth’s Matthew Highland was third (1:27.26) and Greely’s Shane DelBianco placed fifth (1:30.44).
Highland won the giant slalom (1:05.51). Teammate Drew Grout came in second (1:06.67). Falmouth’s Joe Lesniak (1:07.15) and Luke Andrews (1:08.35) were third and fourth respectively.
The Greely girls placed first, with Freeport second, Falmouth third and Yarmouth fifth.
In the slalom, Freeport’s Elly Bengtsson was first (1:22.32). Falmouth’s Leika Scott was runner-up (1:23.94). Greely’s Jill Booth finished third (1:29.34) and Yarmouth’s Claudia Lockwood placed fourth (1:32.75).
In the GS, Leika Scott joined her brother, Weston, as an event winner with a time of 1:07.63. Greely’s Elyse Dinan was second (1:10.03). Bengtsson came in third (1:10.23). Greely’s Teal Otley was fourth (1:12.53) and Lockwood came in fifth (1:13.22).
In the girls’ skimeister standings, Dinan was first, Yarmouth’s Sarah Meyers second and Greely’s Jessie Hoffman seventh. On the boys’ side, Freeport’s Chris Collins was third, Greely’s Richard Judge fourth, Yarmouth’s Jake Inger fifth, Greely’s Luke Wilcox sixth and teammate James Molloy seventh.
Yarmouth took part in the south division Southwesterns last weekend in Cape Elizabeth.
The girls were seventh with 133.5 points. Waynflete came in first with 174. Abby Belisle-Haley won the 100 butterfly (1 minute, 2.59 seconds) and finished second in the 200 individual medley (2:20.48). Haley Estabrook was runner-up in the 200 freestyle (2:08.10) and third in the 500 free (5:53.20).
In the boys’ meet, Yarmouth placed eighth with 83 points (Windham was the winner with 239). Ethan Nightingale placed third in the 50 free (24.51 seconds) and the 100 free (52.91). Conner Lajoie finished fourth in the 200 IM (2:18.53) and was fifth in the 500 free (5:38.29). NYA’s Ted Elliot gave the Panthers five points and a 13th-place finish as he placed eighth in the 100 backstroke (1:10.61).
The only sport which has a little time yet until the postseason starts is boys’ hockey. All three local teams continue to solidify strong playoff positioning.
In Western B, Yarmouth keeps climbing the ladder. The Clippers have improved to fourth (and are breathing down the neck of No. 3 York) with a 9-4-1 mark. Last week, Yarmouth saw its five-game winning streak end with a 4-2 home loss to Kennebunk, but Saturday, the Clippers blew open a close game late in the third period and handed visiting Cape Elizabeth a 4-1 setback, Yarmouth’s first win over the Capers in 13 tries, dating back to a 3-2 triumph on Jan. 31, 2004. Senior Eamon Costello had two goals in the victory. The Clippers hosted Leavitt Wednesday, welcomes York in a big test Saturday, hosts Gardiner Monday and closes the regular year next Wednesday at Camden Hills.
Yarmouth senior Alex Kurtz was named the January Forward of the Month by the Western Class B Hockey Coaches’ Association. Kurtz had 14 goals and 10 assists and also notched his 100th career point.
Greely continues to lead Western B with a 10-3-2 record. The Rangers settled for a 1-1 tie at Camden Hills last Wednesday, then downed visiting Leavitt, 6-4, Saturday. Joe Saffian scored and freshman goalie Kyle Kramlich made 19 saves in the tie. Against the Hornets, Reid Howland scored twice. Greely welcomes Messalonskee Saturday, plays at Falmouth Monday and closes Thursday of next week at Cape Elizabeth.
Greely freshman Mitchel Donovan was selected the January Rookie of the Month by the Western Class B Hockey Coaches. Donovan, who was also honored in December, had six goals and four assists in the month.
In Western A, Falmouth began the week third to defending state champion Thornton Academy and Scarborough in the Heals with a 9-4-1 record. Last Thursday, the Yachtsmen had their way with visiting Portland, 10-1, as Ben Freeman and Billy Mullin both scored twice. Saturday, Falmouth lost at home to perennial powerhouse Lewiston, 3-1. Brandon Tuttle had the lone goal. The Yachtsmen were at Biddeford Wednesday, visit St. Dom’s Saturday, host Greely Monday and close at home with Scarborough Thursday of next week.
Falmouth senior Megan Fortier blows past a Portland defender during the West Region semifinals Saturday night. Fortier’s four goals and one assist led the Yachtsmen to a 6-3 triumph.
Yarmouth’s Ben Decker heads toward a first-place finish in the two-mile at last weekend’s Western Maine Conference championship meet.
NYA’s Cam Regan (far right) was second to Fryeburg’s Silas Eastman (middle) at the Western Maine Conference championships last week. Ian Moore (left) finished third. The Panthers were first as a team.
Greely’s girls’ Alpine ski team won the Western Maine Conference title last week.
Left to right: Elyse Dinan, Jordan Ouellette, Jill Booth, Teal Otley, Jessie Hoffman, Liz Clifford, Kristen Dugas, Eliza McKenney, Anna Murphy, Kristina Volta, Delaney Stevens, coach Mark Ouellette.