(Ed. Note: For the complete Portland-Cheverus and Portland-Falmouth girls’ hockey game stories, please visit theforecaster.net)
The frenetic February fun is underway and there’s already been much excitement for city wrestlers, 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:
On the heels of the best field hockey season in Portland High School history, several members of that team helped ice hockey make history this winter. The Bulldogs, following a 9-9 regular season, wound up fourth in the West Region and last Wednesday, hosted No. 5 Cheverus in their first ever playoff contest.
It wound up being the Bulldogs’ first playoff win as well.
Leading just 1-0 early in the second period, thanks to a first period goal from senior Kylie Dalbec, Portland erupted for five goals in a little over 10 minutes, as senior Raechel Allen had two goals, and junior Gabi Cardona, Dalbec and senior Lindsey Sneider scored once each and the Bulldogs didn’t look back from there, advancing by virtue of a 6-2 victory.
“It’s exciting,” said Allen. “I’m savoring this.”
“It was really exciting for us,” Dalbec said. “Our first playoff win ever. We came out and did the best we could and got a good outcome.”
“We wanted this very badly,” Portland coach Courtney Rideout added. “We have a group of seniors who have put a lot of effort into this season and into Portland hockey. I’m glad for them. I was told at the beginning of the season that we’d be contenders. I didn’t know what to expect. (The girls are) very deserving of this win. I’m very proud of them.”
Cheverus got a pair of goals from standout junior Katie Roy and 28 saves from freshman goalie Allie Spinney as its season culminated at 7-12.
“The second period was tough,” said Stags coach J.P. Lavoie. “Portland made good plays. They’re a little more talented than we are. We didn’t have the breaks and they did. It wasn’t to be. I feel good about the season. We have lots of kids who have played for about a year to two years. I think they’ve come a long way.”
Cheverus should be right back in the mix next winter.
“I think the future’s bright,” said Lavoie. “We’re graduating three seniors, so we feel really good about next year.”
Portland faced a much tougher task Saturday night in the semifinals against top-ranked Falmouth, a team the Bulldogs lost to by 8-4 and 9-1 margins in the regular season. Portland did have an advantage in being able to play on its home ice, but despite a valiant effort, the Bulldogs didn’t have an answer for Yachtsmen senior star Megan Fortier, who scored four times and assisted on another goal in leading Falmouth to a 6-3 victory. Portland got goals from Allen and juniors Drew Barry and Gabi Cardona, but its finest season to date ended at 10-10.
“We had a plan that the girls tried their hardest to execute, but (Fortier’s) a great player,” lamented Rideout. “She can skate, she can move, she can dangle the puck through people’s legs. We forced her to the outside and made her work. None of the goals were easy. The girls played hard and with a lot of heart. They wanted it. What I’m most of proud of is that we fought to the end and showed we have a lot of class. I couldn’t have asked for them to play any differently.
“We turned our season around in the last few weeks. That really worked to our advantage. We’ve had some lean years so this was a great season. I don’t know how else to describe it other than it was fun. They’re a great group of kids.”
The Bulldogs graduate six seniors, most notably Allen and Dalbec, but it appears the program has turned the corner and should be competitive again in 2012-13.
“We’ll certainly miss our seniors,” Rideout said. “We have big shoes to fill. We lose some, but we keep some and hopefully we’ll pick up some freshmen. We have to keep it up.”
The Western A wrestling regionals were held Saturday in North Berwick. Marshwood finished first. Portland was sixth, Deering eighth and Cheverus 10th.
Individually, Cheverus’ Iain Whitis won the 120-pound weight class with a 6-5 decision over Massabesic’s Lucas Dion. Portland’s Jacob Bigelow finished runner-up at 220 pounds, losing in the final to Massabesic’s Josh Andrews (6-0). Teammate Kidayer Aljubyly was third in the 113-pound weight class. Nate Porter was third in the heavyweight division. Greg Casella was fourth at 132 pounds. Hugh Carroll placed fourth at 145. Deering’s Zach Bushey was fourth at 152. Teammate Connor Darling finished fourth at 170. Jonathan DeLoach was fourth in the heavyweight division.
The Class A state championship meet is Saturday at Windham High School.
The south division Southwestern swimming and diving championships were contested last weekend at Cape Elizabeth and Portland and Waynflete took part.
The Flyers didn’t just compete, the girls actually won the championship with 174 points, seven better than runner-up Sanford. The Bulldogs were 10th with 56.5.
Waynflete got off to a great start when sophomores Walker Foehl, Colby Harvey, Amelia Deady and senior Helen Bourdeaux won the 200 medley relay in 2 minutes, 1.94 seconds. Harvey took the 200 IM (2:15.19) and the 100 breaststroke (1:11.14). Foehl took the 50 free (25.79 seconds). Deady finished runner-up in the 100 butterfly (1:02.96). Sophomores Sophia Canning, Renata Levine, Ellen Silk and Deady secured the title with a third-place finish in the 400 free relay (4:06.70).
“The girls had a fabulous meet,” said Waynflete coach Jim Harvey. “As you saw by the score it was incredibly close and we won on the final relay. Sanford had won four years in a row and after losing by one point last year, my girls were incredibly focused on winning this year. The girls swam great. We had girls place in every event, and many contributed to all the relays. It was truly a team effort that won the meet for us.”
Portland made the most noise in the 200 free relay, where senior Mary Badger, freshman Olivia Gilber, junior Luci Veilleux and junior Megan Hudson were runners-up to Gorham in 1:55.18.
In the boys’ competition, won by Windham with 239 points, Portland (105.5) was fifth and Waynflete (59) placed ninth.
The Flyers were led by junior Luke Jeton, who won the 500 free (4:59.60) and was runner-up in the 200 free (1:49.95).
“The boys swam very well,” Harvey said. “It was fun to watch Luke Jeton get a first and second and it was equally as fun for us to have relays for the first time ever at the boys Southwesterns. Our goal was top 10 and we ended up ninth. With a few more additions next year, I could see us greatly improve on that place.”
The top Bulldog was junior Liam Brochu, who finished second in diving with 226.15 points. Senior David Bliss tied for third in the fly (1:00.62) and was fourth in the breaststroke (1:09.95). Portland also had a third-place 200 free relay team (sophomore Chris Tomascak, senior Sam Hamilton, senior Liam McNeill and Bliss, 1:43.27).
The Class A swimming and diving championships (featuring Cheverus, Deering and Portland) will be held at the University of Maine in Orono Monday (girls) and Tuesday (boys) of next week. McAuley and Waynflete will take part in the Class B championships at Bowdoin College in Brunswick the same days, but the boys go first in that class.
“There should be some fast swims at both meets and I’m very much looking forward to them,” Harvey said. “The girls finished third last year and are hoping to improve on that performance. We’re hoping to have five different girls finish in the top three in their events. Luke was the only boy making the cut. He hopes to be in the top three in both of his events. We’re also having relays at the meet with the hope of finishing in the top 16.”
Waynflete took part in the Western Maine Conference Nordic championships last week.
The Flyers boys finished sixth in the freestyle race, seventh in the classical and seventh overall (North Yarmouth Academy finished first). The top individual was Josh Espy, who came in fourth in the classic (14 minutes, 43.8 seconds on the 5.4-kilometer course) and sixth in the freestyle (13:18.9).
On the girls’ side, won by Yarmouth, Waynflete placed ninth, coming in eighth in the freestyle and ninth in the classical. The fastest Flyer was Jo Moore (19th in the freestyle, 17:56.9; 24th in the classic, 21:19.5).
Waynflete next competes in the Class C championships next Monday through Wednesday at Black Mountain.
Cheverus’ boys came in fifth at a slalom meet last Wednesday at Shawnee Peak. Marshwood finished first. Kennebunk, Scarborough and Windham also took part. Spencer Reynolds placed 12th (a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 44.37 seconds). Deering didn’t score as a team, but Kevin Goldberg was third individually (1:22.46). The Stags didn’t score on the girls’ side, but Fallon Parker was 15th in 2:35.61. Marshwood was the top team.
The Class A state championships are Feb. 22-24 at Black Mountain.
Local indoor track and field teams were idle last week, gearing up for the state championships to be held Monday. Class A competes at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham. Class B goes at Bates College in Lewiston. Both meets begin at 10 a.m.
The only sport that has the postseason still a couple weeks in the distance is boys’ hockey.
Cheverus appears playoff-bound, sitting seventh in the Western Class A Heal Points standings with a 9-4 mark at the start of the week. Last week, the Stags held off host Kennebunk (5-4) and dominated visiting Noble (9-2). Liam Fitzpatrick and Sterling Weatherbie had two goals each against the Rams. Cameron McLain went off for four goals in the win over the Knights. Cheverus was at Marshwood Monday, hosts Westbrook Thursday and defending Class A state champion Thornton Academy Saturday. The regular season comes to a close next week with games at South Portland and at home versus Gorham.
Portland got in the win column at last Saturday night, edging host South Portland, 3-2. The victory improved the Bulldogs to 1-13 (15th in Western A). Portland hosts Scarborough Thursday, visits Gorham Saturday, plays host to Noble Monday and finishes the regular year Wednesday of next week at home against Thornton Academy.
The boys’ hockey playoffs begin with the preliminary round Feb. 25. The quarterfinals are Feb. 28. Those games will be played on the home ice of the higher seeds.
Cheverus freshman goalie Allie Spinney managed to hold on to the puck despite being crashed into by Portland freshman Delaney Stokes during last week’s West Region quarterfinal, won by the Bulldogs, 6-2.
Portland senior Raechel Allen fires a shot during Saturday’s West Region semifinal versus Falmouth. Allen had a goal, but it wasn’t enough as the Bulldogs’ best season to date ended with a 6-3 loss to the Yachtsmen.