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Allen's 7 goals led Deering to romp over SP

Sports

Allen's 7 goals led Deering to romp over SP

PORTLAND-A year ago versus South Portland, Carleton Allen was dealt the lowest moment of high school career.

Saturday morning/afternoon against the Red Riots, Allen enjoyed one of his finest.

Allen, a senior standout for the fast-starting Deering boys' lacrosse team, suffered a season-ending knee injury in a loss last April to the Red Riots, but this time around, he stole the show, scoring seven times, leading the Rams to their third straight victory this spring, 18-5, over visiting South Portland at a rainy (and for a fleeting moment, snowy) Memorial Field.

Allen scored two goals in the first period, two more in the second and three in the third and if that wasn't enough, he also set up two goals and grabbed nine ground balls.

"It's been a year (since the injury)," said Allen. "It's been a lot of hard work. It was an accident and all, but it was against (South Portland), so this was a big day. I got a lot of help from the guys. That was the biggest thing."

Living up to billing

Both teams made the playoffs a year ago and have differing expectations in 2011.

Deering lost in the Eastern A quarterfinals to Lewiston in 2010, but is expected to be one of the top teams in the state this season. So far, the Rams have lived up billing, rolling at Marshwood, 10-4, in the opener, before holding off visiting Thornton Academy, 9-6, Wednesday.

South Portland enjoyed the best season in program history last spring, but was upset, 10-4, by eventual state champion Scarborough in the Western A semis. After losing  a good chunk of that team to graduation, the Red Riots aren't thinking state title, but they should remain in the hunt. South Portland was blanked at Scarborough in the opener (11-0), but Wednesday, bounced back for an inspirational 7-6 double overtime win over visiting Cheverus.

In that one, senior standout Harrison Keithly had all seven Red Riots goals, including one that tied the score and forced OT with 10 seconds to go and the winner in the second extra session, but in the aftermath of that goal, Keithly reinjured a separated shoulder and is expected to miss several games.

A year ago, in the game Allen went down with a knee injury, South Portland triumphed, 15-9, at home, but Saturday, it was all Deering.

The Red Riots actually got the game's first goal as senior Brian Cleary beat Rams' sophomore backup goalie John Deloach just 26 seconds in.

With 8:18 to go in the 12-minute opening stanza, Allen first made his presence felt as he set up senior teammate Zach Poulin for the equalizer.

A mere six seconds later, after Poulin won the faceoff, Allen set up senior Noah Whittenburg for a shot that eluded South Portland senior goalie Connor Igo for the goal which put Deering ahead to stay.

With 5:10 left in the first, Allen scored his first goal, unassisted. In the final minute, Allen took a pass from sophomore Brett Harmon and scored again to make it a 4-1 game.

As he did in the first, Cleary opened the second quarter scoring with an unassisted goal 17 seconds in, but the rest of the period would belong to the hosts.

First, six seconds after the South Portland goal, junior Anthony Verville (the hero of the Thornton Academy win) got in the scoring column after taking a pass from Poulin, who had won the faceoff. Forty seconds later, junior Matt Flaherty scored unassisted to make it 6-2.

"Matt's actually our secret weapon," said Deering coach Bob Rothbart.

With 10:14 to go in the first half, Verville set up senior Isaac Wipfler for a goal. With 4:38 remaining, Poulin assisted on a goal by senior Cody Marcroft.

The Red Riots ended a 4-0 run when junior Mike Salvatore scored a man-up unassisted goal with 4:15 left in the half, but Whittenburg scored after a rebound and Allen scored unassisted to make it 10-3. After a Cleary unassisted goal, Allen scored unassisted with 26.1 seconds showing to give Deering a commanding 11-4 lead at the break.

As the rain continued to fall, the Rams kept the pressure on in the second half.

Allen would score three unassisted goals in the third period and Poulin added another for a 15-4 lead.

"Offensively, we moved the ball well," Allen said. "Everyone cut and there were a lot of open spots. There was lots of room for me. Zach really helped."

Another Poulin unassisted goal, 29 seconds into the fourth, induced a running clock, that all on hand, even the South Portland faithful, had to welcome. Marcroft (from Wipfler) scored with 8:36 remaining and after Cleary delivered his fourth unassisted goal with 6:28 to play, Flaherty ended the scoring with an unassisted tally with 4:18 left,  giving Deering the 18-5 win.

"Everyone came together and played really well, especially considering the conditions," said Rothbart. "We moved well. I think the guys wanted to stay warm. We had to get past this one. (South Portland's) a good team. They lost Keithly, of course. They're a different team without him. Defensively, we did alright. Our goalie settled down in the second half. He's played lacrosse for a month. He's doing well. Everyone did well. There's nothing I'm unhappy about with this game."

Allen's performance turned heads.

"For Carleton, this was special," Rothbart said. "He came up big. I wasn't surprised to see him score seven goals. He's had this one marked on the calendar since before the season. It was good for him. He did well."

In addition to Allen's seven goals, Poulin had three, Flaherty, Marcroft and Whittenburg two each and Verville and Wipfler one apiece. Allen and Poulin both had two assists, while Harmon, Verville and Wipfler all had one. Deloach made five saves.

Deering also dominated the team statistics, as it won 16 of 25 faceoffs (credit Poulin), had a 38-22 edge in shots (30-10 in shots on frame), forced 32 turnovers, while giving the ball away 29 times and had a 63-45 edge in ground balls (Allen had nine, Poulin and Wipfler seven apiece, Rickett six and Flaherty five).

For South Portland, Cleary had four goals and Salvatore one. Salvatore had a game-high 13 ground balls, while Hannigan grabbed nine. Igo made 12 saves, many of them point blank.

"Generating some offense without Harrison was a positive," said Red Riots coach Tom Fiorini. "Connor's standing tall. He's doing a nice job.

"It was a tough day. The kids were a little depressed (without Harrison), there's not getting around that. We accomplished what we wanted this week. We got one of three. We're right where we need to be. We're fine."

Looking ahead

South Portland (1-2) returns to action Wednesday at Massabesic and has a crossover game at Camden Friday. The schedule is in the team's favor the next couple weeks and the Red Riots hope to earn some wins in advance of Keithly's return.

"We're getting there," Fiorini said. "We have five games that are going to be good games for us to play. Hopefully we'll be able to turn things around. We'll be alright. We need to get some confidence for our younger and inexperienced players. Hopefully Harrison will be back by (the Thornton Academy game, May 17). That's our goal."

Deering, 3-0 after its sizzling start, gets a week off before hosting Cony Friday. The Rams will be favored in most if not all of their games prior to a May 21 home showdown with rival Portland (a two-time defending regional champion).
"We're doing extremely well," Allen said. "Our defense is way better than our offense. We're coming along. I'm really enjoying it. Being a senior, there's a lot of pressure to get it done this year. It's the most motivated I've ever seen the team. We need help on some clears. Passing and catching is always a big thing. Portland down the road will be the big game for us."
"We'll take a little breather and regroup," Rothbart said. "Everything always needs work and fine tuning. We have to get depth, a second tier in there to give breathers in tougher games. That's what we have to work on. That and staying healthy."

               Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net and followed on Twitter @foresports

Photo: Jason Veilleux / For The Forecaster

South Portland freshman Thomas Leddy seeks an open teammate while being watched by Deering sophomore James Doyle.

Photo: Jason Veilleux / For The Forecaster

South Portland sophomore Thanh Kieu doesn't allow Deering junior Anthony Verville much breathing room.

Photo: Jason Veilleux / For The Forecaster

Deering senior Isaac Wipfler looks to turn the corner on South Portland senior Robert Hannigan.

Photo: Jason Veilleux / For The Forecaster

Deering senior Zach Poulin plays keep-away from South Portland sophomore Thanh Kieu.

Photo: Jason Veilleux / For The Forecaster

Deering's standout junior defenseman Karl Rickett keeps a close eye on South Portland senior Robert Hannigan.