Falmouth senior Brendan Hickey, far right, is congratulated by senior Theo Hembre, left, senior Kyle Kaserman, sophomore Tyler Baker and junior Garrett Tracy after scoring late in the first period of Thursday’s game at Portland/Deering. The Yachtsmen went on to a 9-2 victory.
Mike Strout photos.
More photos below.
PORTLAND—You can only hold Falmouth’s boys’ hockey team in check for so long and once the Yachtsmen get going, they’re pretty prolific.
Thursday evening at Troubh Ice Arena, Portland/Deering kept Falmouth off the board for nearly the entire first period, but two goals in nine seconds got the Yachtsmen off and running.
With 28.1 seconds to go in the first, senior Theo Hembre found the net and with 19.4 seconds remaining, classmate Brendan Hickey added a goal for a 2-0 lead.
And Falmouth was far from finished.
At the 5:35 mark of the second period, Hickey scored his second goal, shorthanded.
Portland/Deering got on the board 21 seconds later, when junior Donnie Tocci scored on the power play, but at the 6:45 mark, senior Lou Mainella went top shelf for a goal and a 4-1 lead.
After Portland/Deering senior Alex McGonagle scored on the power play to cut the deficit to two, Hembre scored on the backhand to give the Yachtsmen a 5-2 advantage heading for the third period.
There, Falmouth put it away quickly, as junior Jack Kidder scored on a rebound at 2:27, freshman Owen Drummey scored on a rebound at 6:27, junior Garrett Tracy scored on the power play at 7:29 and 38 seconds later, Hembre completed his hat trick to lead the Yachtsmen to a 9-2 victory.
Six different players scored as Falmouth improved to 8-4-1 and dropped Portland/Deering to 5-5-2 in the process.
“It’s our first week of being fully healthy all season,” said Yachtsmen coach Deron Barton. “We had injuries and sickness the first half and we had a lot of young players finding their stride. I gave them minutes and the results speak for themselves.”
The teams squared off in last year’s semifinal round in Lewiston and Falmouth prevailed, 5-2.
This winter, both teams have been near the top of the standings again.
The Yachtsmen started with wins at Massabesic (9-0), Scarborough (6-1) and Thornton Academy (5-3), then battled host St. Dom’s to a 3-3 tie. After a 4-2 home loss to Biddeford, Falmouth downed visiting Scarborough, 5-1, to give Barton his 100th victory with the program. The new year started with a 7-3 loss at Greely in the “Dudley Cup” and a 5-4 setback at two-time Class A champion Lewiston in a rematch of last year’s state final. After a 5-3 home win over Portland/Deering, the Yachtsmen fell in overtime at Biddeford, 4-3. Last week, Falmouth twice beat Bangor, 4-2 at home and 5-2 in Bangor.
Portland/Deering opened with victories over host Thornton Academy (3-2) and visiting South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete (4-3) before falling at Scarborough, 2-1. After a 4-3 overtime home victory over York, Portland/Deering settled for a 2-2 tie at Cheverus, lost at Falmouth (5-3), played visiting Yarmouth to a 3-3 tie, fell at home to Cheverus (7-3), then downed host Massabesic (4-2). After a 2-1 home loss to Thornton Academy, Portland/Deering blanked visiting Scarborough Saturday (4-0).
Falmouth’s 5-3 home win Jan. 6 (Hembre scored twice) was its 14th straight in the series (the teams tied twice in the 2007-08 season).
Thursday, Portland/Deering looked to beat the Yachtsmen for the first time since Jan. 10, 2004 (2-1 on the road), but instead, Falmouth rolled to victory.
Early on, Portland/Deering junior goalie Ben McCallum held the fort, denying Yachtsmen senior Marcus Cady and Drummey early and after Tocci had a shot saved by Falmouth freshman goalie Sam Kidder, McCallum turned away shots from Hembre, senior Nick Farnham, senior Kyle Kaserman, Drummey again and Tracy.
After killing a penalty, the Yachtsmen finally broke through with 28.1 seconds on the clock, when Hembre managed to shoot low on McCallum, who slowed the puck, but couldn’t prevent it from rolling into the net for the game’s first goal. Hickey got the assist.
Just as Falmouth was finishing celebrating that goal, it got another, as with 19.4 seconds on the clock, Tracy fed Hickey behind the defense and Hickey fired a shot past McCallum for a 2-0 lead. Hembre also got an assist.
“Me and Garrett locked eyes, I took off and he put a perfect pass on my stick and I finished,” said Hickey. “Those two goals definitely helped us.”
Portland/Deering tried to answer early in the second period, but Sam Kidder denied shots by freshman Max Cheever and senior Cam King.
Portland/Deering went on the power play with 10:42 to go in the second, but it would be Falmouth scoring shorthanded, as Hembre set up Hickey for another goal and a 3-0 lead at 5:35 of the second.
“I’ve been a little sick and injured, but now I’m 100 percent and ready to go,” Hickey said.
The hosts did finally convert their power play at 5:56, as Tocci finished unassisted, but with 8:15 left in the second, Mainella ripped a rocket past McCallum (Drummey and Cady got assists) to make it 4-1.
With 6:05 remaining in the period, Hickey was sent off for interference and with 4:27 to go, Tocci set up McGonagle for a goal that pulled Portland/Deering within two, but again, back roared the Yachtsmen, as Hembre stole the puck, skated in and finished to make it 5-2.
In the process, McCallum was pulled for junior Kailyss Linnell.
Late in the period, Sam Kidder stopped shots by King and junior Jake Luce to preserve the three-goal lead.
Falmouth then blew the game open in the third period.
At 2:27, Jack Kidder scored on a rebound (senior Charlie Emple and Cady were given assists) for a 6-2 lead.
Then, after Portland/Deering couldn’t score 5-on-3, the Yachtsmen made it 7-2, as Cady fired a shot high off the glass and the rebound came in front to Drummey, who finished.
Falmouth’s eighth goal came on the power play, as after Tocci was sent to the penalty box, Tracy finished (with Hembre getting the assist) at 7:29.
The final goal also came on the power play, as with 6:53 remaining, Hickey set up Hembre to complete his hat trick, which accounted for the 9-2 final score.
“Every night, somebody different sparks us,” Hickey said. “All three lines are rolling, our defenders are playing great and our freshman goalie is playing out of his mind. Coach Barton stresses consistency throughout the entire game.”
The Yachtsmen went 2-of-3 on power plays, finished with a 25-22 shots advantage and got 20 saves from Sam Kidder. Falmouth also killed five of seven Portland/Deering power plays.
“We work a lot on our special teams,” said Barton. “I’ll take two goals on seven or eight power plays.”
Portland/Deering got a combined 16 saves from Linnell and McCallum.
“We’ve struggled in net all year with young guys and the team didn’t step up and support them,” said Portland/Deering coach Jeff Beaney. “I thought (Falmouth) got the lead and played with a lot of confidence. They’re a one-line team. Those guys got a lot of ice time with a (big) lead.”
Portland/Deering (fourth in the Class A South Heal Points standings at press time) goes to South Portland/Waynflete/Freeport Saturday and hosts Windham/Westbrook Thursday of next week.
“We’ll be fine,” Beaney said. “We’re starting to get healthy. The key is to get good practices in. We play South Portland Saturday and they’ve had a good season. The guys will bounce back.”
Falmouth (third in the region) travels to York Monday, then hosts Lewiston in a state game rematch. After a pair of games versus Cheverus, the Yachtsmen close at home versus St. Dom’s.
“We have to keep grinding,” Hickey said. “We still have a ways to go, but we’re heading in the right direction. As long as we keep playing the way we have, we’ll be in good shape. We’ll bust it for the finish line.”
“We have some big games coming up that will make or break our season,” Barton said. “There’s no underclassmen in the room anymore.”
Falmouth senior Theo Hembre prepares to shoot and score for one of his three goals.
Portland/Deering junior Donnie Tocci shoots the puck as Falmouth senior Brendan Hickey defends.
Portland/Deering senior Cam King carries the puck.
Falmouth freshman goalie Sam Kidder holds the fort in front of Portland/Deering senior Joe Pichette (9) and junior Jake Luce.
Falmouth junior Garrett Tracy skates past Portland/Deering junior Jake Luce.
Falmouth senior Marcus Cady battles Portland/Deering freshman Max Cheever for the puck.
Portland/Deering senior Alex McGonagle defends Falmouth senior Lou Mainella.