The boys’ hockey regular season is over and two (possibly three) local teams now look ahead to the postseason.
Greely will be the top seed for the Western B playoffs.
The Rangers began the year 10-0-1, but won just four of seven down the stretch. Greely closed with a 6-2 victory at Camden, a 4-2 triumph at Yarmouth and a 5-1 home loss to Falmouth. Sophomore Erik Rost had two goals and two assists versus the Windjammers. Classmate Kenny Richards scored twice versus the Clippers. Senior Devyn Rogers had the lone goal in the loss.
“We still have a lot of work to do,” said Greely coach Barry Mothes. “I have been saying that for weeks, months now. We still have a lot of work to do. We have 13 days. We still have not put together a complete game in a long time. We need more. We need more effort. We need to play more like a team. We need to be more resilient. In order to have some success in the playoffs, we are going to need that. We have 13 days to see if we can dig down inside ourselves and find the energy and find the commitment and try and do this together as a team.”
The Rangers won’t play again until Saturday, March 5, when they face either Leavitt or Yarmouth in the Western Class B semifinals at Portland Ice Arena.
Greely handled the Hornets, 9-2, at home, two days before Christmas. The Rangers swept Yarmouth, winning, 5-1, at home Feb. 3, and 4-2 on the road last week.
Greely last faced Leavitt in the 2006 semifinals (a 7-2 win). The Rangers also blanked the Hornets (3-0) in the 2005 quarterfinals.
Greely and Yarmouth have met seven times in the playoffs, with the Clippers holding a 5-2 advantage. The last encounter was a 2-1 Rangers’ victory in the 2004 semifinals.
The Clippers needed a win in their finale (Tuesday, versus visiting Noble) to qualify. Yarmouth was 9-8 entering the game. The Clippers defeated host Leavitt, 3-1, last Wednesday, before the 4-2 home loss to Greely Saturday. Yarmouth was oh-so-close to that final playoff spot, but had to finish strong.
“We beat Leavitt twice this year and have two more wins than they do, but they have impressive wins over Marshwood and Old Town that are keeping them slightly ahead of us right now,” said Clippers coach Marc Halsted. “The bottom line is that if we beat Noble, we are in. If we lose, we have to rely on Westbrook beating Windham and see where the points fall. We beat Westbrook twice this year and Leavitt only beat them once, so, it could be very close, but again, we can completely control our destiny by beating Noble.”
In Western A, Falmouth wound up with the No. 4 seed and will host No. 5 Noble in the quarterfinals Tuesday. The Yachtsmen went 2-1 down the stretch, downing visiting Gorham, 7-1, falling at home to Thornton Academy, 2-0, then beating Greely, 5-1. Sophomore Kris Samaras had a hat trick versus Gorham. Senior Nick Samaras and freshman Ben Freeman both had two goals against the Rangers.
“We’ve been up and down,” said Falmouth first-year coach Adam Nicholas. “We have played well against some really good teams this year. We’ve come out with some ties. Do I think that is success? No. But I think we’ve played hard and that’s a positive. We’ve lost a couple we should have won. Our season has been a roller coaster and that’s something we set out to do, not have a roller coaster season, be a steady train and know what we are going to get every night, but with young guys that’s tough to do. They’re young. Sometimes they think they’ve learned everything.”
The Yachtsmen didn’t face Noble (13-4) this season. A year ago, Falmouth drubbed the Knights in the quarterfinals, 11-1.
Looking ahead, the Western A semifinals are Saturday, March 5, at the Colisee in Lewiston. The Western A regional final is Tuesday, March 8, in Lewiston. The Western B Final is the following night at the same location. Both state games are in Lewiston, Saturday, March 12. The Class B game starts at 1 p.m. The Class A contest is at 6 p.m.
Freelance writer Keith B. Wehmeyer contributed to this story
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org