LEWISTON—You can’t win without scoring.
Although its defense played top-notch, Falmouth’s offense couldn’t find the back of the net, falling, 3-0, to No. 1 seeded Biddeford in the Western Class A semifinals Saturday at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
The loss ends No. 4 Falmouth’s first season under head coach Adam Nicholas.
“If you want to look for an excuse, it’s inexperience with myself and my coaching staff and a young team,” Nicholas said. “We have a lot of young guys. I don’t think there needs to be an excuse though. We got beat playing hard and there is no reason to hang our heads for that. We got beaten by a team that should beat us.”
Biddeford (17-0-3), the defending Class A state champions, is making a run at its fourth state title in five years and its second undefeated season. The Yachtsman had reason to believe they could skate with the juggernaut. They tied the Tigers, 2-2, in December and last season were one of only two teams to defeat Biddeford.
Scoreless after the first period, Biddeford found the net 26 seconds into the second period. Brady Fleurent streaked up the left side in transition. After getting around a Falmouth defender, he slid a last-second pass to Tyler Audie who one-timed it past goalie Dane Pauls.
It was all the Tigers needed in a game that saw few scoring chances.
“We were playing against a team that has a lot of experience in (the playoffs). “Nicholas said. “ That outweighed us a bit.”
This season, when playing at its best, Falmouth has kept the states’ best offenses in check while its own offense lagged behind. In December, they played to a 2-2 tie with Biddeford, in January, they fell to St. Dominic, 3-2 and 3-1 and in February, they tied Lewiston, 0-0 and fell to Thornton Academy, 2-0.
Biddeford, Thornton Academy, Lewiston and St. Dominic are all averaging over four-goals per game. Tuesday, all four teams will play in the regional finals.
Saturday, even with a man advantage, Falmouth couldn’t generate enough pressure to beat sophomore goalie Jon Fields. The Yachtsmen finished 0-6 on the power play and mustered only 19 shots on goal.
Trailing, 2-0, Falmouth’s last power play came with 2:25 to play when Audie was whistled for interference. The Yachtsmen called a timeout and pulled Pauls from goal for a six-on-four advantage. Still, they couldn’t cut into the deficit.
Then, with 58 seconds to play, Biddeford’s Scott Callahan cleared the defensive zone with a pass to Tyson Nadeau who skated in uncontested for an empty-net goal, putting the game out of reach.
Biddeford had gone up 2-0 6:32 into the third period when Fleurent backhanded Nick Gagne’s rebound past Pauls. Gagne and Audie were credit with assists.
Fleurent, a sophomore, and Audie each finished with a goal and an assist.
Pauls made 18 saves for Falmouth.
“These boys played hard and put it on the line every shift,” Nicholas said. “That’s what they did today. We played hard and the boys really put together a solid effort. There is nothing else I could ask for out of them.”
Biddeford moves on the play Thornton Academy in the Western A Final Tuesday at the Colisee in Lewiston. Thornton defeated Marshwood/Traip Academy, 8-1, in the other semifinal matchup.
Falmouth freshman Andre Clement splits a pair of Biddeford defenders.
Falmouth junior Tim Hanley gets slammed into the boards during Saturday’s loss.
Falmouth sophomore Kris Samaras sends the puck up-ice.
Falmouth junior Brandon Tuttle makes a nice move around a Biddeford defender Saturday during the teams’ Western A semifinal. The Yachtsmen gave the defending champion Tigers a scare, but lost, 3-0.
More photos below.