Falmouth’s boys’ hockey team celebrates a goal during Saturday’s 5-1 home win over Cheverus.
Chris Lambert photos.
More photos below.
FALMOUTH—The middle of December is no time for revenge, but it is a time to make an early season statement and Falmouth’s boys’ team accomplished that Saturday evening at Family Ice Center.
The Yachtsmen, who dropped a painful 5-4 overtime decision at Cheverus in the season opener, Dec. 5, got to host the Stags and for the better part of 45 minutes, they were the better, hungrier squad.
After a scoreless opening period, Falmouth came out flying in the second, as junior Henry Norris put them ahead to stay. After junior Robbie Armitage and Cheverus senior Luke Trickey traded goals, Norris tickled the twine again for a 3-1 advantage at period’s end.
The Stags began the third period on the power play ,but Falmouth sophomore Spencer Pierce stood tall and protected the two-goal lead and that set the stage for Norris to complete his hat trick with 5:24 to go. A rebound tally from senior Josh Noyes then brought the curtain down on the Yachtsmen’s emphatic 5-1 victory.
Falmouth made it four wins in a row, improved to 4-1 and dropped Cheverus to 2-3 in the process.
“It’s redemption, no question,” said Yachtsmen coach Deron Barton. “It was fun. It’s a nice little rivalry. (Cheverus is) well-coached. They don’t quit. Controlling emotions is a lesson. We’ll have high emotion games in the postseason, so this was like the classroom.”
Both squads view themselves as top contenders this winter and they’ve both shown glimpses of greatness in the early going.
Cheverus, a regional finalist a year ago, enjoyed a 5-4 home win over Falmouth in the opener on junior Sean Walsh’s overtime goal, then lost at Scarborough (5-0), enjoyed a 7-1 win at Brunswick and Thursday, dropped a tough 4-3 home decision to Yarmouth.
Falmouth saw its two-year championship reign ended last winter by eventual champion Scarborough in the semifinals and after losing at Cheverus in the opener, downed host Bangor (4-2) and St. Dom’s (7-5) and visiting Biddeford (4-1).
Saturday, the Yachtsmen earned a dose of revenge as they continued to evolve into an elite squad.
There wasn’t a whole lot to report in a scoreless first period, but Norris got things going in the second, beating Stags sophomore goalie Colby Benway for a 1-0 lead.
“We wanted to come out flying,” Norris said. “We didn’t really do that in the first. Coach talked about it and told us if we didn’t, we’d lose again and that would have been awful.”
Falmouth kept the pressure on and Robbie Armitage doubled the lead.
The Stags answered and got on the board when Trickey lit the lamp, but late in the second, Norris scored a second goal to make it 3-1.
Cheverus was still very much in the contest as the third period started and got some good looks on the power play, but Pierce came up huge to keep the score 3-1.
“Our goalie comes out every night and gives us a chance to win,” Norris said. “He’s played out of his mind this year. We were uncertain about what Spencer would bring, but he’s killing it.”
Norris earned his hat trick and essentially ended the competitive phase of the contest with his third goal at 9:36 of the third period (Noyes and sophomore Parker Wyatt were given assists).
“My linemates got me the puck in the right place at the right time and I buried it,” Norris said. “They set me up and help me.”
“Henry, from game one, has been a force out there,” said Barton. “He’s trained hard in the offseason. He’s a leader without wearing a (captain’s) letter. That’s always nice to have.”
With 2:44 to go, Noyes banged home a rebound of a Norris shot and that brought the curtain down on the Yachtsmen’s 5-1 victory.
“We tried to put (the loss) behind us and just focus on this game,” Norris said.
“We’re getting there,” said Barton. “We’re young and still making those young mistakes, but the guys are getting a lot of minutes and are getting an opportunity to learn from their mistakes. They’re good hockey players. Bottom line, I’m lucky I have them. They were well coached before me. I’m happy with their progress.”
Cheverus coach Dan Lucas was left shaking his head after the Stags suffered their second straight loss.
“They were harder on the puck than we were and that was obvious,” Lucas lamented. “The guys didn’t come out the way I know they can. Against a good team, it has to be every shift. Not everybody was in the boat rowing, that’s the bottom line.”
The schedule gets no easier for either team.
Cheverus hopes to end its slump Wednesday at Biddeford. The Stags also go to St. Dom’s the following Monday to end the 2015 portion of their schedule.
“We’ll have to try and win the next one,” Lucas said. “Guys have to take on more responsibility and not wait for the other guy to do it.”
As for Falmouth, it seeks its fifth straight victory Wednesday at Edward Little. The Yachtsmen are home to face Portland/Deering Dec. 29, then will be tested by the likes of Greely, Lewiston and Scarborough to start 2016.
“We have to keep working hard in practice,” Norris said. “It’s an awesome team. We’ve bonded all summer.”
“As long as we can stay penalty- and injury-free, I think we’ll be OK,” Barton said. “Conditioning-wise and hockey IQ, we’re where we want to be. Execution-wise, we’re still getting better.”
Falmouth senior Josh Noyes gets past Cheverus sophomore Marco Giancotti.
Cheverus sophomore goalie Colby Benway makes a save.
Falmouth sophomore Brendan Hickey fights past a defender.
Falmouth junior Robbie Armitage skates with the puck.
Falmouth sophomore goalie Spencer Pierce makes a save.