Greely boys earn a measure of revenge against Brunswick

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Greely’s boys’ lacrosse team celebrates Saturday’s 11-8 home win over Brunswick. The Rangers got a measure of revenge from last year’s agonizing state final loss.

Derek Davis / Press Herald photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Greely 11 Brunswick 8

B- 1 4 2 1- 8
G- 1 4 3 3- 11

First quarter
5:22 G Fraser (unassisted)
2:00 B Nadeau (McDiarmid) (MAN-UP)

Second quarter
11:22 G Lawrence (Williams)
10:48 G Williams (Wetmore)
10:14 B Lyne (unassisted)
8:47 B Girardin (Glover)
7:41 B Glover (unassisted)
7:04 G Lawrence (Williams)
3:54 B Girardin (Glover)
2:43 G Leggat-Barr (Fraser) (MAN-UP)

Third quarter
10:06 G Lawrence (unassisted)
7:24 B Belanger (McDiramid)
6:50 G Wetmore (Schumacher) (MAN-UP)
5:32 G Fraser (Wetmore)
22.3 B Lyne (unassisted)

Fourth quarter
10:54 G Lawrence (Williams)
5:19 G Williams (unassisted)
3:59 G Wetmore (unassisted)
2:07 B McDiarmid (Glover)

Goals:
B- Girardin, Lyne 2, Belanger, Glover, McDiarmid, Nadeau 1
G- Lawrence 3, Fraser, Wetmore, Williams 2, Leggat-Barr, Schumacher 1

Assists:
B- Glover 3, McDiarmid 2
G- Williams 3, Wetmore 2, Fraser, Schumacher 1

Faceoffs (Greely, 18-4)
B- Coombs 3 of 16, Lopez 1 of 4, MacKinnon 0 of 2
G- J. Williams 16 of 18, C. Williams 2 of 4

Ground balls:
B- 29
G- 37

Turnovers:
B- 15
G- 13

Shots:
B- 27
G- 36

Shots on cage
B- 17
G- 21

Saves:
B (Pendergast) 10 
G (Gagnon) 9

CUMBERLAND—While it may have lacked the back-and-forth thrills of last year’s Class B state final, the Greely Rangers and Brunswick Dragons put on another memorable show in a midseason boys’ lacrosse showdown Saturday afternoon at Glenn A. Hutchins Field.

And after dropping last year’s title game in agonizing fashion, the Rangers enjoyed the rematch much more.

Greely channeled its disappointment and heartache into a solid effort, one which featured balanced scoring and a big edge in ball control, thanks in large part to the faceoff wizardry of senior Jackson Williams.

Each squad scored just once in the first period, but both offenses came to life in the second, scoring four times apiece to forge a 5-5 deadlock at the break.

But after playing two overtime thrillers in 2018, only 48 minutes would be needed this time around.

With 6:50 to play in the third quarter, junior Schuyler Wetmore scored a man-up goal for the Rangers to put the hosts on top to stay and while Greely clung to an 8-7 lead entering the fourth period, it put it away behind goals from junior Andrew Lawrence, Williams and Wetmore and went on to an inspirational 11-8 victory.

Williams had two goals, three assists and won a mindboggling 16 of 18 faceoffs, Lawrence scored three times and Wetmore and junior Ethan Fraser each added two goals to help the Rangers improve to 6-2 and in the process, hand the Dragons their first loss in seven outings this spring.

“This is huge,” said Williams. “We’ve thought about this game since last year. That wasn’t a good day for us. We haven’t been that consistent recently, so it’s really good to get this one.”

Encore

Last June 16, the teams produced one of the most memorable boys’ lacrosse state finals ever.

Brunswick, which had won the Class A crown in overtime the year before and hoped to add a Class B title to its resume, shot to a 7-3 lead after one quarter, but as it did in an overtime win in the regular season, Greely rallied.

The game would be tied at 10-10, 11-11, 12-12, and 13-13 before Max Gramins won it for the Dragons, 14-13, 3 minute, 6 seconds into overtime.

Both teams lost some top talent graduation, but to no one’s surprise, each squad is right back in the championship mix this spring.

Brunswick was dominant in the early going, doubling up host Gardiner, 16-8, rolling at Lewiston, 14-5, taking apart visiting Cony, 26-1, then handling visiting Edward Little, 16-1, but the Dragons’ last two games had been much closer, a 12-11 victory at Scarborough and Monday’s 15-11 win at Morse.

Greely, meanwhile, started with a 13-4 loss at Yarmouth, in a game that was close for three quarters. The Rangers then won five straight: 11-4 at North Yarmouth Academy, 12-2 at home over defending Class C champion Waynflete, 17-1 at Messalonskee, 17-3 at York and 19-1 at home over Cony. Tuesday, Greely dropped a hard-fought 9-7 home decision to undefeated Cape Elizabeth, in a game played on the turf at Falmouth High School.

Saturday proved to be one of the nicest days of the spring to date, as the temperature was 59 degrees at the start.

It proved to be a nice day for the Rangers as well, who got stronger as the game wore on and came out with a meaningful win.

Wetmore nearly opened the scoring early, but his over the shoulder shot hit the past and his second bid was denied by Brunswick’s talented senior goalie, Connor Pendergast.

The Dragons had a couple good early looks as well, but Greely junior goalie Sawyer Gagnon denied both senior Tyler Nadeau and senior Nolan Lyne.

With 5:22 to play in the frame, Fraser would open the scoring, with an unassisted goal, but after Rangers junior defenseman Cameron Aromando was sent off for a slashing penalty, Brunswick tied the game with 2 minutes remaining, as Nadeau took a feed from junior Jack McDiarmid and scored a man-up goal to make it 1-1.

The scoring pace picked up in the second period.

Just 38 seconds in, Williams set up senior Will Schumacher for the go-ahead goal.

With 10:49 left in the frame, Wetmore found Williams, who beat Pendergast for a 3-1 lead.

The next three goals would go to the visitors, as Lyne scored unassisted with 10:14 on the clock, senior Nate Girardin took a pass from senior Aiden Glover and bounced a shot past Gagnon with 8:47 to go in the half and with 7:41 remaining, after intercepting the ball, Glover raced in and scored for a 4-3 Dragons’ advantage.

It didn’t last, as 37 seconds later, in transition, Williams set up Lawrence to make it 4-4.

Brunswick retook the lead, man-up, with 3:54 left before halftime when Glover set up Girardin, but Greely answered with a man-up tally of its own with 2:43 remaining, when Fraser fed sophomore Elias Leggat-Barr to make the score 5-5 at halftime.

In the first half, Williams won 10 of 12 faceoffs, but shots were even, 17-17, and both goalies made their share of key saves to keep the contest deadlocked.

The Rangers then asserted control as the second half went on, as Williams remained dominant in the faceoff circle and Greely kept the ball away from the Dragons’ potent offense.

The Rangers opened up a 6-5 lead with 10:06 on the third quarter clock, when Lawrence scored unassisted, but after killing a couple penalties, Brunswick tied the game for the fifth and final time with 7:24 left in the frame, as McDiarmid assisted senior Jacob Belanger’s goal.

Twenty seconds later, however, senior Aidan Mitchell was sent off for holding and with 6:50 left in the third, Wetmore took a pass from Schumacher, then whistled a shot past Pendergast to give Greely the lead for good, 7-6.

Some pretty passing allowed the Rangers to get a little breathing room at 5:32, as in transition, Wetmore set up Fraser for the finish, but with 22.3 seconds to go in the quarter, after a pretty spin move, Lyne beat Gagnon to pull the Dragons within a goal, 8-7.

That’s as close as Brunswick would get, however, as Greely carried play in the fourth period and finally put it away.

Just 66 seconds into the final stanza, Williams set up Lawrence for a two-goal lead.

Then, after Lyne missed a good look in front, the Rangers transitioned to offense and while Leggat-Barr was denied by Pendergast, Williams was there to put home the rebound to make it 10-7.

Wetmore scored an unassisted goal with 3:59 on the clock for Greely’s final goal.

The Dragons would score one final time with 2:07 to play, as Glover set up McDiarmid, but in the final minute, Nadeau missed wide and Glover was denied by Gagnon and at 1:53 p.m., after nearly 11 months of waiting, the Rangers got to celebrate a dose of revenge, courtesy an 11-8 victory.

“At halftime, Coach (Mike Storey) reiterated to us about how we felt last year and how the seniors ended their careers with tears, so this is a little redemption,” said Williams.

“Brunswick is well-coached and well-organized,” Storey said. “They’re a good team. We’re concentrating on improving every game. This was a challenge for us on our home field. It’s a good win for us. Defensively, we held up well. The whole concept of our offense is to make sure everybody does their job and helps take care of it. They did well today.”

Lawrence had a game-high three goals, but he got plenty of help. Fraser, Wetmore and Williams all had two goals, while Leggat-Barr and Schumacher added one apiece.

Williams assisted on three goals, Wetmore had a pair of assists and Fraser and Schumacher finished with one apiece.

Gagnon made nine saves. 

Greely enjoyed an 18-4 dominance in the faceoff circle, as Williams went 16-of-18 by himself.

“I played with (Brunswick junior) Chandler (Coombs) the whole summer, so I’d like to think I kind of knew some of his traits, what he liked to do,” Williams said. “I just thought about last year and how badly I wanted to do well today. Possession is huge. Not just because I do (faceoffs). I like knowing I have an impact on the game. After every goal, I have an influence on whether the momentum goes in our direction or theirs.”

“Jackson did a great job in the faceoff circle for us,” Storey said. “We were able to possess the ball and make fewer mistakes.”

“Jackson is exceptional, but we knew that going in,” said Brunswick coach Don Glover. “The chess game behind it was conceding possession, but we knew he’s good getting out and setting up fastbreaks, so we had to counter that. A lot of little things went on with markups and subbing patterns and lockoffs and stuff like that.”

The Rangers had a 37-29 advantage on ground balls (Williams led in that category too, with 14), enjoyed a 36-27 edge in shots (21-17 on cage) and only committed 13 turnovers.

Lesson learned

Brunswick got two goals apiece from Girardin and Lyne and one each from Belanger, Aiden Glover, McDiarmid and Nadeau.

Aiden Glover had three assists, while McDiarmid finished with a pair.

Pendergast made 10 saves.

Girardin had a team-high six ground balls.

The Dragons committed 15 turnovers.

“We like the transition game and we got into trouble with not getting the ball out quickly enough,” Don Glover said. “They countered us really well. I’m proud of my guys for being gritty and digging in.”

Encore, encore?

Don’t be the least bit surprised if Brunswick and Greely do battle again in June, but both teams have some heavy lifting to do in the meantime.

The Dragons are back home Tuesday to meet Messalonskee, then they have two huge home tests in a four-day span, versus defending Class A North champion Falmouth Friday and against South Portland May 20. Brunswick finishes the regular season with games at Maranacook and at home versus Mt. Ararat.

“This will put a little fire in our belly,” Don Glover said. “We’ll put our helmets on Monday and focus on ground balls because they came up with some key ground balls at points today. Those are the pieces we’ll work on.

“I love the realignment. This was a sign that the Class B schools play really good lacrosse. We’re fortunate in our schedule to play good teams in each class. Falmouth will be tough and South Portland is exceptional right now. We’ve got a stretch right now where we need to just keep getting better.”

The Rangers return to action May 21 at home versus Freeport. A trip to Kennebunk, followed by a pivotal home tilt versus Yarmouth and a visit to Cape Elizabeth end the regular season.

“This gives us momentum,” Williams said. “We’re trying to click every day. I think we just want to get back to states. It’s that simple. It won’t be easy. I feel like we can make a run at it.”

“I feel like we’re making steps,” Storey said. “I don’t know as a coach if you’re ever satisfied, but this was a good day for us. Our goal is to improve on the last game and keep taking steps toward getting better. It doesn’t matter how you start the season, but how you end. It’s all about us improving from game to game.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Greely junior Schuyler Wetmore shoots as Brunswick sophomore Colin MacKinnon defends and senior goalie Connor Pendergast looks on.

Brunswick senior Aiden Glover scores a first period goal.

Brunswick senior Nolan Lyne is defended by Greely junior Cameron Aromando.

Brunswick senior goalie Connor Pendergast denies Greely junior Schuyler Wetmore for one of his 10 saves.

Greely senior Jackson Williams beats Brunswick junior Chandler Coombs for one of his 16 faceoff wins.

Greely senior Will Schumacher is robbed by Brunswick senior goalie Connor Pendergast.

Greely senior Jackson Williams, left, is mobbed by sophomore Elias Leggat-Barr after scoring a fourth period goal.

Greely senior Will Schumacher jumps for joy after scoring a goal.

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.