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Greely junior goalie Sawyer Gagnon is congratulated by his teammates at the conclusion of Monday’s 13-5 home win over Yarmouth. Gagnon made 19 saves.
Greely junior Schuyler Wetmore first a shot on the Yarmouth defense.
Y- 2 1 1 1- 5
G- 2 3 5 3- 13
10:32 G Fraser (Lawrence)
6:11 Y Guertler (Hamm)
4:27 G Lawrence (Wetmore)
43.4 Y Corey (unassisted)
8:48 G Fraser (J. Williams) (MAN-UP)
7:49 G Fraser (Wetmore)
6:03 G Wetmore (Fraser)
3:41 Y Garrett (unassisted)
11:36 Y Corey (unassisted)
6:15 G Lawrence (unassisted)
3:25 G Wetmore (unassisted)
2:50 G Fraser (unassisted)
1:29 G Fraser (unassisted)
6.1 G Fraser (Wetmore)
9:52 G Lawrence (unassisted)
8:08 G Fraser (Lawrence)
6:22 Y Hamm (unassisted)
38.5 G Fraser (Lawrence) (MAN-UP)
Y- Corey 2, Garrett, Guertler, Hamm 1
G- Fraser 8, Lawrence 3, Wetmore 2
Y- Hamm 1
G- Lawrence, Wetmore 3, Fraser, J. Williams 1
Faceoffs (Greely, 11-10)
Y- Primeau 9 of 20, Sullivan 1 of 1
G- J. Williams 9 of 17, C. Williams 2 of 3, Sasseville 0 of 1
Shots on cage
Y (King) 9
G (Gagnon) 19
CUMBERLAND—On April 18, Greely’s boys’ lacrosse team went to Yarmouth and lost by nine goals.
But an awful lot has changed for the better for the Rangers over the past five-and-a-half weeks.
Monday evening, Greely welcomed the Clippers to Glenn A. Hutchins Field and behind a terrific team effort, highlighted by a pair of extraordinary individual performances, the Rangers earned a critical late-season victory and made quite a statement in the process.
Just 88 seconds in, junior Ethan Fraser scored for Greely and that would become a common theme as the game wore on.
Yarmouth managed to tie the game at 1-1 and 2-2, but when Fraser scored man-up with 8:48 to go in the first half, the Rangers took the lead for good.
Fraser and junior Schuyler Wetmore added goals and while the Clippers got a late tally from senior Andrew Garrett, Greely held a 5-3 advantage at the half, thanks in large part to a dozen saves, nine in the second quarter alone, from junior goalie Sawyer Gagnon.
Junior Anders Corey was credited for a goal 24 seconds into the second half, when Gagnon couldn’t corral the ball and it rolled into the goal, but Gagnon never let Yarmouth draw even and the Rangers finished the third quarter on a five-goal surge, as Fraser scored three times and Wetmore and junior Andrew Lawrence each found the net once.
Goals from Lawrence, Fraser and Fraser again put it away and Greely closed out an impressive 13-5 victory.
Fraser finished with a career high eight goals, Gagnon made 19 saves and the Rangers improved to 9-2, gained the inside track for homefield advantage for the upcoming Class B playoffs and in the process, dropped the Clippers to 7-4.
“It’s nice to have a good win over a very good team,” said Greely coach Mike Storey. “We work on improving every game and getting ourselves where we need to be by playoffs. This is a big step for us against a really good team, coming out here and executing.”
Yarmouth has had the better of Greely over the years, winning 16 of 20 meetings dating back to the 2002 season (see sidebar, below), including a 13-4 home win April 18, as Corey scored five goals and junior Gavin Hamm added four.
Greely lost last year’s state final to Brunswick in overtime, but has moved on to 2019.
“Last year is motivation, but at the beginning of the year, we said we’d forget about last year,” Fraser said. “Coach banned the words ‘last year.'”
The Rangers started with a 13-4 loss at Yarmouth, 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. After falling, 9-7, to visiting Cape Elizabeth, the Rangers downed visiting Brunswick in a Class B state final rematch, 11-8, then blanked visiting Freeport (14-0) and Friday, held on for a 10-8 win at Kennebunk.
Yarmouth, meanwhile, beat visiting Greely in its first game, 13-4, then dropped an overtime heartbreaker at Cape Elizabeth, 8-7, before handling visiting Kennebunk (13-5) and winning at North Yarmouth Academy (16-2). After a 13-12 loss at South Portland, the Clippers held off visiting York, 14-11, then won at defending Class A North champion Falmouth (10-4), at Lake Region (15-5) and at home over Scarborough (11-5). Last Thursday, Yarmouth fell at home to Cape Elizabeth, 9-2.
Monday, on a pleasant 60 degree evening, Greely continued its steady improvement and stole the show.
Senior Jackson Williams got the Rangers possession to start and with 10:32 to go in the first quarter, Fraser hinted at a huge game to come, taking a pass from Lawrence and firing a shot past Clippers junior goalie Spencer King for a 1-0 lead.
Yarmouth struggled with turnovers early, as it threw the ball away five times and had two shots saved by Gagnon before it drew even with 6:11 to go in the first, as in transition, Hamm set up senior Michael Guertler.
Lawrence put Greely back on top with 4:27 on the clock, as Wetmore had the assist.
The Clippers then tied it, 2-2, with 43.4 seconds remaining in the quarter, as Corey, who was the focal point of the Rangers’ defense all night, managed to finish unassisted.
Yarmouth had a golden opportunity to take its first lead early in the second period, as it went man-up for a minute, but Gagnon began to take center stage, denying both Corey and senior Kurt Heywood.
After Greely killed the penalty, the Clippers kept the pressure on, but Gagnon denied Corey and senior Connor Senger.
The Rangers then went man-up and after King denied sophomore Elias Leggat-Barr, the hosts kept possession and Williams fed Fraser for the lead with 8:48 to go in the half.
Fifty-nine seconds later, Fraser got the ball from Wetmore on the doorstep and finished again.
After Gagnon preserved the lead with a point blank save on Guertler, Fraser set up Wetmore in transition for a 5-2 lead with 6:03 to go before halftime.
The Clippers got a goal back with 3:41 left in the half, as Garrett beat Gagnon top shelf, but down the stretch, Gagnon robbed both Garrett and Heywood to keep Greely on top, 5-3, at the break.
In the second quarter alone, Gagnon stopped nine shots and he had a dozen saves in the half.
“Sawyer has stepped up all year for us and he stepped up again today,” Storey said. “He’s made some incredible saves. He got us out of some tight jams.”
“A lot of those saves were point blank,” said Clippers coach David Pearl.
Yarmouth appeared to get a break just 24 seconds into the third period, when after saving a shot by Corey, Gagnon couldn’t keep control of the ball and it trickled into the goal with Corey getting credit for the score, allowing the Clippers to creep within one.
Yarmouth would then have multiple opportunities to tie the game, but couldn’t do so and with 6:15 on the clock, Lawrence scored unassisted.
The Clippers then earned two minutes of man-up play, but couldn’t convert, as Gagnon denied Guertler.
Greely then gained some breathing room.
With 3:25 left in the third quarter, Wetmore scored an unassisted goal.
A mere 35 seconds later, Fraser scored unassisted.
With 1:29 on the clock, Fraser struck again, unassisted.
Then, with just 6.1 seconds left in the period, in transition, Wetmore set up Fraser for another goal and a 10-4 advantage.
“Ethan has been great all year,” Storey said. “He moves really well and he’s hard to keep up with. We preach ball movement, so I give credit to the people passing to him and to Ethan for finishing.”
The Rangers then ended any lingering doubt early in the fourth quarter, as Lawrence scored unassisted with 9:52 remaining and Lawrence set up Fraser for a 12-4 lead with 8:08 to play.
Hamm answered for the Clippers, unassisted, with 6:22 on the clock, but with 38.5 seconds to go, Fraser scored for the eighth and final time, from Lawrence, and Greely closed out its 13-5 victory.
“We wanted to defend our home field and we did that really well,” said Fraser. “Our coaches really push us in practice and we go 100 percent every day.”
“The team energy was really positive and everyone fed on that,” said Gagnon.
Fraser led the way with eight goals and he also added an assist.
“It was really just my teammates helping me out,” said Fraser. “We had good energy and the bench and crowd were great. It was a lot of hard work. We have so many capable guys on the field, so teams can’t key on just one or two guys.”
Lawrence scored three goals and also had three assists.
Wetmore had two goals and three assists and Jackson Williams also had an assist.
Gagnon was superb with 19 saves and he and his defensemen didn’t allow Yarmouth to score on any of their five man-up opportunities.
“I just saw the ball well and everyone helped,” said Gagnon. “It’s all about team effort. Getting the ball out on the clear and pushing transition.
“Man-down (success) was just a combination of everyone sliding when they needed to and locking up the guys we needed to lock up.”
The Rangers had an 11-10 edge in faceoffs and a 32-24 advantage in ground balls (sophomore Chris Williams led the way with six and Fraser collected five) and overcame 26 turnovers.
Yarmouth got two goals from Corey and one apiece from Garrett, Guertler and Hamm (who also had an assist).
King made nine saves.
Hamm had a team-high four ground balls.
The Clippers outshot the Rangers, 35-33 (24-22 on cage), but couldn’t solve Gagnon and they turned the ball over 24 times.
“We’re going to have to find out our identity after this game,” Pearl said. “It was a very disappointing second half. We came out strong and had shots, but the Greely boys played with a lot of spirit today, a lot of confidence. They worked really hard and worked well together. They were the better team today. Hats off to their coaches and their players who played well.
“When you face adversity, it’s about being able to figure it out. When we’ve come up against adversity, we’ve struggled at times. We’ve played well at times and when you’re playing with confidence and the ball bounces your way, that’s when it’s easy. When things aren’t going your way, figuring out how to turn things around is the making of a great team.
“If all goes well, we’ll see (Greely) a third time (in the playoffs), but we’ve made things hard on ourselves. We love our challenging schedule. I wish we could play this game again right now.”
Yarmouth is now ranked second in the Class B Heal Points standings. The Clippers finish the regular season at home Friday on Senior Night versus defending Class C champion Waynflete (see theforecaster.net for game story) and would love to stay ahead of Brunswick to remain in the No. 2 spot.
“We’ve got a short week of practice, then a big game with Waynflete,” Pearl said. “We’ll have to figure it out.
Greely (first in Class B) has one huge test left, at Cape Elizabeth Thursday (see theforecaster.net for game story).
“I think it helps us to finish first,” Gagnon said. “This game was huge. We need to work hard, bring positive energy and communicate a lot and we’ll find the success we’re looking for.”
“We always preach that it doesn’t matter where we start, but where we finish,” said Storey. “It’s very important to have homefield advantage. We like playing at home. It’s nice to win on our home field. If we work hard every day, we can end up where we need to be. We’ll try to take advantage of our opportunities, but it will take a lot of work to get us where we want to go.”
Yarmouth 8 @ Greely 4
Greely 8 @ Yarmouth 7 (OT)
Yarmouth 16 @ Greely 10
@ Yarmouth 11 Greely 6
Yarmouth 9 @ Greely 5
@ Greely 13 Yarmouth 12
@ Yarmouth 17 Greely 4
Yarmouth 15 @ Greely 2
Yarmouth 16 @ Greely 1
Yarmouth 15 @ Greely 7
@ Yarmouth 16 Greely 0
@ Yarmouth 14 Greely 3
Yarmouth 11 @ Greely 3
Yarmouth 15 @ Greely 2
@ Yarmouth 15 Greely 3
@ Yarmouth 12 Greely 9
@ Greely 9 Yarmouth 8
@ Greely 10 Yarmouth 6