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Greely’s Ryan Moore controls the puck during the Rangers’ 10-1 win over Gorham in Saturday’s Class B South semifinal. Greely will again battle Cape Elizabeth in the regional final Wednesday night.
Yarmouth’s William Giese shoots on Cape Elizabeth goalie Garrett Mello during the Capers’ 2-0 win in last week’s Class B South quarterfinals.
(Ed. Note: For the complete Yarmouth-Cape Elizabeth and South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete-Cheverus game stories, with photos, see theforecaster.net)
Greely’s boys’ hockey team stood one win from another trip to the state final and two victories from a championship at press time.
Yarmouth and the South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete co-op squad weren’t as fortunate last week.
After dropping a 3-2 double-overtime heartbreaker to Old Town/Orono in last year’s Class B state final, Greely has had a single focus this winter, getting back to the Colisee in Lewiston and finishing what that team started.
After a dominant 16-2 regular season, marred only by losses to Class A North finalists Lewiston (the two-time defending state champion) and St. Dom’s, the Rangers earned the top seed for the Class B South playoffs and with it, a bye into Saturday’s semifinal round against fifth-seeded Gorham, a team Greely defeated twice this year.
Saturday, the Rangers did it again, breaking open a close game with seven third period goals en route to a 10-1 victory. Andy Moore had a hat trick, Jake MacDonald and Jackson Williams each scored twice and goalie Jared Swisher made 25 saves.
Greely led, 3-1, after two periods and kept the Rams in the game with penalties, but saved its best for last.
“We’ve been working hard on our conditioning the last month or so and I think we had more left in the tank in the third,” said Greely coach Barry Mothes. “I’m not walking out of here walking on air. We spent way too much time either killing penalties or a man up. We really weren’t able to get into a nice bang-bang-bang, three-line rhythm the way we like to.”
The Rangers advanced to the regional final for the 13th time in 16 years, where they’ll battle No. 2 Cape Elizabeth (14-5) Wednesday at 7 p.m., in Lewiston (see theforecaster.net for game story).
Greely won both meetings this winter, 5-1 at home Dec. 22 and 3-1 Feb. 16 in Portland.
The Rangers are 6-3 all-time against the Capers in the playoffs, with last year’s 3-2 regional final win the most recent.
If Greely gets back to the state game, it could get a shot at revenge against Old Town/Orono (14-5), or face Waterville/Winslow (14-5) Saturday at 1 p.m., in Lewiston.
The Rangers didn’t face either potential foe in the regular season. Greely has no playoff history with Waterville/Winslow.
Yarmouth was the No. 7 seed in Class B South and gave second-ranked Cape Elizabeth a 45-minute battle in last week’s quarterfinals in Portland, but the Clippers couldn’t get the puck in the net and lost, 2-0, thanks to two third period goals from the Capers. Yarmouth goalie Charles Henry Watson stopped 27 shots.
“I’m proud of the way we worked tonight,” Clippers coach Dave St. Pierre said. “We set up a game plan and the boys committed to it extremely well. They executed everything I asked of them. We showed (Cape) that we’re capable of going toe-to-toe with them.”
The Clippers expect to be back in contention next winter.
“We’re losing a lot of seniors, but we have a good group of freshmen coming in next year,” said St. Pierre. “We’ll be a little young, but we have good talent. Our seniors will have to help them along the way and we’ll see where we end up at the end of the season.”
The SP/Freeport/Waynflete co-op squad, ranked third in Class A South, knocked off sixth-seeded Cheverus, 4-2, in last week’s quarterfinal round game in Portland. Freeport’s Deven Hannan scored twice.
“At the beginning of the year, we got down early and that takes life out of a team,” Hannan said. “For us to get up early, that was really big. It gave us a lot of momentum. We’ve struggled to beat Cheverus and we finally got it done.”
The Red Riots then fell, 3-1, to No. 2 Biddeford, the defending regional champion, in Saturday’s semifinals in Lewiston to finish the year 11-9. Freeport’s Andrew Burns had the lone goal.
“We gave them a game,” SP/Freeport/Waynflete coach Joe Robinson said. “We played really well. We had plenty of chances to score.”
Press Herald staff writers Glenn Jordan and Kevin Thomas contributed to this story.