Greely junior Jackson Williams, left, senior Ben Kennedy and sophomore Andy Moore accept the runner-up trophy after the Rangers’ 3-2 overtime loss to Old Town/Orono in Saturday’s Class B boys’ hockey state final.
Mike Strout photos.
More photos below.
LEWISTON—A little over five minutes into Saturday afternoon’s Class B boys’ hockey state final at the Colisee, the Greely Rangers, the unstoppable team from the school which seemingly couldn’t lose this winter, had a two-goal lead over Old Town/Orono, all the momentum and appeared destined for a coronation, but even in a season where more hardware appeared pre-ordained, a happy ending wasn’t meant to be.
Rebound tallies from sophomores Jake MacDonald and Andy Moore in a 31-second span set Greely up with a 2-0 lead, but to the surprise of everyone on hand, the Rangers wouldn’t score again and the Black Bears clawed their way back, all the way to the pinnacle.
With 2:05 to go in the first period, Old Town/Orono gained some life, as sophomore Tyler McCannel scored on a rebound.
Greely, which was hoping to win the school’s record sixth state championship this winter, killed off multiple minutes of Black Bears’ power plays in the second period and retained the lead, but with 9:28 to play in the third period, Old Town/Orono drew even, as McCannel scored again.
While the Rangers had their chances to answer to earn their first championship in five seasons, they couldn’t solve Old Town/Orono junior goalie Kohle Paker and the game went to overtime.
There, 3 minutes, 4 seconds into a possible eight-minute, “sudden victory” session, the Black Bears captured the crown, as senior captain Ben Allan-Rahill completed a breathtaking individual effort, rebounding his own shot past valiant Greely junior goalie Karsten Bourgoine for a 3-2 victory.
Old Town/Orono won a championship for the first time as a co-op team, finished its season 20-1 and in the process, ended the Rangers’ campaign at 17-3-1.
“In the end, I give a lot of credit to Old Town/Orono, their coaching staff, players and goaltender,” said longtime Greely coach Barry Mothes. “They played a strong game. It was an exciting high school hockey game.”
The Black Bears and Rangers have been on a state game collision course for awhile.
Greely bounced back from a season-opening 5-4 home overtime loss to Cape Elizabeth by beating visiting Brunswick (5-2), downing Falmouth in the “Dudley Cup” for the first time, 7-3, then beating host Mt. Ararat/Morse/Lisbon (7-2) and Kennebunk (7-3), visiting Gardiner (9-2), host York (5-3), host Brunswick (6-0), visiting Yarmouth (5-1) and visiting Kennebunk (5-1). After a 3-2 home loss to Gorham, the Rangers returned to their winning ways by downing host Biddeford (6-2), the Class A runner-up, Maranacook (8-1) and Gardiner (4-0), visiting Scarborough (3-0) and Camden Hills (8-2) and host Yarmouth (4-1). Greely closed by tying host St. Dom’s, 1-1, but still ended up with a 15-2-1 mark (its best since going 17-1 in 2008-09) and the top seed in Class B South.
After earning a bye into the semifinals, the Rangers defeated No. 4 Yarmouth, 4-1, then held off No. 2 Cape Elizabeth, 3-2, in Tuesday’s regional final.
Old Town/Orono was clearly the premier team in Class B North all year, winning 17 of 18 games, losing only to Houlton (in overtime). As the top seed, the Black Bears dispatched fourth-ranked Hampden Academy, 7-3, in the semifinals, then eliminated third-seeded Presque Isle, 6-1, in the regional final.
The teams had no playoff history.
Saturday, Greely got off to a fast start, but the Black Bears hung around.
The first shot on goal came 58 seconds in, as Old Town/Orono freshman Tanner Evans took it and had it denied by Bourgoine.
The Rangers then started to press and after senior Matt Dubbert’s wrister was denied by Parker, Parker denied junior Jackson Williams and Dubbert again before MacDonald pounced on a loose puck in front and at 4:38, buried it for a 1-0 lead (Dubbert and Williams got assists).
Greely didn’t rest on its laurels and 31 seconds later, went up 2-0.
The play started with a nice backhanded pass from Moore to get the puck up the ice to sophomore Matt Kramlich, who fed senior Quinn Molloy for a shot. Molloy’s shot was saved by Parker, but Moore was there to finish the rebound to double the lead with 9:51 remaining in the first period.
The Rangers pushed for a third tally, but Parker stopped bids from Dubbert, Kramlich, Moore and MacDonald.
The Old Town/Orono offense began to awaken late in the period and after Bourgoine stopped shots from senior Jacob Dubay and sophomore Antti Jarvicare, the Black Bears cut the deficit to 2-1 at 12:55, when Dubay had a shot saved by Bourgoine, but the rebound sat free for McCannel, who went five-h0le, and Old Town/Orono was back in the game.
The Black Bears got additional life with 1:49 left, when they went on the power play, a 5-on-4 advantage that turned into a 5-on-3 opportunity with 42.9 seconds left.
Old Town/Orono got one shot, from Jarvicare, which Bourgoine turned aside, before the end of the first period.
Greely enjoyed a 13-10 shots advantage in the first 15 minutes.
In the second period, the Black Bears started two-men up, then had several minutes of 5-of-4, but couldn’t pull even.
Old Town/Orono only generated one shot on the advantage, a bid from senior Austin Soucy, which Bourgoine saved.
“I said to one of the coaches, ‘We missed out on a great opportunity and it might come back and haunt us,’ but the kids didn’t give up,” said Old Town/Orono coach Denis Collins.
With 9:02 left in the second period, the Black Bears went on the power play again after Parker made a nice save on a shorthanded bid from MacDonald, Soucy put a shot on goal that Bourgoine saved and the rebound was cleared.
With 5:35 remaining, Greely went on the power play for the first time, but couldn’t generate a shot. In fact, Old Town/Orono had the best chance, as junior Trent Lick set up Evans in front, but Evans whiffed on the shot.
“We were fortunate to survive the five-minute major,” said Mothes. “That set us up well, but we didn’t play the second period I would have liked. That was unfortunately one of our less dynamic power plays of the year. We just didn’t look very organized. We weren’t as poised as we should have been.”
Late in the period, Parker saved a shot from Molloy, Allan-Rahill tipped a shot wide for the Black Bears, Parker denied Moore and Allan-Rahill hit the outside of the post, keeping the score 2-1 Rangers heading to the third period.
Where Old Town/Orono tied it up.
The Rangers did hold on for over five minutes, as Bourgoine denied McCannel and a flurry in front of the goal was broken up.
With 9:28 left in regulation, Old Town/Orono sophomore Nate Young won the faceoff to McCannel, who beat Bourgoine between his legs to tie the game, 2-2.
With the momentum on their side, the Black Bears tried to go ahead, but after a crazy bounce off the end boards, Allan-Rahill had a shot saved, Dubay was denied by Bourgoine twice and after a turnover, Evans had a shot saved by Bourgoine as well.
Then, suddenly, Greely flipped the switch and went back on the attack.
First, Kramlich had a bid saved by Parker. Then, junior Peter Lattanzi was denied, Dubbert hit the outside of the post, senior Ben Kennedy had a shot saved and Williams’ rebound was also turned aside and with 4:39 remaining, Kramlich had a shot saved as well.
Nineteen seconds later, Old Town/Orono had a golden opportunity to grab the lead, as Dubay got free after a great move, but Bourgoine robbed him cold.
“Karsten was tremendous,” Mothes said. “It felt like he kept us in it. Credit to him for making big saves. He’s frustrated with the goals that went in, he’s competitive, but he had a fantastic game and gave us a chance to win it.”
With 3:07 on the clock, it was Parker’s turn to shine, as he denied Williams in front.
Late in regulation, Bourgoine made saves on shots from McCannel, Allan-Rahill, Lick and Allan-Rahill again and a final attempt for the Rangers saw MacDonald’s blast settle into the glove of Parker.
Forty-five minutes solved nothing, other than the Black Bears holding a 33-28 edge in shots, and the game would go to overtime.
After a short break, Old Town/Orono would culminate its comeback with a championship goal, but not before Greely had some chances first.
Just six seconds into OT, Bourgoine denied McCannel.
At the other end, MacDonald set up Kramlich for a blast that was saved by Parker. Off the ensuing faceoff, Kramlich tried again, but was denied again.
After a blast from Dubay was saved by Bourgoine, Dubbert shot high for the Rangers and with 5:09 on the clock, Kramlich had a shot saved by Parker.
Thirteen seconds later, it was over.
The winning rush was set up by a pass from senior Josh Wheeler to Dubay, who raced up the right boards, got past a defenseman’s check and while stumbling, Dubay passed the puck across to Allan-Rahill.
Allan-Rahill tried to finish, but Bourgoine made a great save.
Problem was, the puck bounced right back to Allan-Rahill, who tried again and this time fired the puck into the net.
At 2:52 p.m., it was official.
Old Town/Orono 3 Greely 2.
“I can’t thank Jake enough for that goal,” said Allan-Rahill. “At the beginning of overtime, I told Jake the universe designed it for him to score, but he passed to me. I shot, thought, ‘Oh no.’ Then I looked down, the puck was there and I gave it all I’ve got to get it in the net. It’s a dream come true. I can’t even breathe right now, my mouth’s so dry.”
The Black Bears had a 37-30 shots advantage and got 28 saves from Parker as they culminated a magical season with a shiny new trophy.
“It’s so much fun,” said Allan-Rahill. “We had to keep our heads up. Two goals that quick was shocking, but we got one back, reconvened and came back. Coach told us to treat each period as a game. We came out for the third period like it was 0-0.”
“I came here with no expectations,” said Collins. “We had a plan of one period at a time. We lost the first, tied the second and wanted to win the third. We knew if we scored, momentum would come our way and we’re lucky we did. We told the guys to leave everything on the ice in the third period. Good things happen. Success comes with a lot of pain. That’s our motto this year. The guys left everything on the ice.”
The Rangers got 34 saves from Bourgoine, but fell to 3-2 all-time in state finals (0-2 in overtime).
“I thought we had the start we wanted,” Mothes said. “We had a lot of momentum. Ultimately, two goals wasn’t enough. We couldn’t generate offense. We couldn’t attack and penetrate the way I would have liked to. When we do that consistently, we’re much more effective. We were doing too much one-on-one, one-on-two stuff, taking long shots. We didn’t have a second or third shot the last two periods. We had good looks late in the third period and in overtime and I wish we could have buried one, but they were a little bit better than we were today.”
Greely won 17 times (and tied another) in 21 games and was rightly viewed as one of the elite teams in the state, regardless of class.
“It’s been a great season,” said Mothes. “I’m not sure the players feel a great sense of consolation about that right now, but we had a lot of success. We won the ‘Dudley Cup’ and the regional championship. We got to come up here and play three exciting games. It’s been a pleasure.”
The Rangers lose Dubbert, Kennedy, Molloy, Andrew Eckhardt and Cole Stetson, but a lot of talent is poised to return to make another run at the championship in 2018-19.
“I hope the guys coming back next year want to get cracking and work hard to get back here,” Mothes said. “We have a lot of younger guys who were part of this season. They grew and learned a lot competing against some of the stronger players on our team. They’ll have a lot to contribute next year when we start this back up.”
Greely senior Matt Dubbert tries to get past Old Town/Orono sophomore Dylan Street.
Greely sophomore Matt Kramlich tries to break through the Old Town/Orono defense.
Greely sophomore Caleb Duff carries the puck up the ice.
Old Town/Orono sophomore Antti Jarvicare keeps the puck away from Greely sophomore Andy Moore.
Greely junior Jackson Williams shoots on Old Town/Orono junior goalie Kohle Parker.
Greely junior Peter Lattanzi tries to get control of the puck in front.
Greely junior goalie Karsten Bourgoine keeps a wary eye on Old Town/Orono junior Trent Lick.
The Greely cheering section showed up with enthusiasm and props.
2013 Class B
Greely 3 Messalonskee 0
2012 Class B
Greely 6 Messalonskee 2
2009 Class B
Greely 5 Presque Isle 1
2007 Class B
Brewer 4 Greely 3 (OT)