FALMOUTH—In a battle of unbeatens, the Greely boys’ hockey team is unbeaten no more.
The Rangers couldn’t overcome a three-goal first period deficit, falling to defending Class A state champion Biddeford, 5-2, Saturday at Family Ice Center.
Biddeford showed its offensive prowess early with three first-period goals from three different players, Scott Callahan, Bryan Dallaire and Mario Lemieux.
“I thought we were doing alright in the first period for awhile,” Greely coach Barry Mothes said. “We were a little shaky with the puck, they struck quickly and it hurt.”
Greely (10-1-1) had two early power-play opportunities but it couldn’t capitalize. It mustered only four shots in the opening period compared to Biddeford’s (9-0-2) 18.
“We had two power plays when the game was scoreless,” Mothes said. “ In a big game against a really good team you hope you can do something on the power play early to give you a lift. Even if you don’t score you hope you can generate some momentum. We didn’t do a good job getting a lift out of them.”
Senior captain John Downey cut the deficit to two midway through the second, streaking up the right side boards and blistering a slapshot past Biddeford goalie Jon Fields from the top of the circle. Pete Stauber was credited with an assist.
WIth 2:49 to play in the period the Rangers came inches from making it a one-goal game. Griffin Demick fired a similar shot to Downey’s but it rang the iron and the score stayed 3-1.
After a disastrous first period, Greely was clearly winning the second, but with 28 seconds remaining a turnover at the blueline led to a scoring chance for the Tigers. Goalie Matt Labbe made the initial save and a few thereafter, but the defense couldn’t clear the puck from danger before Brady Fleurent flipped it in off the backhand, making the score 4-1.
“It really hurt. Really hurt,” Mothes said. “You hate to give a goal up at any time, but especially the last minute of a period. We just didn’t take care of the puck. Next thing you know they are taking it at our net and we’re pulling it out of the net.”
The Rangers didn’t quit in the third, however, pulling back within two just 1:25 into the period when Devyn Rogers scored from the high slot with an assist from Kenny Richards.
The deficit and the Tigers were too much to overcome however as Fleurent added his second goal, this one off a power play, with 3:47 to play making it 5-2.
““Guys like Fleurent and Dallaire who have that kind of poise and skill with the puck and that kind of speed are incredibly dangerous,” Mothes said. “There are not a ton of players like that in Maine high school hockey and they happen to have a couple playing on the same line.”
Fleurent and Dallaire have 17 and 11 goals on the season respectively and they are first and second in points scored in Western Class A. Callahan, their linemate, is tied for third in points and has 10 goals himself.
Even against all that firepower, Greely played Biddeford even in the final two periods with each team scoring a goal apiece in both. Still, the Tigers outshot the Rangers 44-26.
“I think the second and third period are a better indication of how evenly matched these teams are,” Biddeford assistant and former head coach Jamie Gagnon said. “We’ve always considered Greely to be Class A talent in a Class B school.”
Greely (still tops in the Western B Heal Points standings) faces rival and third-ranked Cape Elizabeth (9-4) Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Portland Ice Arena. The two teams met in the season opener with the Rangers winning, 5-2.
Cape Elizabeth has won nine of its last 10 after dropping its first three games of the season.