CUMBERLAND — The Greely hockey team played with heightened intensity against the fast and fancy Scarborough Red Storm Saturday night, but still settled for a 2-2 tie at the Family Ice Center.
Greely junior winger Justin Murphy scored twice for his team-leading 14th and 15th goals of the season, while senior captain Carter Cyr patrolled the ice with reckless abandon and junior goalie Matt Labbe proved sterling between the pipes.
However, the Rangers couldn’t dig out that go-ahead goal, forcing them to skate off even for the first time this season and 5-4-1 record.
Murphy converted a turnover at the blue line for the 1-0 lead midway through the first period, but the Red Storm tied the game with a goal in the second on the two-man advantage. Scarborough then took the lead at 2-1 to start the third when sophomore Nick Bagley whistled home a slapper.
The Rangers answered back about 90 seconds later when Murphy’s second goal locked things up at 2-2 with 11:47 still left to play, setting in motion nearly 20 minutes of high-octane, and chippy, hockey.
“I’m pleased with the effort and how hard we played,” said Greely coach Barry Mothes. “In the last three games I felt we could have worked a lot harder. The type of effort we got tonight is what we need to win games. We dug down and played with more character than we have recently.”
Cyr and Red Storm sophomore Joe Cronin had a tough time getting along from the anthem right down to the final buzzer.
Cyr flattened Cronin in front of the net with three minutes left in the first period. By the end of the second, the two were rolling around on the ice and tussling inside the Greely goal.
Cronin was eventually sent away for the final 1:57 of the second period and the first three seconds of the third.
“It comes down to protecting the goaltender,” said Cyr. “(Labbe) has been standing on his head for us all season. He’s carried us and from time to time we need to help him out. We played a lot harder than we have been lately, but we still need to work on seeing the puck, staying tight on defense and keeping our sticks in passing lanes. We’d like to be able to break the puck out a little cleaner, but we’re a young team and to a certain extent we’re happy chipping it out and taking our chances.”
Cronin’s penalty was one of two the Red Storm were assessed the entire contest. Greely, meanwhile, was hit with seven, spending nearly one full period down a skater.
Scarborough took advantage once when senior Trevor Hoxsie camped out at the top of the crease and one-timed a perfect slide pass from junior Brian McKeown over Labbe’s left shoulder to tie the game at 1-1 with 12:02 left in the second period.
With the score still tied at 1-1 after two periods, both teams had put 15 shots on net but things began leaning Scarborough’s way for the rest of the game. Greely tacked on three penalties in the third for a total of seven in the game, as the Red Storm picked up an edge in shots the rest of the way, putting 17 on Labbe (30 saves) while Scarborough senior goalie Matt Mayo (21 saves) faced only eight, three in the overtime.
“We still need to get more pucks on net,” said Murphy. “I’ve been able to get a lot of shots off this year and had a bunch go in, but as a team, we need to get the puck in deep, crash the net and finish. We worked hard tonight. But Scarborough is a good team and they worked just as hard as we did. We had a chance to win this game but all-in-all we’ll take the tie and the points.”
After McKeown dug the puck out from the boards and fed Bagley to make it 2-1 at 1:13 of the third period, the Rangers took advantage of a faceoff in the Red Storm end and tied the game.
Greely junior John Downey won the draw, Murphy swept in and corralled the bouncing puck before drifting to the point and lifting a hard wrister by Mayo to tie the game at 2-2 at 3:13 of the third.
The Rangers fought off two more penalties late in the third period, including one with under two minutes left in regulation that forced them to start overtime down a man for the first 46 seconds.
“We’ve spent a lot of time on defense this year and gained a lot of poise,” said senior captain Ben Walsh. “It’s when we play tense that mistakes happen. The entire team chipped in on the defensive end and made plays to clear the puck out. We wanted to come out and play physical against a quick team and try to slow them down. Tonight we did a good job of playing the body and that created opportunities for us on offense.”
Greely will take the ice again Saturday at Yarmouth before traveling to Leavitt Monday.
Greely senior Ben Walsh prepares to lay a hit on Scarborough junior Nick Bagley during the teams’ showdown Saturday night.
Greely junior Justin Murphy celebrates one of his two goals Saturday night. The Rangers rallied on a late Murphy goal to forge a 2-2 tie with Western A contender Scarborough.