Hockey playoffs underway, Yarmouth starts title defense with a win-Northern edition

  • Mail this page!
  • Delicious
  • 0

Yarmouth’s Cooper May exults after scoring the clinching goal in Monday’s 4-1 win over Cape Elizabeth in a Class B South quarterfinal. May had three goals to help the defending regional champion Clippers advance to meet York in Friday’s semifinals.

(Ed. Note: For the full Yarmouth-Cape Elizabeth game story, with additional photos, see theforecaster.net)

The puck dropped on the boys’ hockey postseason Monday evening and defending Class B South champion Yarmouth is up to its old tricks, upsetting third-ranked Cape Elizabeth, 4-1, in a quarterfinal. The sixth-seeded Clippers will play No. 2 York in the semifinals Friday.

Greely, ranked fourth in Class B South, hosted No. 5 Kennebunk in a quarterfinal Tuesday evening (see theforecaster.net for game story) with the winner advancing to meet top-ranked Gardiner in the semifinals Friday.

Falmouth finished with the top seed in Class A South and earned a bye into the semifinals Saturday in Lewiston. The Yachtsmen will open against either No. 4 Portland/Deering or No. 5 Massabesic/Bonny Eagle/Old Orchard Beach.

Not done yet

Yarmouth was 6-3-1 at one point this season, but the Clippers struggled down the stretch, going just 1-7 to finish with the sixth seed in Class B South. Yarmouth closed last Tuesday with a 3-2 home loss against Cape Elizabeth despite goals from Bill Jacobs and Cooper May.

The Clippers faced the Capers again Monday in the quarterfinals in Portland. Yarmouth had won five of the previous eight playoff encounters, but Cape Elizabeth had taken the past three and swept two games this season (also prevailing, 4-3, in overtime, at home).

This time, Yarmouth put together its best game of the season.

The Clippers came out with great energy and while they didn’t score in the first period, they were rewarded 2 minutes, 44 seconds into the second when Dom Morrill found the net. After killing a 5-on-3 Capers’ power play, Yarmouth doubled its lead at the 9:39 mark of the second when Cooper May tickled the twine to make it 2-0.

The Clippers managed to protect the lead thanks to series of stellar saves from goalie Dan Latham, then, with 4:35 to play in the third period, delivered the dagger, as after Bennett Travers produced a terrific individual effort to win the puck, he set up May for another goal.

Cape Elizabeth finally solved Latham with 1:31 left, but 53 seconds later, May fired the puck into an empty net to complete his hat track and Yarmouth put the finishing touches on an impressive 4-1 victory.

In addition to May’s three goals, Latham stopped 39 shots.

“We played a full 45 and we all worked together,” Latham said. “We put something out on the ice that we’re proud of. We’ve always felt that if we give up two or less goals, we can pull out any game. We’re the defending champions and we have something to prove.”

“It’s been a tough stretch for us, but we had to hold our heads high and keep competing and focus on the next practice and the next game,” May said. “We knew it would come.”

“We refocused on our theme of being a family and coming together and working for each other,” added Yarmouth coach Dave St. Pierre. “We talked a lot about that the last week of practice. You saw guys working for each other. Taking hits to make plays, chipping pucks into places they had to. It came down to our will.”

Friday night, at the Colisee in Lewiston, Yarmouth will battle a York squad it lost to, 7-0, Feb. 11 on the road.

The Clippers have won four of the previous six playoff encounters. The Wildcats took the most recent, 5-4, in the 2010 regional final.

“We’ve said all year that one through six (in the region) this year, flip a coin,” St. Pierre said. “I think we’ve got as good a chance as anybody. Why not us?”

Surging

Greely missed the playoffs a year ago, but came on strong at the end of the regular season, finishing 12-6 after losing at home to York (6-2) and beating visiting Kennebunk (4-1) last week. Andrew Moore and Ryan Sullivan scored in the loss. In the win over the Rams, Moore, Jake MacDonald, Quinn Molloy and Jackson Williams all lit the lamp.

The Rangers’ victory in the finale gave them the No. 4 seed in Class B South and allowed them to host No. 5 Kennebunk (12-5-1). In addition to last week’s win, Greely lost, 5-1, at the Rams back on Jan. 9. The teams had played twice before in the playoffs, with each winning once. The most recent matchup came back in the 1998 Western B Final, an 8-2 Kennebunk triumph.

If the Rangers advanced, they’d battle No. 1 Gardiner (13-5) in the regional semifinals Friday night in Lewiston. The host Tigers won the season opener, 3-2, but Greely prevailed, 5-4, on its home ice Feb. 7. The teams have no playoff history.

The favorite

Falmouth enjoyed a dominant 14-3-1 regular season and after edging host Cheverus, 4-3, in its finale last week, earned the top seed for the Class A South playoffs.

The Yachtsmen earned a bye into Saturday night’s semifinals where they will either play No. 4 Portland/Deering (10-7-1) or fifth-ranked Massabesic/Bonny Eagle/Old Orchard Beach (11-5-2). Falmouth won, 7-2, at Portland/Deering on Feb. 11 and won both prior playoff meetings, including a 10-2 victory in the 2015 quarterfinals. The Yachtsmen didn’t play MOB this season. The teams have no playoff history.

Championships

Looking ahead, the Class A South Final will be Tuesday of next week in Lewiston.

The Class B South Final is Wednesday of next week in Lewiston.

The Class B state final will be contested Saturday, March 11 at 1 p.m. in Lewiston.

The Class A state game is March 11 at 6 p.m. in Lewiston.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

0
Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.