Greely dominates York in testy showdown
FALMOUTH—Coming off successive losses to open the 2013 portion of its schedule, the Greely boys' hockey team didn't need much motivation.
Making the Rangers even hungrier Thursday evening at Family Ice Center was the team lined up across from them.
Longtime rival York.
As it turned out, the Wildcats never had a chance.
Greely erupted for five first period goals, added four more in a second period which was marred by a rarely seen fight and scored four more times in the third as it went on to a surprisingly decisive 13-0 victory.
The Rangers got two goals apiece from junior captain Ted Hart, sophomores Mitchel Donovan and Reid Howland and freshman Jarod Lavallee and placed 10 different players in the scoring column as they improved to 5-2 and dropped York to 5-6.
"I thought our guys did a lot of things well tonight and we're pleased about that, but the number of penalties and the edge that came into the game just isn't the night of hockey you hope to have," said longtime Greely coach Barry Mothes. "It wasn't the sort of game I recall Greely and York having played over the years. We've had last-second drama, overtimes, close games. I don't remember a game with this kind of score differential."
Returning to form
Greely won its second Class B championship in three seasons last March, 6-2, over Messalonskee, and entered the 2012-13 campaign as the favorite to do it again.
The Rangers blanked visiting Gardiner (6-0) to open the year, then held off host York (3-2). Greely closed the old year with a 7-3 home win over Cape Elizabeth and a 7-5 win at two-time reigning Class A champion Thornton Academy.
On New Year's Night, the Rangers fell from the unbeaten ranks with a 3-1 loss to Falmouth in the Dudley Cup, then dropped a 4-2 home decision to perennial power Lewiston Saturday.
York, a 5-1 loser to Greely in last year's regional final, has been up and down this winter. After opening with wins at Cape Elizabeth (4-2) and at home over Noble (8-4), the Wildcats lost to visiting Cheverus (7-2), visiting Scarborough (11-0), visiting Greely (3-2) and host Marshwood (5-4), before bouncing back to defeat visiting Yarmouth (2-1) and host Leavitt (8-3). After an 8-2 home loss to Biddeford, the Wildcats won at Kennebunk, 8-2.
Greely and York have produced some of the most epic games to be found over the past dozen years (please see sidebar). The Rangers and Wildcats have played in 10 of the past 12 postseasons with each winning on five occasions.
But Thursday brought none of the Greely-York drama we've come to expect.
The Wildcats actually had a chance to strike first when sophomore Derek Neal broke free 30 seconds in, but Rangers sophomore goalie Kyle Kramlich made the save.
Greely got the only goal it would need 61 seconds in when Hart rebounded a Donovan shot past York sophomore goalie Eric Lindbom.
After several close calls (including a shot by Lavallee which hit the post), the Rangers extended their lead midway through the first when Howland finished a feed from Donovan on a 2-on-1.
With 2:33 to play in the first, Donovan stole a pass and skated in 1-on-1 before beating Lindbom to make it 3-0.
It took just 42 seconds for Greely to make it 4-0 as Lavallee deflected a shot home (senior captain Kyle Megathlin was credited for an assist).
Then, with just 4.3 seconds to go, on the power play, the Rangers got a tally from junior Aidan Black (with Howland and junior Pete Hurley getting assists) for a commanding 5-0 advantage.
"We had a great start," said Hart. "We moved the puck really well. We got the puck to the net and capitalized on our scoring chances and just went from there. We played with a full roster tonight. I think it really helped to have more depth. We got contributions from everyone."
Greely kept the pressure on in the second period, making it 6-0 just 63 seconds in when Howland set up Hart for a goal.
The game then got more physical as Rangers junior Brian Storey received a 10-minute misconduct just before Donovan scored shorthanded (Howland got an assist) and Hurley scored (from Donovan) for an 8-0 lead.
Then, with 8:19 to go in the second, a scrum developed behind the York goal and the next thing you knew, punches were thrown, bodies hit the ice and Wildcats Zach Franklin and Nick Walsh, along with Greely's Tommy Thompson were ejected for fighting.
After a long delay, play resumed and the Rangers made it 9-0 on an unassisted tally from Megathlin.
Penalties continued late in the period and in between the second and third, Mothes made it clear to his players that they were to finish the game and not get involved in extracurricular activities.
"At times, we showed good control, but other times we got caught up," said Mothes. "We just talked about how we needed to go out and play and keep our heads up. We had to work on our composure. Hockey's an emotional game. Tonight got ramped up. We had to find a way to play within that. We talked about not getting carried away after the whistles and letting the referees call the game. We made it pretty clear that if people didn't play that way, they wouldn't see much ice time in the third period. I'm glad we stayed out of the box to the degree we did in the third period."
Hart felt the team did what it needed to.
"We wanted to keep our mind on the game," Hart said. "It would hurt us if we had guys leave the ice. We kept our composure."
The Rangers induced a mercy rule running clock when Howland finished (from Donovan) with 13:18 to go.
Greely then put it away on goals from senior Matt Ames, sophomore Sam Doolittle and Lavallee to win, 13-0.
"I expected a game similar to the one earlier in the season, when we won by a goal," Hart said. "We were in a slump and wanted to bust out. Tonight was a good night to do that. Things clicked for us from the get go."
The Rangers wound up with a 45-14 edge in shots.
"We only had seven goals in our last five games," Mothes said. "We had some top Division I teams from New Hampshire over Christmas, then Falmouth and Lewiston and goals weren't coming easily. We had pent up offensive energy. Some guys really got untracked tonight. Some of the goals came because we were doing things we wanted to do, like moving the puck and playing unselfish. Hopefully we can build on that going forward. We've had some injuries and incredible cold and viral stuff going through the team. We haven't had the same guys at practice all year. The three days leading up to this game felt we had more continuity. We played like we've practiced lately. Aside from the unfortunate stuff that happened, it's nice to see people get untracked. Ted, Mitchel and Reid had a lot of goals, but other lines did good things too."
York coach Michael Vessey felt that several factors went into the game getting out of hand.
"We've played more than twice as many games as those guys have," Vessey said. "We have four games this week and I have a couple kids out. We're just tired and a couple kids lost their composure. It's the frustration of playing two weeks worth of games with one practice and no nights off in between. Sooner or later, like Barry said, the dam's going to break. Theirs broke scoring-wise and ours broke behavior-wise."
Long way to go
While York (second in the Western Class B Heals prior to this result being factored in) is back in action Saturday when it hosts Cape Elizabeth, Greely (third behind Camden Hills and York in the standings) still has plenty of heavy lifting on its slate.
The Rangers go to Gardiner Saturday and Leavitt Wednesday, then host St. Dom's and Yarmouth. Games at Biddeford, Messalonskee, Cape Elizabeth, Camden Hills and Yarmouth and home tests versus Leavitt and Camden Hills also remain.
Greely is looking to keep improving, get the top seed and defend its title.
"Hopefully we carry this into next game," said Hart. "We have to keep our work ethic up in practice and make sure we get better every day."
"We're in a steady run of games now," said Mothes. "I think we've been growing. Hopefully we carry our energy forward. We have to keep working hard."