Yarmouth/Freeport wins fifth in a row
YARMOUTH—The Yarmouth/Freeport girls' hockey team expected to be improved this winter, but this is something unexpected.
Monday evening at Travis Roy Arena, the Clippers made it five victories in as many games with a decisive 11-0 victory over Portland/Deering.
As it's done all season, Yarmouth/Freeport jumped on top early and showed tremendous scoring balance, going on to an easy win.
This time, it was junior standout Emily Johnson playing the hero, scoring three goals and assisting on two others. In all, nine girls tickled the twine and the good times continued.
"It's really awesome," Johnson said. "I'm never been on a team that's done so well. I don't think we were expecting 5-0, but I knew this year would be good."
Yarmouth/Freeport went 6-11-1 last winter, but fell just short of the playoffs. With ample talent back and some promising newcomers, the Clippers had a feeling in the preseason that something special was in store.
"We were able to start off with drills that normally we wouldn't do until week three," Johnson said. "We were way ahead. Doing advanced drills has helped us out a lot."
The Clippers began the year by handling Brunswick (7-2), Mt. Ararat (7-1), Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete (5-1) and Gorham/Bonny Eagle (5-1).
Portland/Deering meanwhile, lost to Mt. Ararat (11-1) and Biddeford (8-2) in its first two outings.
Monday, Yarmouth/Freeport kept the good times rolling.
It didn't take long for Johnson and the Clippers to get started. Just 2 minutes, 40 seconds in, Johnson beat Portland/Deering junior goalie Tara O'Neal for the only goal her team would need. Juniors Michelle Robichaud and Katie Brown were credited with assists.
With 7:11 to play in the first period, Robichaud set up Johnson for a second tally and a 2-0 lead.
Sophomore Lilly Watson scored unassisted (her first goal of the season) with 3:27 left in the first for a 3-0 advantage.
Yarmouth put it away in the second period.
Johnson completed her hat trick 2:01 in, as Robichaud and Brown were again credited with assists.
Tallies from senior Ariel Potter (assisted by sophomores Bre Morrill and Colleen Sullivan) and Brown (assisted by Johnson and Robichaud) 58 seconds apart made it a 6-0 game and with 5:10 left in the second, Johnson set up freshman Georgia Giese for a goal (her first at the varsity level) and a 7-0 lead after two periods (it was almost 8-0, but a bid from freshman Sydney St. Pierre hit the post as time wound down).
A rebound goal from senior defender Meredith McLoon (her first of the year) did make it 8-0 with 12:02 to play.
Giese and Morrill (from freshman Molly Wilson) then scored in a 28-second span for a 10-0 lead and with 8:43 remaining, freshman Kelsey Meyer (assisted by St. Pierre and Morrill) scored to account for the 11-0 final score.
"We have a lot of depth this year," said Johnson, who now has seven goals and 10 assists for the year. "We have three, four solid lines. We work really well together as a team. It's great that we can get everyone goals."
"This is a great league, but the teams we've played are probably more in the development stage," said Yarmouth second-year coach Jeff Haley. "The chemistry and leadership we have right now is where we hoped it would be and it's only getting better. The returning players have continued to make progress and we have freshmen who have learned the ropes and are stepping in and contributing."
While Johnson had three goals and two assists, there was plenty more in reserve.
Giese had two goals and Brown, McLoon, Meyer, Morrill, Potter and Watson all scored once. Morrill and Robichaud both had three assists, Brown and Sullivan two each and St. Pierre and Wilson both registered one. That made 12 players in the scoring column, continuing a season-long theme.
To date, Potter has a team-high eight goals, Johnson has seven and Brown six. Eight others have tickled the twine as well.
"Knowing we have depth we haven't had in recent years is a nice luxury," Haley said. "Not everyone has that. Winning's more fun and it's something we haven't had, but I think the girls have as much enjoyment watching others get their first points."
Championship sized test
Yarmouth/Freeport will get a true barometer of just how far it's come and just how far it needs to go when it meets the state's gold standard, two-time defending champion Greely, Wednesday evening.
The Clippers will be a decided underdog, but they look forward to the challenge as just another step in their growth on their quest for a playoff berth and beyond.
"We've seen some decent teams, but they're not like Greely," Johnson said. "That's going to tell us how well we're going to do, playing teams like Greely and Lewiston. I think we're ready. We have to get off to a strong start."
"We talked about the minute we leave the locker room, this game's behind us and we have to start focusing on the two-time state champion," Haley said. "If we want to advance as a program, we have to go through the Greelys, the Lewistons and the Edward Littles. I think we're up for the challenge. It will be an early test, then we'll make any adjustments we need to."