Postseason off to a promising start-Portland edition

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The Portland/Deering girls’ hockey team celebrates its 3-2 win over Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland in Saturday’s South Region semifinal. Portland/Deering advanced to its first regional final where it will battle rival Cheverus/Kennebunk Wednesday in Lewiston.

Portland’s wrestling team placed sixth at the Class A South regional meet Saturday. Qasim Abdullah, left, placed third at 126 pounds, Anthony Napolitano was second at 106 pounds, Zack Elowitch was the champion at 152 pounds and Malcom Gartland finished second at 182 pounds.

(Ed. Note: For the complete Portland/Deering-Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland girls’ hockey game story, with photos, see theforecaster.net)

Be it on ice or snow, in the pool or on the track or on the mat, the postseason has gone very well so far for athletes from Forecaster Country.

While the basketball tournament will soon get the lion’s share off attention (see story), the girls’ hockey tournament is just days away from crowning a state champion and the indoor track, swimming, skiing and wrestling state meets will be held in a matter of days.

Here’s an overview of the action so far and a look at what’s to come:

Girls’ hockey

Two city girls’ hockey teams will square off for the South Region title Wednesday evening at the Colisee in Lewiston.

Top-ranked Cheverus/Kennebunk earned a bye into the semifinals, then blanked visiting No. 4 Scarborough, 4-0, Saturday evening. Abby Lamontagne had a hat trick and Sophia Pompeo added a goal. 

Second-ranked Portland/Deering then took the ice for its semifinal against third-seeded Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland, which survived No. 6 Falmouth, 4-3, in the quarterfinal round (Sophia Venditti had two goals and Waynflete’s Laura Baginski added a goal).

Portland/Deering dug an early 2-0 hole, but cut the deficit to one on a goal from freshman Caroline Lerch late in the first period. After senior Kit Rosmus tied it on a rebound in the second period, Lerch scored again, 24 seconds into the third period, and Portland/Deering held on for a 3-2 victory.

“It’s indescribable,” Lerch said. “I’m so proud of the team and all the work we’ve put in. Everyone kept their heads up and didn’t give up. We really wanted it.”

“The vibe tonight was so different,” said freshman Emma Merrill, who played a key role all over the ice. “The energy on the bench picked us up. It took everybody. We had to work all 45 minutes. We were all smiles at the end.”

“We told the girls on the bench it wasn’t the first time we’ve been down two goals,” added Portland/Deering first-year coach Tom Clifford. “We were familiar with what we had to do. We knew we had to dig a little deeper.” 

Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland finished the year 10-9-1.

“It’s a tough way to end, but it was a fantastic game,” Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland coach Bob Mills said. “That’s how you want to see a playoff game. I told the girls not to hang their heads, it was probably our best game of the season.” 

Portland/Deering improved to 14-5 and advanced to its first ever regional final. Portland/Deering handed Cheverus/Kennebunk its lone loss this year in the “City Cup” New Year’s Day, 4-3, in overtime. Cheverus/Kennebunk took the other meeting this winter, 6-0.

The teams met in 2012 West Region quarterfinals and Portland prevailed, 6-2.

“(Cheverus/Kennebunk is) 18-1 for a reason and they’re extremely talented,” Clifford said. “We have our work cut out for us. It’s a rivalry and I don’t think getting the girls up to play will be an issue.”

The Cheverus/Kennebunk-Portland/Deering winner will play either Lewiston (17-2) or Greely/Gray-New Gloucester (17-3) in the state final Saturday evening in Lewiston.

Cheverus/Kennebunk didn’t play Greely/Gray-NG this year. It beat host Lewiston, 4-3, in overtime, Jan. 13.

Portland/Deering didn’t face Lewiston this winter. It lost at home to Greely/Gray-NG, 12-1, on Nov. 29.

Swimming

Cheverus’ boys’ swim team scored 303 points to hold off Cape Elizabeth (270) to win the North Division Southwesterns championship Thursday. Deering (134) came in sixth.

The Stags got wins from Chase Cameron in the 200 freestyle (1 minute, 55.09 seconds), Brim Peabody in the 200 individual medley (2:02.22) and the 500 free (4:50.00) and their 200 free (Phineas Underwood, Quintin Hastings, Alex Drago and Jeremy Baker, 1:35.75) and 400 free (Cameron, Peabody, Baker and Ben Adams, 3:26.32) relay teams.

The Rams got a victory from Owen McLaughlin the 100 butterfly (55.49 seconds).

In the girls’ meet, won by Cape Elizabeth with 304 points, Cheverus (136) placed fifth, Maine Girls’ Academy (67) finished eighth and Deering (64) was ninth.

MGA’s Blake Wescott won the 100 breaststroke (1:12.10).

In the South Division Southwesterns, Portland’s boys had 203 points and finished second, 10 points behind Yarmouth. Waynflete (45) placed 10th.

The Bulldogs got wins from their record-setting 200 medley relay team (Will Couture, Reed Foehl, Josh Ying and Max Orchow, 1:44.97), Couture, who set new records in the fly (53.53) and the backstroke (54.47), Ying in the 50 free (23.05) and 100 free (51.82) and Foehl in the breaststroke (1:06.52).

In the girls’ meet, won easily by Kennebunk with 351.5 points, Portland (79) was seventh and Waynflete (58) came in ninth.

The Class A boys’ state meet is Saturday, Feb. 17 in Orono. The Class A girls’ state meet is Monday, Feb. 19 in Orono. That same day, the Class B girls’ state meet will be contested at Bowdoin College in Brunswick. The Class B boys’ state meet is Tuesday, Feb. 20 in Brunswick.

Indoor track

Deering’s boys had 149 points to finish second to Scarborough (176) in the Southwestern Maine Activities Association championship meet Saturday in Gorham. Cheverus (66) placed fifth and Portland (1) was 17th.

The Rams got wins from Abukar Abu in the junior 55 hurdles (8.63 seconds), Antonio Ciccomancini in the junior long jump (18 feet-3 inches), Alec Troxell in the open mile (4 minutes, 31.55 seconds), Yahya Nure in the open two-mile (9:47.15) and their open 4×200 (1:34.90), open 4×400 (3:41.19) and open 4×800 (8:29.10) relay teams.

The Stags got first-place finishes from Sean Tompkins in the junior 55 (6.77), junior 200 (23.77) and  junior 400 (52.44) and Jakub Jastrzebski in the junior triple jump (37-0). 

In the girls’ meet, also won by Scarborough with 100 points, Cheverus tied Thornton Academy for second with 98 points. Deering (44) was 10th and Portland (15) came in 15th.

The Stags were led by Emma Gallant, who won the junior 55 (7.43), junior 200 (26.05) and junior 400 (59.20). Cheverus also got wins from Emma White in the senior long jump (16-3.5) and its senior 4×200 relay team (1:49.89).

Looking ahead, the Class B state meet will be contested Saturday at Bates College in Lewiston. The Class A state meet is Monday in Gorham.

Skiing

At the Western Maine Conference Nordic championships, Waynflete’s Kaitlyn Bliss came in 17th in the girls’ skate (21 minutes, 19.3 seconds) and Clara Sandberg was 20th in the girls’ classic (22:39.7). The Flyers were fifth as a team (Yarmouth came in first).

On the boys’ side, Waynflete didn’t score as a team, but Nicholas Werner was 11th in the skate (16:54.3) and 13th in the classic (18:50.8).

At the SMAA Alpine meet, Cheverus’ girls came in third (Marshwood finished first) and the Stags boys placed fifth (Falmouth/Waynflete placed first). The girls were led by Annesley Black, who won the slalom in a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 48.18 seconds and the giant slalom in 1:09.47). The boys were paced by Liam Allen (15th in the slalom, 2:19.73, 18th in the GS, 1:21.33).

Deering didn’t score as a team, but Bennett Berg had the sixth-best time in the boys’ GS (1:10.91) and was 14th in the slalom (2:18.66). 

The state skiing meets begin Monday.

Wrestling

The Class A South regional wrestling meet was held Saturday in South Berwick.

Noble was first with 200.5 points. Portland/South Portland (92) placed sixth, Cheverus (69) finished ninth and Deering (20) came in 13th.

Portland’s Zack Elowitch won the title at 152 pounds, beating Matthew Pooler of Massabesic, 7-0, in the final. Anthony Napolitano got to the final at 106 pounds, but was pinned in 1 minute, 13 seconds by Colby Frost of Bonny Eagle. Malcolm Gartland got to the final at 182 pounds and was pinned in 2:59 by Sanford’s Isaac Plante. Qasim Abdullah was third at 126 pounds.

Cheverus’ Zeb Leavitt won the heavyweight title, beating Lincoln Andrews of Scarborough, 4-3, in three OT periods. Sean Sullivan lost in the final at 220 pounds, being pinned by Nick Works of Sanford in 1:04. Teigan Lindstdt was third at 170 pounds.

Deering’s top finisher was Magnus Heisler, who was third at 113 pounds.

The state championship meet is Saturday in Sanford.

Boys’ hockey

The boys’ hockey regular season comes to a close next week.

Cheverus was 11-4-1 and second to Falmouth in the Class A South Heal Points standings at press time following a pair of losses to the Yachtsmen last week, 2-1 at home and 6-4 at Falmouth, and a 4-3 overtime victory at Biddeford. Colby Anton scored in the first loss. In the second, Justin Ray and Jackson Wilson each scored twice. The Stags host York Thursday and close the regular season Wednesday of next week at Scarborough.

Portland/Deering was 7-7-2 and fourth in Class A South following a 3-2 win at Bangor and a 1-0 home loss to St. Dom’s. After hosting Biddeford Thursday, Portland/Deering finishes the regular season Saturday at home versus Marshwood.

The South Portland/Waynflete/Freeport co-op team began the week 8-7-1, holding on to the sixth and final playoff spot after Saturday’s 3-3 home tie against Windham/Westbrook. Waynflete’s Mitchell Adams scored a goal. South Portland/Waynflete/Freeport hosts Massabesic Saturday and closes at Windham/Westbrook Monday.

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

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