Scarborough, South Portland jockey for playoff positions
By Michael Hoffer
FALMOUTH — After stewing for four days, the Greely hockey team made the most of its opportunity to avenge one of its few down moments of the 2008-09 season Saturday night.
The Rangers, who lost 3-1 to Cape Elizabeth in the non-countable Fix Cup Final Feb. 2, got another crack at the Capers and made the most of it, riding two goals apiece from senior Jesse Shavel and freshman Brian Hart and a solid all-around performance to a 5-1 victory at Family Ice Center that all but clinched the top seed for the Western Class B tournament.
“Greely played a nice game,” said Cape Elizabeth coach Jason Tremblay. “Hats off to them.”
“It’s a good effort against a good team and a big rival,” said longtime Greely coach Barry Mothes. “The guys were all a little disappointed the way Monday night went. We had four days to work on it and think about it.”
There’s little doubt that either Cape Elizabeth or Greely will represent Western B in the state final March 7. The only question is which team will be left standing.
Back on Jan. 5, the Rangers edged the Capers 5-4 on senior Brian Allyn’s goal in overtime. Cape Elizabeth got a measure of revenge Feb. 2 with a 3-1 win in the Fix Cup Final and took a 10-5 mark into the showdown.
The Rangers were 13-1 and quickly served notice that they’d come to play when just 2 minutes, 24 seconds in, Shavel redirected a pass from senior Kyle Selig past Capers junior goalie Phil Jordan for a 1-0 lead.
Cape Elizabeth would draw even with 5:24 to play in the first when junior Zack Labbe beat Greely sophomore Matt Labbe on a second-effort goal, but with 1:02 to play in the period, the Rangers went on top to stay when Shavel eluded a defender before feeding Selig for a wrister from a tough angle that beat Jordan for a 2-1 lead.
Hart got his first goal 4 minutes and 18 seconds into the second period, skating in and firing a slapshot into the net for a 3-1 lead.
Moments later, however, the Rangers were in deep trouble as penalties gave the visitors a 2-man advantage for 42 seconds. Cape Elizabeth wasn’t able to capitalize, however, and Greely extended its lead to 4-1 when Hart scored again (taking a pass from his brother, senior Kevin Hart, before beating Jordan with 4:32 to play in the second.)
The Capers played hard in the third and almost cut into the deficit with 6:26 to play, but senior Sean Eubanks’ bid hit the post. Greely then iced the victory with 37.5 seconds left when Shavel got his second goal (tying him with Eubanks as the top scorer in the region). Shavel grabbed a loose puck behind the net, skated around the cage and fired a shot off Jordan into the net.
That brought the curtain down on the Rangers’ 5-1 triumph.
“The second period killed us,” Tremblay said. “We had some power play chances. We have to do a better job than that. When you’re not practicing, it’s hard to execute the power play. They got a couple goals and that was the game pretty much. I thought we outplayed them in the third. We were right there with them. The score was not indicative of what the game was like. We’ve had a tough week with just one practice. It’ll be nice to get back to basics. We’re not worried.”
The Rangers ended with a 25-23 edge in shots. Labbe made 22 saves to 20 for Jordan. Cape Elizabeth was 0-for-4 on the power play. Greely went 0-for-1.
The Capers (second in the Western B Heals) went to Leavitt Wednesday (too late for this edition) and close the regular season at York Saturday.
“Our nerves aren’t shattered or anything like that,” Tremblay said. “We have to take care of business next week then get ready for playoffs. We look forward to another match-up (with Greely), hopefully. I think it would be a good situation for both teams. Both of us have to take advantage of the rest of the regular season. We’ll refocus.”
South Portland and Scarborough are playoff-bound in Western A. What isn’t certain is where those teams will wind up in the standings.
Monday afternoon, the Red Storm improved to 9-6 with a 4-1 home victory over Falmouth, the team’s second win over the Yachtsmen in five days. Scarborough improved to 9-6 and was eighth in the latest Western A Heals, but still has a chance to move up. After playing at two-time defending Class A champion Biddeford Wednesday (too late for this edition), the Red Storm visit Portland Saturday and wrap up the regular year at home against Biddeford Tuesday.
South Portland fell to 11-3-1 Saturday with a 3-0 home loss to Westbrook. Freshman Dominic Desjardins did make 22 saves. The Red Riots (fifth in the Heals) visited Massabesic Wednesday (too late for this edition), play at Deering Saturday and end the regular season Monday with a home game versus Massabesic.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org