FALMOUTH — The fast and fancy Scarborough hockey team had to slug it out with the determined Greely Rangers on Saturday night, but despite seven opportunities on the power play and a decided advantage in shots on goal over the final 23 minutes of action, still left the sheet after exchanging a few parting pleasantries without any real measure of closure when three periods and eight minutes of sudden-death overtime couldn’t solve a 2-2 tie at Family Ice Center.
Trailing 1-0 after the first period, Scarborough senior Trevor Hoxsie scored from the stick of junior Brian McKeown on the two-man advantage to tie the game at 1-1, where it would remain until the opening moments of the third when McKeown set up a sophomore Nick Bagley slapper that earned the Red Storm their first lead of the game with 13:11 still left to play in regulation.
But just under 1 minute and 30 seconds later, Greely junior winger Justin Murphy knotted the score once again to set in motion nearly 20-minutes of grueling, physical hockey before the Red Storm settled for a 2-2 tie and moved to 4-3-2 in the Western A standings.
Senior goalie Matt Mayo was sterling between the pipes for Scarborough, turning away 21 shots to keep things close while Hoxsie, McKeown, junior Andrew Nigro and gritty Joe Cronin controlled the game with speed and skill between the blue lines searching for that one final goal that never did materialize despite putting 17 shots on goal over the third period and the overtime.
Greely junior goalie Matt Labbe put together a terrific night with 30 saves to limit the Red Storm’s fleet of highly-skilled wingers to just one goal on seven tries up at least one skater.
Murphy turned a loose puck at the blue line into a 1-0 lead for Greely midway through the first period, but the Red Storm tied the game with a goal in the second on the two-man advantage and took the lead, 2-1, at 2:10 of the third when Bagley whistled home a slapper that Labbe may have heard but never saw. The Rangers answered back moments later away when Murphy’s second locked things up at 2-2 with 11:47 still left to play in regulation.
“I thought both teams played very hard tonight,” said first-year Scarborough coach Norm Gagne. “It was a real intense and well-played game. They outplayed us in the first period but we came out in the second and starting playing the body more and that’s when things turned around for us. That was all about our forecheck and I told the guys that. We started to win the battles for loose pucks in the corners and managed to take advantage at least once on the power-play. We got the lead but gave it right back by making a few little mistakes, and those are the things we need to clean up down the stretch.”
With conflicting agendas, Cronin and Greely senior captain Carter Cyr had a tough time getting along from the anthem right down to the final buzzer. Cronin liked to hang around the net in hopes of tapping home a loose rebound, and the Rangers’ defensemen wasn’t buying it.
Cyr flattened Cronin in front of the net with three minutes left in the first period, and by the end of the second the two were rolling around on the ice, literally inside the Greely goal, giving each other the business. And while Cyr was clearly the enforcer on each occasion, Cronin was sent away for the final 1:57 of the second period and the first three seconds of the third.
Cronin’s penalty was one of only two the Red Storm were called for all game, but it turned up the dial all over the ice and the Rangers ultimately paid for it by letting emotion dictate poor and unnecessary decisions that sent a parade of skaters to the penalty box. Greely was hit with seven penalties and spent nearly one-full period down a skater. Scarborough only managed to take advantage once, when Hoxsie camped out at the top of the crease and one-timed a perfect slide pass from junior Brian McKeown over Labbe’s left shoulder to tie the game at 1-1 with 12:02 left in the second period.
“This is the third overtime game we’ve played recently,” said Hoxsie. “We had to settle with a tie against Falmouth last time. We need to come out and play better in the first period and put more pucks on the net early. We’ve been falling behind and having to chase teams to get back in the game.
“We have a long history with Greely over the years and it’s a great rivalry. We didn’t expect it to be this chippy but sometimes that’s hockey. We need to get away from that type of stuff and focus more on winning games.”
With the score still tied at 1-1 after two periods both teams had put 15 shots each on net but things began leaning Scarborough’s way for the rest of the game. Greely tacked on three penalties in the third for a total of seven in the game, as the Red Storm picked up a decided edge in shots the rest of the way, blasting away at Labbe while Mayo faced only eight shots to close out the game, just three in the overtime.
After McKeown dug the puck out from the boards and fed Bagley to make it 2-1 at 1:13 of the third period, the Rangers took advantage of a faceoff in the Red Storm end and tied the game just like that. Greely junior John Downey won the draw when Murphy swept in and corralled the bouncing puck and drifted to the point, where he lifted a hard wrister by Mayo to tie the game 2-2 at 3:13 of the third.
Scarborough had two more chances on the power-play in the third period but couldn’t find a way to capitalize. The Red Storm enjoyed an extra skater for the final 1:16 of regulation and the first 44 seconds of the sudden-death overtime but left the arena still tied up after two frustrated, exhausted teams had one more scuffle in the near-corner after the final buzzer.
The Red Storm had plans to travel to Lewiston on Monday to face the Blue Devils, but saw that game wiped out by blizzard-like conditions, and will move on to meet another Western B power in the Cape Elizabeth Capers Saturday at the Portland Ice Arena.
Scarborough senior Brendan O’Brien makes life difficult for a Greely skater along the boards during the teams’ 2-2 tie Saturday night.