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(Ed. Note: For the complete version of the Scarborough-Falmouth game story, with additional photos and a box score, please visit theforecaster.net)
It was deja vu in a most unpleasant fashion for the Scarborough boys’ hockey team Tuesday evening in Lewiston.
Just like a year ago, the Red Storm made a run to within a victory of playing for a first-ever Class A state title, but just like last year, when it mattered most, Scarborough had no answer for Falmouth in the regional final at the Colisee, this time falling, 5-2.
The Red Storm earned the No. 2 seed in Western A after a 12-5-1 regular season and after doubling up No. 7 Portland/Deering in the quarterfinals, 4-2, had its way with No. 6 Thornton Academy in Saturday’s semifinals, romping, 7-1.
In that one, six different players scored, with senior Eric Grantz lighting the lamp twice.
Scarborough and Falmouth split during the regular season, with the Red Storm prevailing at home, 2-0, way back on Dec. 9 and the Yachtsmen winning, 4-3, Feb. 20 in Falmouth.
The teams came into Tuesday’s game having played five previous times in the playoffs, with Scarborough holding a 3-2 edge, but Falmouth came from behind late last year to steal the regional crown, 4-3.
This time around, the Yachtsmen led from start to finish.
Falmouth got a goal from Tyler Jordan just 5:32 in to go ahead for good. Jordan added a second goal later in the first period and with 38.1 seconds left, Andre Clement put the Yachtsmen up, 3-0.
The Red Storm hoped to answer, but 1:38 into the second period, Brandon Boehm scored for Falmouth and Scarborough coach Norm Gagne pulled junior goalie Ben Bragg for senior Alex Cherry.
“I had to,” said Gagne, about the change. “I didn’t want to embarrass the kid. Credit to Alex coming off the bench. He did a heck of a job to keep us in it.”
Jake Gross gave the Red Storm some life with 9:01 to go in the second, scoring on the power play, but Scarborough still trailed by a 4-1 margin entering the third.
There, the Red Storm got a little life when Grantz put home his own rebound with 11:17 left om the game, but Scarborough never got within one to make things truly interesting and with 4:04 to play, Jordan completed his hat trick and iced the Yachtsmen’s 5-2 win, ending the Red Storm’s season at 14-7-1.
While Falmouth advanced to meet St. Dom’s in Saturday’s Class A state final, Scarborough (which got got 11 saves from Cherry and eight from Bragg, while going 1-for-2 on the power play) was left to lament what-if.
“It hurts,” said Gagne. “It’s not something we expected. We thought we’d give them a better battle then we did. Getting down early takes the energy out of you. With each minute and each missed opportunity, the frustration builds. The harder you try, the worse it gets. As a coach, and I’ve done this so many years, you always know they’ll be nervous. We got behind the eight ball right off. On the same token, we did have some great opportunities. We had times we got nice passes and they would bounce off a stick, or we’d be in the slot and couldn’t handle it. That’s nerves. That’s just the way it is. It just wasn’t meant to be tonight. We didn’t have the composure to put the puck away in the open net, but I’m proud of the effort. We just didn’t capitalize on their mistakes, while they capitalized on ours.
“This is a young group. I didn’t think we’d be in the situation we were in, but when we got here, I thought we had a shot. When you bring 10 first-year varsity players into a pressure situation like playing for a championship, the anxiety of the game takes its toll. (The Yachtsmen) were here last year and most of their guys played in that championship game last year and that experience helped them.”
Scarborough graduates eight seniors, but also returns a lot of talent, suggesting it will continue to kick at the championship door.
“We’ve got a young group and hopefully we’ll regroup and rebuild for next year,” Gagne said. “The seniors brought us to where we are. We hope the third time’s a charm next year.”
Scarborough senior Ian Morris fires a shot during Tuesday’s Western Class A Final, where the Red Storm’s season came to a tough end with a 5-2 loss to defending state champion Falmouth.