Yarmouth battles St. Dom's to a tie

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Yarmouth senior Kurt Heywood has a shot denied by St. Dom’s junior goalie Alex Roy during the teams’ 1-1 tie Wednesday.

Derek Davis / Portland Press Herald photos.

More photos below.

YARMOUTH—With its playoff hopes dwindling, Yarmouth’s boys’ hockey team needed a strong showing Wednesday afternoon when it hosted St. Dom’s at Travis Roy Arena.

And while the Clippers weren’t able to earn a victory over the perennial Class A power, they did battle the Saints to a tie, gaining some valuable Heal Points in the process.

Yarmouth got off to a fast start when junior William Giese scored a goal 6-minutes, 10-seconds into the first period.

St. Dom’s rallied to tie on the power play when senior Ben Gosselin scored on a rebound with 4:50 to play in the stanza.

Surprisingly, that was it for the offense.

The Saints had ample opportunities, but Clippers freshman goalie Charles Henry Watson stood tall and the teams ended in a 1-1 tie.

Watson made 25 saves and Yarmouth is now 4-6-2 on the year, while St. Dom’s is now 7-4-1.

“We’re fighting for our playoff life, so we’ll take half (Heal Points) anytime,” said Clippers coach Dave St. Pierre. “I thought we played well and battled hard. We played a hard-nosed, gritty game. We played our defensive system extremely well. The boys executed everything we asked them to do. (St. Dom’s) is a talented hockey team that can put the puck in the net.” 

No resolution

Both teams are accustomed to being in the title hunt.

Yarmouth started with wins over visiting Maranacook (6-2) and host Brunswick (2-1), then lost four straight: 6-3 at York, 6-1 at home to defending Class B South champion Greely, 3-1 at Camden Hills and 2-1 at Cape Elizabeth. After a historic 3-2 victory at Class A power Falmouth (the Clippers’ first over the Yachtsmen in 17 years), they lost at home in overtime to Leavitt (3-2), tied host Scarborough (2-2), edged visiting Gardiner (3-2), then fell at home to Gorham Saturday, 4-2.

St. Dom’s also started 2-0, downing host Cheverus (6-2) and visiting Thornton Academy (4-3). After home losses to Bangor (3-0) and two-time defending Class A champion Lewiston (3-2), the Saints dispatched visiting Edward Little (5-1), Scarborough (4-3) and defending Class A South champion Biddeford (6-0). After a 1-0 loss at Edward Little, St. Dom’s crushed host Cony (14-2) and handed host Greely its first loss (6-2) before dropping a 3-2 overtime heartbreaker at Lewiston Saturday.

Last year, the Saints beat the Clippers, 2-0, in Auburn.

Wednesday, Yarmouth almost returned the favor, but St. Dom’s ensured it got out of town with something to show for its effort.

The Saints had a territorial edge early, but couldn’t find the net and the Clippers’ first shot of the game resulted in the first goal.

With 8:50 to go in the first period, Giese intercepted a clearing pass, turned, then fired a shot past St. Dom’s junior goalie Alex Roy.

With 5:52 remaining in the first period, Yarmouth senior Matt Sanborn was sent to the penalty box for cross-checking and with 4:50 on the clock, Saints junior Zack Pelletier’s shot was saved by Watson, but Gosselin was able to get to the rebound and sent it into the net (senior Lucas Pushard also had an assist) and the game was deadlocked.

And that tie would never be broken.

Yarmouth was outshot, 10-4, in the first period, but generated some good looks early in the second, as after Saints sophomore Matthew Fletcher was sent to the penalty box for high sticking, senior Kurt Heywood, junior Spencer King, senior Sam Marjerison and junior Aidan Miller all put the puck on net, but Roy saved each bid.

After King was sent off for interference, Giese almost scored short handed, but his rush was broken up at the last second.

With 2:59 remaining in the second, St. Dom’s sophomore Derek Wolverton set up junior William Fletcher for a breakaway opportunity, but Watson stood tall and made the save.

Early in the third period, the Saints peppered Watson, but on three separate occasions, Watson denied sophomore Dominic Chasse.

Heywood twice tried to give the Clippers the lead, but Roy made saves.

With 39.7 seconds on the clock, Watson was injured in a scrum. He stayed in the game, but William Fletcher was sent off and Yarmouth had a chance to end it on the power play.

The Clippers weren’t able to generate a shot, however, and the contest went to overtime.

In the eight-minute, “sudden victory” OT session, Yarmouth had another 1:21 of power play, but again couldn’t capitalize.

“We had a power play earlier that we executed really well, but we couldn’t get set up and get in a rhythm,” St. Pierre said. “A couple bad passes hurt us and it broke down from there.”

King was then sent off to the penalty box and St. Dom’s had a chance to win it, but Watson stopped shots from junior Jacques Ouellette and Chasse.

Down the stretch, Watson saved shots from Wolverton and Ouellette and one final bid from Heywood was denied by Roy and the contest ended 1-1.

“Offense has been a challenge all year,” St. Pierre said. “We’ve worked on getting pucks moving quicker. We’ll have to be a team that grinds it out and gets rebound goals. We’ll keep working at it. If we can play with a team like (St. Dom’s), we can play with anybody.” 

Watson stole the show with 25 saves.

“I can’t say much more about him,” St. Pierre said, of his goalie. “He had his bumps and bruises early in the season, but he’s really worked hard, Coach (Alex) Bubier has done a great job getting him prepared and he’s stepping up when we need him to.”

St. Dom’s had a 26-22 advantage in shots on goal and got 21 saves from Roy, but couldn’t come away with a win.

“(Yarmouth) did a nice job,” said Saints coach Robert Parker. “Their goalie did a great job. Watching him on film, he looked like a good goalie and he did a good job tonight. We didn’t do a good job taking his eyesight away or getting enough traffic in front. I think we had tired legs.

“Playing Lewiston Saturday night was probably still in our locker room and we brought that on to the ice. There were some good points and some things we need to work on.”

Stretch run

St. Dom’s (second behind Lewiston in the Class A North Heal Point standings) is back in action Saturday when Cheverus pays a visit. The Saints also have home games with Falmouth and Mt. Ararat/Morse and trips to Portland/Deering, Falmouth and Bangor remaining.

“We’ve had some adversity, but we’ll put our skates back on tomorrow,” Parker said.

Yarmouth, which is eighth in Class B South at press time, needs to move into the top seven to avoid missing the playoffs for the first time in a decade. The Clippers are at Kennebunk Saturday, visit Gardiner, host Cheverus in a makeup game, then close with games at Greely and Leavitt and at home versus Cape Elizabeth.

“We can challenge anyone down the stretch,” St. Pierre said. “We have a tough road to go. Some big opponents who are worth a lot of points. If we keep playing the way we played tonight, we’ll get better and I think we’ll have a shot.”

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

Yarmouth junior Aidan Miller is tripped up by St. Dom’s senior Ben Gosselin.

Yarmouth senior Michael Guertler is held up by St. Dom’s senior Jeremy Phelan.

Yarmouth senior Matt Sanborn battles St. Dom’s sophomore Lucas Pushard for the puck.

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