LEWISTON—The third time was the charm for the Yarmouth girls’ hockey team.
Despite losing 6-1 in their first meeting with Lewiston and again 2-1 just a week ago, the Clippers got the win that really matters as they defeated the Blue Devils 2-0 in the East Region quarterfinals at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee Wednesday night.
“The girls are amazing,” said Clippers coach David Neujahr. “Three weeks ago something clicked, I don’t know what it was.”
“We got beat by Falmouth and right after that something clicked. I don’t know what it was exactly.”
Senior captain Suzanne Driscoll said the Clippers were doing some things they hadn’t in past few games.
“We made some long passes and we played as a whole (team), not just one or two players carrying it up the ice,” Driscoll said.
Lewiston coach Ron Dumont said the Clippers were able overcome the pressure with a young team.
“You can’t just use the excuse we have freshmen because they have freshmen too,” Dumont said. “It was whoever was going to crack first. When you have young kids, whoever scores first, it takes the life out of kids used to competing or playing from behind.”
The Clippers (who were 4-10 on the season before winning three of their final four to improbably earn the last playoff spot in the region) struck first as Katie Brown found Emily Johnson in front of the net 38 seconds into the second period.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be some great shot,” Neujahr said of getting goals. “We needed to work in front of the net to get goals and that’s what both (goals) were.”
Neujahr said they just focused on playing their style.
“We just played our systems, playing our game,” he added. “Our starting lineup is freshmen and our goalie is a freshmen. Once they got the confidence and knew they could do it, all sudden we started moving the puck around. (Playing a familiar foe) helped our confidence more than anything. We knew we could win tonight, I never doubted the girls. From the very first meeting in the preseason, at the school, I told them we had enough talent to make it to the playoffs. We kept pushing that goal.”
It was a see-saw battle through the first two periods as the shots were pretty even with Yarmouth having the 12-8 advantage, but the Clippers outshot the Blue Devils in the third period, 10-3.
“We talked about in the locker room to keep the puck down low,” Neujahr said. “Keep pressure on them and keep the puck moving around. If the puck is on our stick, they can’t score.”
Michelle Robichaud made it 2-0 Clippers with 2:35 to play in the game. Taylor Morrison set the marker up, which essentially iced the game.
Neither team had a power play in the game.
Hannah Williams made 12 saves for Yarmouth while Paige Fontaine turned aside 20 shots for Lewiston.
The Clippers advanced to face top-ranked Brunswick (14-3-1) in the semifinals, either Friday or Saturday. Yarmouth lost both regular season meetings with the Dragons, 3-0 at home way back on Dec. 3 and 5-2 at Brunswick Jan. 2.
The regional final round is Wednesday of next week, at Portland Ice Arena. The state final is Saturday, Feb. 18, back at the Colisee.