Yarmouth rallies late to stun Greely in OT thriller

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Yarmouth junior Cooper May splits Greely senior Ryan Sullivan, left, and freshman Andy Moore during the rivals’ battle Saturday night. The Clippers erased a late 2-0 deficit to win in overtime, 3-2.

Chris Lambert photos.

More photos below.

FALMOUTH—Greely’s boys’ hockey team is much improved this winter and Saturday evening, the Rangers were on the brink of their biggest victory of the year, but instead, they wound up with nothing to show for a tremendous effort.

Hosting rival Yarmouth, the defending Class B South champion, at Family Ice Center, Greely appeared to take a 1-0 lead in the second period when freshman Andy Moore tickled the twine, but the goal was waved off and the game remained scoreless heading to the third.

Where both offenses roared to life.

The Rangers did take the lead on a goal that counted with 9:22 remaining, when junior Ben Kennedy beat Clippers junior goalie Dan Latham, and just over a minute later, Greely went up by two, as freshman Matt Kramlich backhanded a shot into the net.

But Yarmouth is nothing if not proud and determined and on the next shift, the Clippers got some life when senior captain Owen Ramsay scored.

Yarmouth kept the pressure on and with 2:59 to play, senior Bennett Travers stole the puck and fed junior Cooper May, who beat Greely senior goalie Josh Lawless, and just like that, it was a brand new game, tied, 2-2.

The teams would go to overtime, where Latham made a series of key saves before the Clippers went on the power play and 3:37 into the extra session, junior Dom Morrill fired a shot into the goal to give Yarmouth an inspirational 3-2 triumph, handing the Rangers an agonizing setback in the process.

“We’ve tried to climb up the standings and build momentum,” said Clippers coach David St. Pierre. “I think we took a step back in the first period, but I’m happy with how we regrouped.” 

Deep class

There is no clear favorite in Class B South this year and both Greely and Yarmouth like their chances of making noise into March.

The Rangers lost at Gardiner, 3-2, in the opener, then beat visiting Maranacook (12-2) and upset host Scarborough (3-2) to close the old year. After a 6-2 loss to Falmouth in the Dudley Cup, Greely beat visiting Mt. Ararat (4-3). The Rangers then lost at Kennebunk (5-1) and Cape Elizabeth (2-0).

The Clippers let a late lead slip away in a 2-2 home tie versus Brunswick in the opener, then won at Maranacook (8-0), lost at home to Falmouth (9-1) and at Waterville in a state game rematch (5-0) before closing 2016 with a 5-3 win at Gorham. Yarmouth started the new year with a 5-2 home loss to Gardiner, then won at Camden Hills (5-0), at home over Gorham (4-3, in overtime) and at Portland/Deering (4-3). 

Entering play Saturday, dating to the start of the 2001-02 season, Greely had won 18 of the 34 meetings, Yarmouth had captured 15 and one game ended in a tie (see sidebar, below). 

The Rangers hoped to beat the Clippers for the first time since Feb. 20, 2013 (7-1 at Yarmouth), but instead Yarmouth made it eight straight in the series, winning the first overtime contest in the rivalry in a dozen years.

The first period was choppy and featured a lot of stoppages.

There were a few scoring chances.

Just 50 seconds in, Lawless denied May in front.

After the Clippers took a penalty, they almost scored short-handed, but Lawless robbed May.

Later in the period, Moore hit the crossbar for Greely and May sent a shot off the post.

The Rangers had the better of the play in the second period and appeared to take the lead, but the goal wouldn’t stand.

Early in the period, Lawless saved a bid by Yarmouth senior captain Chris Romano and Latham robbed freshman Jake MacDonald in front. 

With 4:37 to go in the frame, senior Colby Robinson set up Moore out front for a blast that eluded Latham and appeared to make it 1-0 Greely, but after a conference, the officials waved the goal off due a crease violation.

“I haven’t had a chance to look at it,” said Rangers coach Barry Mothes. “From the bench, I was focusing on Andy shooting the puck and saw it go in. I wasn’t aware there was a guy in the crease.”

Late in the period, Greely kept the pressure on, but Latham denied Kramlich, senior Adam Rost and senior Ryan Sullivan, sending the game to the third period still scoreless.

Offense then ruled as the Rangers appeared to have the game won, only to see the Clippers roar back.

Greely had a power play early in the third, but Latham denied Moore, Sullivan and Kramlich and Kramlich shot wide.

With 9:22 left in regulation, the goal finally came.

Senior Jack Saffian had a shot saved by Latham, but the clear came up top to Kennedy, who rifled a shot into the goal for a 1-0 lead.

With 8:21 to go, MacDonald got the puck to McIntyre, who fed Kramlich, who sent a backhander into the net to make it 2-0 and appear to propel the Rangers to victory.

But Yarmouth had other ideas.

It took all of 24 seconds for the Clippers to answer and it was Ramsay, the captain, doing the honors, scoring on a rebound of a shot from sophomore Sam Majerison to cut the deficit in half and return momentum to Yarmouth’s side.

“Owen is a big help for this team,” Morrill said. “He gets us fired up. When he scored, he got us going.”

“Owen was struggling to find his game tonight,” St. Pierre said. “Like all good leaders, he put the team on his back. He led the way for us.”

Even after taking a penalty, the Clippers kept pushing on offense, but May was denied by Lawless.

Then, with 2:59 to go, Yarmouth drew even. May scored the tying goal, but it was set up by Travers, who made a terrific play, stealing the puck, waiting for May to get to the far post, then feeding him for the goal which made it 2-2.

“Bennett has been an unsung hero on that line this year,” St. Pierre said. “He transferred back to Yarmouth and he’s happy to be back with his friends. He made a smart play, waited out the defenseman and made a nice pass.”

The Clippers almost won it late in regulation when they went on a power play, but May was denied and the game went to overtime.

There, Greely had some great chances, but couldn’t finish and eventually, Yarmouth broke through.

Just 19 seconds in, Saffian shot wide and at the other end, Travers shot high.

With 6:10 to go in the eight-minute OT, Latham robbed MacDonald with a glove save.

“Dan is the biggest part of this team,” Morrill said. “Without him, I honestly don’t think we’d have any wins yet. He helps us a lot.”

“Dan’s continued to keep us in games,” St. Pierre said. “He makes big saves and he makes the easy saves he’s supposed to make. He’s our rock back there.”

Latham had to make one more save, kicking aside senior Ryan Megathlin’s shot and with 5:25 to go, a hooking penalty on the hosts gave the Clippers an opportunity to win it.

Lawless did his best to prolong the game, twice denying May, but with 4:23 remaining, Morrill got the puck near the right circle, spun and fired a shot that found the net, setting off a celebration as Yarmouth prevailed, 3-2.

“My mentality is just to throw it on net low,” Morrill said. “Good things happen when you go low. That’s how I’ve scored all year long. I was trying to get it in front to (senior Bill Jacobs), but it happened to go in. It felt really good. I’m happy we got the win. This means a lot. We knew we could play well in the third period. We regrouped and came out strong. The coaches and Owen and Chris got us going. We came out and played better and fired a few home.”

“We talk about there being no bad shots in overtime,” said St. Pierre. “Dom’s got a great shot. When he turns and fires on net, good things happen. 

“I thought Greely played a terrific game tonight. For long stretches, they outplayed us. They’re a smart hockey team that’s well-coached. They do little things well. They put the puck in front of the net in dangerous places. Like any tough rivalry game, I felt good, but I knew any shot could go in at any time.”

Greely fell just short, despite a strong performance.

“We worked on a lot of things this week to get better and I think the guys did a great job tonight bringing more intensity, cycling the puck on net,” Mothes said. “We grabbed a 2-0 lead, so it’s very disappointing. It felt like it would be a low scoring game, so 2-0 looked very good. It was disappointing to give up a goal the next shift. It was a good game. A couple rival teams going at it. I thought it’s some of the best hockey we’ve played all year for huge chunks of the game, but unfortunately, they were opportunistic on some mistakes we made and that was the difference. To be man-down a couple times late in the game was tough.”

No nights off

The teams meet again Feb. 18 in Yarmouth, but both have plenty of work to do in the interim.

Greely plays at Brunswick Tuesday and at Camden Hills Saturday, then hosts Class A contenders Thornton Academy and Edward Little.

“Tonight was a step in the right direction,” said Mothes. “You like to get rewarded for the effort. I’m very critical and honest about who we are. Tonight we might have deserved a little better, but it’s hockey and you have to earn it. It’s a tough one to take, but we’re back at it Tuesday. Hopefully we’ll just keep playing this kind of hockey and push on.”

Yarmouth has two home games next week, versus Cheverus Tuesday and Kennebunk Saturday. The Clippers then go to Cape Elizabeth and Gardiner.

“I have a lot of confidence in us,” said Morrill. “We hope to make a run. I honestly think we have three good forward lines, six, seven, eight good defensemen and Danny on the back end. I love our chances.”

“We’re not there yet,” St. Pierre said. “There are a lot of tough teams in our league. There are no easy nights for us.”

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

Greely freshman Andy Moore appears to score the game’s first goal in the second period, but it was waved off due to a crease violation.

Greely senior Owen McIntyre shoots the puck past Yarmouth freshman Spencer King.

Yarmouth senior Chris Romano handles the puck as Greely senior Ryan Sullivan defends.

Greely senior Colby Robinson races up the ice as Yarmouth junior Joe Truesdale tries to keep pace.

Yarmouth junior Cooper May gets around Greely senior Ryan Megathlin.

Recent Greely-Yarmouth results

2015-16
Yarmouth 2 @ Greely 1
@ Yarmouth 4 Greely 3 

2014-15
Yarmouth 5 @ Greely 3
@ Yarmouth 4 Greely 0
Western B quarterfinals
@ Yarmouth 4 Greely 2 

2013-14
@ Yarmouth 5 Greely 4
Yarmouth 5 @ Greely 2 

2012-13
@ Greely 5 Yarmouth 2
(forfeited to 1-0 Yarmouth win)
Greely 7 @ Yarmouth 1 

2011-12
Greely 7 @ Yarmouth 2
Yarmouth 7 @ Greely 6
Western B semifinals
Greely 5 Yarmouth 2 

2010-11
@ Greely 5 Yarmouth 1
Greely 4 @ Yarmouth 2
Western B semifinals
Greely 4 Yarmouth 2

2009-10
@ Greely 5 Yarmouth 3
@ Yarmouth 2 Greely 1 

2008-09
Greely 7 @ Yarmouth 0
@ Greely 11 Yarmouth 1 

2007-08
@ Greely 3 Yarmouth 0
Greely 8 @ Yarmouth 0 

2006-07
Greely 7 @ Yarmouth 2
@ Greely 7 Yarmouth 2

2005-06 
Greely 4 @ Yarmouth 1
@ Greely 1 Yarmouth 0 

2004-05
@ Yarmouth 2 Greely 2 (tie)
Yarmouth 2 @ Greely 1 

2003-04
Yarmouth 3 @ Greely 1
@ Yarmouth 3 Greely 0
Western B semifinals
Greely 2 Yarmouth 1 

2002-03
Greely 5 @ Yarmouth 4 (OT)
@ Greely 5 Yarmouth 2 

2001-02
Yarmouth 3 @ Greely 1
@ Yarmouth 2 Greely 0 

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