PORTLAND — The York boys’ hockey team wasted little time creating offense.

In a 3-2 win over Greely in a Western Class B semifinal Saturday at the Portland Ice Arena, the Wildcats scored on their first shot — exactly one minute into the game — then fought off the Rangers’ surging offense through the game’s first 15 minutes.

But it was Tanner Chase’s goal with less than five minutes left in the first — York’s final goal of the game — that ultimately lifted the No. 1 Wildcats (16-3) and ended Greely’s reign as Class B state champion.

”We needed to get to their goalie early,” York Coach Michael Vessey said. ”Greely’s played very well defensively against us this year, and they were harder for us to score against than any other team we played in our league. Getting those goals really helped. We didn’t play our best game. I’ll hand it to Greely.”

York will face No. 3 Yarmouth for the regional title at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Colisee in Lewiston.

With Greely (8-9-2) and York combining for five goals in the first period, it appeared as if the game would turn into target practice on the goalies. Instead, Chase’s power-play goal became the decisive tally before Ben Walsh cut York’s lead to one with 3:47 left in the first. Neither team scored again.

”All season we’ve scored a good amount of goals so it’s pretty tough to get a lot of shots like that and not have them go in,” said Chase, whose team put 28 shots on Greely goalie Matt Labbe. ”We didn’t get what we wanted but we hung in there.”

After Anthony Figlioli and Arran Maran gave York a 2-0 lead in the first 3:36, Justin Murphy beat York goalie Alex Ahrikenchikh (18 saves) on a breakaway at 4:57.

Walsh answered Chase’s power-play goal with 3:47 left to cut York’s lead to one going into the second.

”The early goals, it sets the tone for the game,” Chase said. ”We haven’t skated in two weeks but it got us going, got us back in the game, and it set the tone for the rest of the game.”

The Wildcats killed off five penalties in a scoreless second period, including 45 seconds of five-on-three power play by the Rangers in the final five minutes. York outshot Greely 13-3 in the third.

”We had some chances but they had some chances, too,” said Barry Mothes, coach of No. 4 Greely. ”It’s rare in high school hockey to go two periods scoreless. We had our chances in the second, and we had some chances in the third, too. There were a few moments in the game where we probably should have shot the puck quicker or instead of shot it, then passed it. It would have made a difference in a one-goal game.”

 

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at:

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