FALMOUTH – Following Falmouth’s 6-0 win over Scarborough last week, the Yachtsmen’s fourth straight to end the regular season, forward Ben Freeman said the Yachtsmen wanted to go into the playoffs on a hot streak.
Well, the playoffs started Tuesday night for Falmouth. If these guys get any hotter, they’ll have trouble finding ice to skate on.
Freeman, a sophomore, scored a career-high five goals – including a natural hat trick in Falmouth’s four-goal second period – as the second-seeded Yachtsmen rolled to a 10-1 win over seventh-ranked Kennebunk in a Western Class A quarterfinal at Falmouth Family Ice.
“(Freeman) shows up to play every night and he’s turning it up now a little bit,” said Falmouth Coach Deron Barton. “I think as a team we all are. We’ve been working toward this (point) these last two or three weeks, and now it’s time to do it so it’s nice to see them respond like this.”
The Yachtsmen (14-4-1) next play third-seeded Scarborough (13-4-2) in a regional semifinal Saturday at the Colisee in Lewiston. The Red Storm advanced with a 3-1 win over sixth-ranked Biddeford at USM Ice Arena.
Kris Samaras had two goals, Mitch Tapley added a goal and an assist, Andre Clement and Alden Borhman also scored, and Cam Brown had two assists.
Defenseman Alden Weller had three assists, all on goals by Freeman.
“My job is to make the first pass and spring the guy on the far side,” said Weller. “That’s usually Freeman.”
“No one really talks about him that much. He’s a sophomore that plays like a senior,” Barton said. “He’s an offensive threat. If you don’t pay attention to him, he’s going to hurt you.”
He’s one of many Yachtsmen who fit that description.
“Obviously they’re a skilled team, the No. 2 team coming in,” said Kennebunk Coach Don Hill. “We knew that we were up against it but I thought we had a shot. The guys worked hard but it didn’t happen tonight. It’s tough to come back against them and it doesn’t make it any easier when you’re shorthanded.”
And that was a near-constant state of being for the Rams (13-7), as Falmouth scored on 4-of-7 power-play opportunities. Kennebunk went 0 of 4.
Dane Pauls made 19 saves for the Yachtsmen. He lost the shutout bid at 11:43 of the third when Harrison Hall scored for Kennebunk to make it 9-1. Can Wiewel assisted.
“These games can be harder to play mentally than close games,” Pauls said, “because you’re not really getting shots. You just need to control rebounds when it’s in your own end and you track the puck when it’s out.”
The effort didn’t go unnoticed.
“Dane stopped some quality shots and he didn’t panic when he saw some loose pucks, which is important,” Barton said. “He gave our defensemen a chance to regroup and collect the puck. He got it done when he had to.”
And now the focus turns to Scarborough. The Red Storm beat the Yachtsmen 5-2 on Jan. 19 in Saco.
“Scarborough is well-coached and they’ve got some players who can hurt you if you let them,” Barton said. “We didn’t respect them the first time and that won’t happen again.”