GORHAM – It’s not often a coach admits he likes to see his team perform during adversity.
So when Noble/Wells Coach Keith St. Cyr watched his team cough up a two-goal lead late in the second period against Bonny Eagle in a Western Class A boys’ hockey prelim Saturday night, he wasn’t worried.
Indeed, his ninth-seeded team came away with a 4-3 victory against eighth-seeded Bonny Eagle at the University of Southern Maine.
The Knights (11-8) will meet top-ranked Scarborough (17-1) in the quarterfinals Tuesday.
“I wasn’t really too concerned losing that lead because we seem to have dealt with that an awful lot this season,” St. Cyr said. “This team plays better when they’re desperate and uncomfortable. If anything, I was more comfortable because I knew they were going to play with more desperation.”
The Knights entered the third period with more focus and intensity, which paid dividends when Dean Pratt scored his second goal of the game on a power play with less than three minutes remaining.
The Knights held a 3-1 lead midway through the second period. Pratt broke a 1-1 tie four minutes into the period when he capitalized off a faceoff win. Midway through the period, Mik Ricker scored when his quick release went off the post and in.
But Bonny Eagle fought back quickly.
“The team has never given up all year long,” said Bonny Eagle Coach Mark Whitman. “I have the utmost confidence in this team and I just kept telling them; they were one shot away from making it 3-2 and two shots away from making it 3-3. They bore down and fought back.”
With less than three minutes left in the period, Shayne Plummer scored his second of the game on a shot that caromed in off the pads of goalie Wyatt Ricker.
Only 1:49 later, Josh Doustou tied it on a broken play at the Knights’ blue line.
“I was shaking,” said Pratt. “I was nervous because I thought they had their momentum back and were going to come out real strong in the third. We focused in the locker room, listened to what our coach had to say, and went out and did it.”
The Scots (13-6) were pressured for much of their third, hurt by a short bench. Bonny Eagle started with its usual 12 skaters, but two left because of injury and Whitman sent another to the locker room, leaving nine to finish the game.
Two late short-handed situations added to the Scots’ difficulties.
Bonny Eagle grabbed a 1-0 lead when Plummer scored low to the glove side just 1:36 into the game.
Noah Pease tied late in the period.