GORHAM — The scary part for Gorham came soon after it took a 3-0 lead in the third period Tuesday night.
Portland-Deering quickly scored two goals 35 seconds apart to make it a game in the Western Class A boys’ hockey quarterfinals.
But Gorham held on for a 3-2 victory at the University of Southern Maine.
The third-seeded Rams (12-6-1) advanced to Saturday’s semifinals against top-seeded Falmouth at the Colisee in Lewiston. No. 6 Portland-Deering is done at 14-5.
Jared Wood scored twice for Gorham and Spence Cowand added the winner. Rams goalie Justin Broy made 22 saves, 13 of them in the third period.
Chris Eye and Antonio DiPietro scored for Portland. Jon Gatti made 23 saves for the Bulldogs.
When Portland-Deering scored its two goals, there was still eight minutes left.
“We knew Portland was not going to go away,” Gorham Coach Jon Portwine said.
Portwine remembered well the Jan. 19 game when the Rams lost a three-goal lead in the third period before beating Portland-Deering in overtime, 6-5.
That loss was the last one for Portland-Deering, which went on a nine-game winning streak. But the Bulldogs began Tuesday’s game flat, outshot 11-4 in the first period.
“We’ve been playing so well lately, I was a little disappointed we came out a little off our game,” Portland-Deering Coach Chad Hart said. “I didn’t want to play catch-up again against Gorham.”
Gatti kept the Bulldogs tied.
“Their goalie made some big saves,” Cowand said. “We couldn’t find anything.”
The teams looked even in the second period until the Rams surged. Wood rebounded a shot from Mick Mansir at 11:56.
“The puck bounced right to me, right at my feet,” Wood said. “I had an open net. All I was thinking was that Gatti better not make a diving save. He had a great game and kept them in the game.”
Less than three minutes later, Wood found himself in the same position. On a power play, Matthew Hooker shot the puck off the post right to Wood, an open net in front of him. His second score at 14:24 made it 2-0. Tucker Buteau also was credited with an assist.
At 3:11 in the third period, on a four-on-four situation, Cowand got the puck from Blake Babineau and sent a rocket top shelf for a 3-0 lead.
Then came the Bulldogs, who outshot Gorham 15-5 in the third period.
“The boys showed what they’re made of,” Hart said. “They have a lot of heart. They could have sulked or come back and battled, and that’s that they did.”
Eye’s shot was deflected over the goalie, landing in the crease and rolling in at 6:30. Zach Luce had an assist. At 6:55 DiPietro sniped in a shot with Caleb Fraser assisting.
“They really took it to us,” Portwine said. “But we stayed out of the box and made good decisions at the end that allowed us to fend them off.”
Gorham faced Falmouth once this season, losing 5-3 on Dec. 22.
Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org