YARMOUTH — Fifth-seeded Kennebunk, making its first playoff appearance in more than a decade, limited fourth-ranked Yarmouth’s opportunities and rolled to a 4-1 victory in a Western Class B quarterfinal Tuesday night at Travis Roy Arena.
Kennebunk (11-7-1) will play top-ranked Gorham (15-3) in a semifinal Friday night at Lewiston. Gorham won its regular-season game, 3-1.
“Our goal was to limit their scoring opportunities and we really did that,” Kennebunk Coach Sean Smith said. “We stuck to the game plan and dumped the puck in.”
“They really did a good job of keeping the puck out of their end,” Yarmouth Coach David St. Pierre said. “They’ve got some big tall defensemen, and they collapsed and kept the puck away from the dangerous areas.”
The Rams, in their first season in Class B after spending 12 years in Western Class A, limited the Clippers (11-7-1) to eight shots on goal while building a 3-1 lead in the first two periods.
Yarmouth freshman Bob Murray opened the scoring less than 1:30 into the game when he stole the puck inside the Kennebunk blue line and quickly slipped it inside the right post. The Clippers didn’t get another shot on goal for more than 10 minutes.
With less than six minutes left in the period, Patrick Gassman made it 1-1 by turning a feed from Boden Beveridge into a goal.
On Dec. 23, the teams played to a 1-1 tie on Kennebunk’s home ice at UNE’s Alfond Arena, and this game seemed headed in the same direction until the Rams took control during the second period.
Less than three minutes into the period, Brandon Merchant’s shot from the left circle clinked in off the far post as the Rams took the lead for the first time.
Less than six minutes later, Gassman scored again. This time he intercepted a pass on the left side and beat goalie Nicholas Allen cleanly to make it 3-1.
The third period belonged to Kennebunk goalie Mike Le-Blanc.
He made 14 of his 21 saves in the final 15 minutes of the game. Eight of those saves came during Yarmouth’s five power plays, including a 2-minute, 52-second segment when the Clippers skated with a two-man advantage.
“Mike LeBlanc was simply superb during those penalty kills,” Smith said.
“He stayed in control and kept the puck out of the goal.”
“(Their goalie) made the big saves when he needed to make them,” St. Pierre said. “He made the simple saves, too, and he did a good job of controlling the rebounds.”
Ryan Keefe, one of the five Kennebunk seniors, completed the scoring by putting in a short-handed goal during the final minute while the Rams were in the process of completing their fifth successive penalty kill of the third period.