LEWISTON — His coach calls him Hollywood, although Jake Grade isn’t particularly fond of the nickname.
You certainly couldn’t have scripted his Saturday night any better.
Grade’s slap shot sliced through the tension building inside the Androscoggin Bank Colisee and into the net to give Falmouth a 3-2 overtime victory against St. Dominic in the Class A boys’ hockey championship game.
It was Grade’s second goal of the game and came just after his team had to kill a tripping penalty against him.
“It’s a redemption goal. He took that penalty and he came back out and he got it done,” Falmouth Coach Deron Barton said. “He’s grown into just a super competitor and a great team player.”
Grade’s rising shot from the right point clanged off the right post and high into the net behind Saints goaltender Caleb Dostie.
It gave Falmouth (17-5) a second consecutive state championship and denied the Saints’ bid for a record 25th title.
And it ended one of the most pulsating hockey games you’ll ever see.
Dostie and Dane Pauls of Falmouth each made a series of terrific saves. With three seconds left in regulation, Pauls got his arm on a close-range shot by Dillon Pratt, sending the puck skittering just over the net as the 3,450 spectators exhaled in unison.
“That definitely made my heart stop a little bit. I was lucky enough to flail my arm and I just got a tiny piece of it,” Pauls said.
“Skating out there for the beginning of overtime, I could barely stand up, there was so much adrenaline. But after I kind of got one save under me in overtime, I settled in.”
Grade’s tripping penalty came 2:48 into overtime. A St. Dominic skater was cutting in front of him toward the crease and he felt he had no choice but to prevent the quality shot.
Barton called a timeout to give his best penalty killers a breather. Grade sat in the box and looked at the floor, unable to watch.
“I thought it was a good karma penalty because it was hard-working. I was confident in our boys to kill that,” Grade said.
They did, allowing only one shot on goal.
Grade returned to the ice and promptly got drilled, crumpling to the ice and having second thoughts about whether he should remain in the game.
“I was actually thinking of getting off the ice but I was like, ‘Oh, I’ve got to stay out here,’ ” Grade said. “Hunter (Low) made a great pass over and I just buried my head and it went in. I’m speechless.”
Grade’s goal at 6:43 of overtime set off a raucous celebration.
St. Dom’s (13-8-1) had no reason to hang heads. Caleb Labrie scored twice and Dostie made 23 saves in a valiant effort.
“You’re in overtime and you’re just hoping to get that great opportunity,” Coach Steve Ouellette said. “They got that clean shot away and it was a great shot.”
Hollywood became the star.
“He’s a guy in the room that’s got to have everything perfect. He’s got the cleanest skates, the cleanest face mask, the most beautiful tape job,” Barton said of the moniker he hung on his junior defenseman.
After the game, Barton and Grade exchanged a long embrace and the coach was seen whispering in his player’s ear.
“He was like, ‘Yeah, you can sign all the autographs you want after this,’ ” Grade said.
And why not? It certainly was a Hollywood ending to the season.
Mark Emmert can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: