LEWISTON — Top-seeded Falmouth overcame a shaky start and pulled away in the third period for a 5-2 win over No. 4 Portland/Deering in a Class A South boys’ hockey semifinal Saturday night at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
The Yachtsmen (15-3-1), who have reached the regional final four times in the last five years, will play second-seeded Cheverus for the regional title Tuesday night at the Colisee.
“Games like this, historically, are tough games,” said Falmouth Coach Deron Barton after his team defeated the Bulldogs for the second time this season. “I love the way Portland plays. I love how they kept their composure. They really gave us a battle, and that’s the way it should be.”
The score was tied 2-2 the end of the first period.
Portland/Deering’s Jacob Luce opened the scoring by putting in a shot from the slot less than five minutes into the game. It was the Bulldogs’ first shot of the game.
Falmouth tied it six minutes later when defenseman Robbie Armitage swept the puck inside the left post after receiving an across-the-slot pass from Brendan Hickey.
Three minutes later, Hickey made it 2-1 when he scored on a breakaway after stealing the puck in the neutral zone.
Portland (11-8-1) pulled even, though, with 0.7 seconds left in the period. Mason Martell slammed in a rebound for a power-play goal after goalie Spencer Pierce stopped a shot by Dominic Tocci.
“We’ve been here enough to know these games,” Barton said. “(Portland’s) got nothing to lose and everything to gain, so the pressure’s on us. You’ve got to work through it. We had a shaky first period because of those things.”
The score remained tied until late in the second period, when Theo Hembre put the Yachtsmen ahead with the first of his two goals.
Hembre capitalized on a turnover, snapping a shot from the top of the slot that went in off the crossbar.
“I thought we had a real good second period, (but) the third goal took a little gas out of us after playing pretty well,” Portland Coach Jeff Beaney said.
“We were determined to come back, but it’s playoff hockey. There’s not a lot of room out there.”
Hembre and defenseman Alex Grade scored in the first three minutes of the third period to put the game out of reach.
Portland was making its first appearance in a regional semifinal in more than a decade.
“Falmouth has been at this level for a number of years now and has got some quality players, and it was a learning experience for us,” Beaney said.
“We have a lot of heart. We showed a lot of class out there. The program took a big step forward.”