LEWISTON — Falmouth Coach Deron Barton said his boys’ hockey “woke up” Tuesday night, and that made the difference in the Class A South championship game at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
The top-ranked Yachtsmen scored three unanswered goals and held second-seeded Cheverus to one shot on net in the third period to recover from a two-goal deficit for a 3-2 victory.
“To play a lethargic two periods and still be able to come back against a quality team, how can you not be proud of these guys,” Barton said. “We certainly can’t play like that Saturday.”
Garrett Tracey, Theo Hembre and Reece Armitage scored for Falmouth (16-3-1), which will play Lewiston (19-1), the defending champion, in the state final Saturday night.
On Tuesday, Falmouth got off to a slow start “for whatever reason.”
“I can’t even figure it out yet,” Barton said. “They were nervous, overly confident, over-prepared – who knows?”
The Stags (15-6) fired off three unanswered shots in the opening four minutes before Falmouth threatened. With 10:52 left in the first, Hembre got past a defender for a breakaway, but Jason Halverson blocked the shot for his first save. He notched 13 more that period.
Seven minutes into the game and four seconds into the Stags’ first power play, Ryan McSorley redirected a Cheverus shot for what briefly appeared to be a goal. But, after reviewing the play, officials overturned the call for high sticking.
It wouldn’t matter. Kieran Conley scored unassisted for the Stags on that same power play with 6:09 left in the first period. Despite outshooting Cheverus 14-6, the Yachtsmen entered the second down 1-0.
Conley wouldn’t limit his contributions to offense. He blocked several shots to help keep the Yachtsmen from getting any on goal for the first eight minutes of the second period.
Meanwhile the Stags fired off eight shots – all of which goalkeeper Spencer Pierce blocked. That is, until Falmouth gave Cheverus its third power play of the game, and the Stags again capitalized. Sean Walsh scored from Jesse Pierce with 6:02 left in the second. The call was – again – originally overturned. But it was ultimately ruled a goal, giving the Stags a 2-0 lead.
“We’ve been in this situation several times throughout the season and we have been successful coming back,” Barton said. “The last three minutes of the second period, the tide started to turn.”
Garrett Tracey – a sophomore Barton called an “unlikely hero” – gave the Yachtsmen some much-needed momentum, weaving through the Stags before scoring unassisted with 55.5 seconds left in the second. The goal cut Cheverus’ lead to 2-1.
“We went into the locker room solid. We knew they were tired and we had the momentum swing,” Barton said. “We just had to come up and capitalize, and we did.”
Forty-one seconds into the final period, Hembre scored on a Robbie Armitage assist to make it 2-2. Reece Armitage added another goal, assisted by Brendan Hickey and Parker Wyatt, to give Falmouth the lead with 8:02 left.
Hembre nearly cushioned that lead with 5:41 left. He finished a rebound, tipping the puck into Cheverus’ net, but not before the net got moved, which discounted the goal.
Falmouth outshot Cheverus, 36-17. Pierce finished with 15 saves and Halverson notched 33
The Yachtsmen won back-to-back state titles in 2013 and 2014. They split with Lewiston in the regular season, edging the Blue Devils 3-2 on Jan. 16 and falling 5-4 on Jan. 21.
“They’re a quality team. They’ve proved it all year long,” Barton said. “They’re deep and we have to play them like we did the last two times.”
CLASS A NORTH
LEWISTON 6, BANGOR 0: Top-ranked Lewiston (19-1) outshot second-seeded Bangor (12-8) 17-0 in the firsp period and won the regional title at Lewiston.
Alex Robert and Joe Bisson both scored twice, and Jean-Luc Dostie and Ryan Bossie each contributed a goal for the defending state champion.
UPDATE: This story was updated on March 10 at 10:10 a.m. to correct Parker Wyatt’s name.
Taylor Vortherms can be contacted at 791-6417 or