February 19

High school hockey notebook: Tangled Western Class A comes down to a showdown

Falmouth and Scarborough meet for the top seed.

By Mark Emmert memmert@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Falmouth's Tyler Jordan, No. 4, tries to move the puck around the defense of Scarborough's Cam Nigro, No. 10, in this Dec. 9, 2013, game played at the at the University of New England.

John Ewing / Staff Photographer

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Isac Nordstrom, Falmouth junior: Had two goals and three assists as the Yachtsmen drilled Lewiston 6-1 on Monday. 

HONORABLE MENTION

James Hannigan, Cheverus junior: The forward scored his team’s final three goals in a 5-4 overtime victory over Biddeford.

Ricky Ruck, Biddeford freshman: His two goals 11 seconds apart keyed a 4-1 upset of Scarborough.

Zach Luce, Portland/Deering senior: Had two goals and added an assist in a 7-1 victory against South Portland. 

AREA TOP FIVE

1. Falmouth 12-5

2. Scarborough 11-4-1

3. Gorham 14-3

4. Cheverus 9-7-1

5. Biddeford 8-7-2

Falmouth’s strength is its defense, led by superior goalie Dane Pauls.

“He’s one of the most experienced goaltenders in the state and he’s playing that way,” Barton said. “He’s always giving us a chance to win, making big plays when he has to.”

It helps to have Jake Grade and a strong defense in front of him.

Even freshman Reece Armitage has proved to be a steadying force on the Yachtsmen blue line.

And Falmouth’s third offensive line – they prefer to be called the “yellow line” – anchored by Brandon Boehm has excelled at defense.

“Their job is to not get scored against and give the other two lines a break. And they’ve been a godsend for us this year,” Barton said.

So that’s the puzzle Scarborough and the rest of the Western A teams will have to solve. The road to a state championship runs through Falmouth, as it should.

Starting Thursday. 

BIDDEFORD COULDN’T celebrate its big victory over Scarborough long.

Two nights later the Tigers coughed up a late 4-2 lead and were beaten 5-4 by Cheverus in overtime.

Still, Coach Rich Reissfelder is happy with the progress of a young team. Two freshmen are key to its power play, for example.

“They understand what to do with the puck,” Reissfelder said.

“I think the older guys, the leadership, has been great, really just doing a great job of being patient with them. They talk all the time on the bench, hanging out in the locker room after practice. It’s great to be able to hear that from teammates rather than just coaches all the time.”

Reissfelder’s roster contains 14 underclassmen but the Tigers have shown they can bite anyone who overlooks them. Don’t bet against them.

“Literally, it’s anybody’s state championship right now,” Reissfelder said. “It’s wide open. It comes down to who shows up.

“It’s dreadful for me but it’s fun for everybody else, apparently.” 

CHEVERUS IS ANOTHER TEAM with a track record of strong performances, but also some staggering losses. At 9-7-1, Coach Dan Lucas at least knows he has senior goaltender Jason Blier to fall back on.

“He’s starting to realize that things, from a high school perspective, are drawing to a close,” Lucas said. “He’s a competitive kid, and I’m sure he doesn’t want to go out without giving his best effort.”

But Cheverus has two big question marks heading into the postseason.

Forward Conor Ryle and defenseman James Kane are both injured, and their status is uncertain.

“We were chasing a lot, mixing up lines and trying to get everything we could out of them,” Lucas said of the victory against Biddeford.

“In the end it paid off. Going forward we’ve got to figure out how to keep the glue on everything.”

Lucas said the team that avoids careless penalties stands the best chance of advancing to the state championship game. But in any event, the Western A playoffs are going to make for good viewing.

“We should get a lot of people out watching. I think it’s going to be really good hockey,” Lucas said.

“Everyone is going to be at peak level because they all think they have a chance.”

Mark Emmert can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

memmert@pressherald.com

Twitter: MarkEmmertPPH

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