Tuesday, December 10, 2013
KENTS HILL — Dallas Clark picked up a loose puck along the left wing, carried it behind the opposing goal and buried the wrap-around.
Clark's second goal of the game with 35 seconds left in overtime lifted No. 4 Cony past No. 5 Maranacook/Hall-Dale/Winthrop 3-2 in an Eastern Class A quarterfinal Tuesday at Bonnefond Ice Arena.
“My wingman Austin Davis was taking it down the wing and (he) lost the puck and I just carried it around the net and wrapped it around,” the Cony junior forward said. “I kind of got lucky. But oh my God, it was unreal. It’s one of the best feelings ever.”
The Rams (15-4), who won their first playoff game since 2002, will play defending regional champ and top-seeded Lewiston (14-4-1) in the semifinals Saturday at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
“We worked hard and got the win,” Cony senior captain Galen Casey said. “It feels great. We’ve worked hard all season. It just feels good to win this.”
No. 5 MHW (9-10) forced overtime when Matt Plourde scored with 14 seconds left in regulation, with goalie Tyler Plante pulled in favor of the extra attacker.
But the Hawks’ season ended with an overtime loss in the quarterfinals for the second consecutive season.
“It was a good game,” MHW Coach Andy Dube said. “Give it to Cony. They played hard the whole game. They didn’t quit. We didn’t either, though.”
Added MHW senior captain Jason LaPorte: “It’s a tough one. We had a lot of opportunities. It’s tough to lose to them. We took them two out of three times this year. It’s tough being a senior. It’s kind of surreal how quickly it can end.
“One minute you are out there playing with your buddies. It’s the greatest time in your life, but one bounce and it’s over.”
Tyler Leet had the other goal for Cony, which lost both regular-season meetings to MHW. Cony goalie Matt Swan turned in yet another strong performance with 29 saves.
Jared Hanson scored for the Hawks, who controlled the game early but couldn’t put Cony away.
The game was tied 1-1 after two periods, and it stayed that way until Clark stuffed the puck through the pads of MHW goalie Tyler Plante with 1:30 left in the third period.
The Hawks called a timeout, regrouped and forced overtime when Plourde converted a rebound off an Ian Palmer shot.
“When they called a timeout, we talked about covering people,” Cony Coach Chad Foye said. “We talked about not letting anyone get behind us, but they got it. We had to refocus. You could either be woe is me or you can keep playing.”
Added Swan: “They definitely came back and they answered, but the biggest thing for us was to stay calm. We knew we could pull through. We’d been in (overtime) before. We stayed focused.”
Each team had a power-play opportunity in overtime, but it was Clark and the Rams who delivered.
“After our second goal,” Dube said, “I thought the game was ours. I thought we had it there. It’s tough.”
MHW controlled play early, dominating the first period thanks to a relentless forecheck and clean breakouts.
The effort paid off when Hanson scored 5:22 into the game. Dan Condon set up the goal with a nice individual effort in the corner. The burly center had his stick knocked out of his hands behind the Cony net but scrambled into the corner to retrieve it. After picking it up, Condon then gained control of the puck and slipped it into the slot, where Hanson was charging.
Hanson beat Swan with a low shot to the stick side.
“In the first period we were playing really nervous,” Foye said. “The second and third we kept building it after that. We started playing like we were capable of playing.”
Bill Stewart — 621-5640