Monday, December 9, 2013
By GREG REID Special to the Telegram
GORHAM - Coach Jon Portwine says he doesn't know where his team would be without goalie Justin Broy.
Bonny Eagle goalie Chris Derrah tries to hold his ground but can’t stop a shot by Spence Cowand of Gorham, who gives the Rams an early lead en route to a 5-1 win in a Western Class A prelim game. Gorham advances to play top-seeded Thornton Academy on Tuesday.
Photos by John Patriquin/Staff Photographer
Shawn Sullivan of Gorham tries to slip in a shot past Bonny Eagle goalie Chris Derrah as defenders converge. The Rams won, 5-1.
It's safe to say the Gorham Rams wouldn't be preparing for another playoff game.
Broy made 33 saves and Spence Cowand scored four goals to lead eighth-seeded Gorham to a 5-1 victory over No. 9 Bonny Eagle in a Western Class A hockey preliminary-round game Saturday at USM Ice Arena.
The Rams (12-7) advance to a quarterfinal against No. 1 seed Thornton Academy (16-1-1) on Tuesday at Biddeford Ice Arena. The Scots finish up at 8-10-1.
"Justin was just outstanding," said Portwine, whose team has gone 8-1 over the last month. "He's been better than I could ever imagine."
Backed by Broy, Gorham held the Scots scoreless on all six power plays. It was a bright spot in an otherwise lackluster game for the Rams.
"Our usual intensity really wasn't there, except on the penalty kill," Portwine said. "That's been a problem area for us this season. We worked on it all week and it was pretty good tonight."
It was good enough for Cowand to score two short-handed goals, including the Rams' first of the night at 8:36 of the first period.
"We got some lucky breaks and we finished on them," said Cowand, who has 27 goals this season. "That first one, I was just going hard, (the puck) took a lucky bounce over a stick, I got it and finished it."
Gorham took command in the second period as Chris Hardy scored unassisted at 3:26 of the second for a 2-0 lead. Thirty seconds later, Cowand beat goalie Chris Derrah (16 saves) again to make it 3-0 off a nice feed from Brad Turnbaugh.
Bonny Eagle finally beat Broy on a scramble in front when Josh Bagley lifted his third shot over Broy at the 5-minute mark. Connor Shields and Tom Rhoades assisted.
"We just ran into a hot goalie," said Bonny Eagle Coach Mark Whitman. "We just couldn't capitalize. The start of the second period, we had three great chances in the opening 15 seconds. Our kids just didn't give up."
But by then, Broy had settled in.
"I was kind of nervous, because it was my first playoff game," Broy said. "Halfway through the first period, I found a little rhythm. (On the penalty kill), our defense was keeping guys away from me, and the forwards were doing a good job."
They had plenty of reps. Portwine said his first unit of Cowand, Chris Hardy, Ryan Koenig and Dylan Turner were outstanding, as were Turnbaugh and Blake Babineau on the second unit.
"It doesn't show on the scoreboard," Whitman said, "but this was by far the best game we've played this season. Our guys have nothing to hang their heads about."
The Scots were enjoying their first taste of the playoffs in three years. With just three seniors graduating, Whitman sees a bright future.
"We fell short of our goal of winning a playoff game, but we'll reach that next year," Whitman said.
"With this group of kids? No doubt in my mind."
For Gorham, talk of the future focuses on Tuesday night and Thornton Academy.
"It's going to be a tall task," Portwine said. "To play with them, we'll need to play our best game all year, that's for sure."