Friday, December 6, 2013
By JIM PATRICK Special to the Telegram
PORTLAND — After the Greely boys' hockey team beat Yarmouth 5-2 Saturday in a Western Class B semifinal, Rangers freshman Reid Howland skated over to the bench and picked up a load of sticks to bring off the ice.
Max Watson, right, of Yarmouth celebrates with Eamon Costello after scoring a first-period goal against Greely in a Western Class B boys’ hockey semifinal. The fifth-seeded Clippers couldn’t pull the upset, as No. 1 Greely earned a 5-2 win.
Photo by Derek Davis
Why not? He carried the load for Greely all night.
Howland scored a hat trick at the Portland Ice Arena to power top-seeded Greely (13-4-2) into Wednesday's Western Class B final against York (12-5-2).
Howland had eight goals during the regular season. Against the fifth-seeded Clippers (12-7-1), his third goal of the game came with 3:41 remaining as he tapped in a loose puck for a 4-2 lead. Ted Hart added an empty-net goal in the final minute.
"I feel like I've really seen Reid coming on the last couple weeks. He played very, very well in the last two regular-season games," Greely Coach Barry Mothes said. "He's a dangerous offensive weapon. He's a terrific skater and he's got a really good shot."
Howland opened the scoring with 6:03 left in the first period, burying an open shot directly in front of the Yarmouth net.
Hart made it 2-0 with a pretty short-handed goal, but Max Watson answered for Yarmouth on the power play 24 seconds later.
The best goal of the night came when Howland skated from his own blue line into the Yarmouth zone, moved around a defender and put a low shot past goalie Red DeSmith for a 3-1 margin 1:59 into the second period.
"We talked about it. We knew the goalie's weaknesses. We kept it on the ice, in his weak spot," Howland said. "We just practiced taking it to the outside on the rushes and getting a shot (along the) ice. Just get the puck to the net, and good things happen."
Yarmouth cut the deficit to 3-2 early in the third period when Eamon Costello redirected a shot by Marshall Brunelle.
Greely outshot Yarmouth 30-15, but it wasn't until Howland's tap-in goal that the Rangers could breathe a little easier.
"We had some chances in that second period to kind of open it up," Mothes said. "DeSmith did a good job making some battling kind of saves. We just couldn't put it into the space that was there.
"Sure enough, they come out and pop one in on the first shift of the third. That's what happens when you don't build on a lead the way that you should."