Wednesday, March 12, 2014
By EARL SWINSON Special to the Press Herald
LEWISTON — Will Desmarais had a goal and two assists, and five teammates also scored as second-seeded St. Dominic skated past seventh-ranked Brunswick for a 6-1 victory in an Eastern Class A boys' hockey quarterfinal Tuesday night.
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After a shaky start, the Saints (15-3-1) used a balanced offense featuring speed, puck movement and a defense that gave up the first goal of the game, then never allowed the Dragons (8-10-1) to sustain pressure on goalie Austin Christopher.
"I think for the first eight minutes or so there were some nerves," said St. Dom's Coach Steve Ouellette, "but overall it was a solid game. The defense got better as the game went on. We used our speed to get off a lot of shots, and we hit the net for a change."
Despite being outshot 12-4 in the opening period, Brunswick scored first when Blake Bodwell at the left point took a pass from Dwayne Palmer and put a low shot on net.
Christopher knocked it away but the rebound went to James Waring near the left post, and he scored at 3:36.
Spencer Martin tied it on a power play at 8:56 after a breakout pass from Desmarais to Dakota Keene at center ice, Martin skating straight up the middle of the slot and wristing a shot over Jason Blier's glove.
Ryan Lussier put the Saints on top in the final minute of the period from Martin, his high shot from the left point eluding Blier thanks largely to a screen set by Kyle Holtet.
"That was huge," said Desmarais, "to get the lead just before the break. That gave us the momentum and everything started to click after that."
Desmarais and Chris Finlay teamed for a textbook goal at 5:50 of the second, Desmarais holding the puck at the right point as Finlay skated left-to-right across the slot and redirected Desmarais' shot in.
After Blier stopped six power- play shots by the Saints halfway through the period, a key juncture came when penalties 25 seconds apart left St. Dom's two men down in the final four minutes.
With the score just 3-1, a goal could have turned things around in a hurry, but Desmarais anchored a penalty-killing unit that survived that situation and a third penalty two minutes later.
"We just stuck to our system, kept our composure and kept working hard," he said. "The coaches do a great job preparing us for penalty killing."
Desmarais made it 4-1 just over a minute into the third with a slap shot from the right off a feed from Holtet. "The shots were there from the point," said Desmarais, "and the forwards did a great job getting the puck to us."
Cody Rodriguez on the left scored off a circle-to-circle pass from Alex Parker, and Parker closed it out with an unassisted short-handed goal with 44 seconds remaining.
"Their depth was definitely a factor," said Brunswick Coach Mike Routhier. "But we're young and they're where we want to be in a couple of years. We wanted to compete and we've had a good season."