Gorham 4

Deering 2

Brandon Patten scored the game-winning goal with 27:56 left to send Gorham to the western Maine final on Saturday with a 4-2 win over visiting Deering. Joel Mundy led the way with two goals and Isaac Pease also scored for Gorham.

Gorham began with a flurry in windy conditions. Just over four minutes into the first half, Mundy dribbled around two Deering defenders inside the box and fired a shot toward the net. The ball ricocheted off the post and into the mesh for a quick 1-0 lead.

“I think it’s always good for your confidence,” Gorham coach Tim King said of the early goal. “It’s especially important against the wind because it was blowing pretty hard in the first half. We built some confidence off that.”

Throughout the first half, Deering had the wind at their backs, something that really aided them in clearing the ball. The wind also played a role in nearly tying the game just three minutes after Mundy’s goal. With the ball coming into the Gorham end, the sweeper headed it. The wind sent the ball backward toward the Gorham net where it caromed off the post and into the hands of goalkeeper Billy Sutherland.

Midway through the half, King’s boys grabbed a commanding 2-0 lead when Patten passed across the field to Mundy, who quickly fired the ball into the net for his second goal.

“We wanted to come out hard and send a message,” Mundy said of the early onslaught. “We did that and it helped us through the game. We kept the momentum pretty much the whole game.”

Gorham did keep the momentum through much of the game. But there was a time when Deering took control. It was sparked by their first goal, a wind aided shot by Kuba Rucinski sailed over everyone’s heads that found the back of the Gorham net with 7:31 to play in the first half.

After that goal Deering controlled the final minutes of the first half, even getting a couple more scoring chances.

“We gave that one up and that deflated us a little bit,” King said.

Deering controlled the tempo when things resumed in the second half. They kept the ball in Gorham’s end and finally six minutes into the second half, Tony Yeboah tied the game with a shot from the sideline that found the back of the net and suddenly the score was 2-2.

“They are a good team,” King said of Deering. “They are 13-2. We played them the first game of the year, but that was two months ago. A lot changes. They are 13-2 and ranked third for a reason. They probably have the best player in the state and we expected that. They had an emotional moment and battled back.”

Gorham reclaimed the lead for good about five minutes later. After a Deering foul just outside the box, Patten fired a shot from the spot of the foul that beat goalie Alex Witherell. That gave Gorham a 3-2 lead that they would never relinquish.

Following the go-ahead goal, Gorham once again seized control and kept the play out of their own end. With just under two minutes to play, with Deering getting desperate, Pease iced it with his goal off a pass from Mundy.

“The best way to play is to move the ball,” Mundy said. “We’re good when we do that. When we dribble we’re not as good. When we pass it around, that’s our game. It’s hard to beat us.”

Later in the evening in Scarborough, Greely advanced to the regional final with a 2-1 win. That will setup another Gorham home game Saturday with a trip to the state championship game on the line. King says the Rangers pose a tough task for any opponent.

“Greely is a very talented team,” he said. “They have five players from the U17 coastal team that made it to the championship game. That’s farthest a Maine team has gone. They are probably the most talented team left and they will cause a lot of problems for you.”

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