Top-seeded Greely will have to defeat second-ranked York for the third time this season tonight to claim its first Western Class B boys’ hockey title in four seasons.

The game, which starts at 7 p.m. at the Colisee in Lewiston, is a repeat of last year’s regional final.

A year ago the Wildcats, after losing to Greely twice in the regular season, eked out a 6-4 victory in the regional final. York went on to pull out a 4-3 overtime win over Brewer in the Class B state championship game.

It’s the same situation going into tonight’s game.

The Rangers have beaten York twice this season.

On Jan. 9, Greely, while holding a 36-14 edge in shots, cruised to a 4-0 victory against the Wildcats at the Dover (N.H.) Ice Arena.

On Feb. 2, freshman Mitchel Donovan scored a short-handed goal with less than six minutes left to lift the Rangers to a 3-2 victory against York on home ice at the Family Ice Arena in Falmouth.

Greely Coach Barry Mothes doubted the outcome of last season’s regional final has any bearing on tonight’s game.

“A lot of time has passed since last year,” he said. “It’s my sense that last year is not something that is in the forefront of my players’ minds right now. Those guys who played in that game last year are aware of it, but this year is this year.

“We’re approaching (the game) as what it is, the Western final. We know we’re going to have to play really well, and we know that York has been playing well, but I don’t necessarily feel like there is an enormous carryover (from last year). We’ve played them for many years in a lot of big games. I feel like it’s a big game but it’s this year’s big game.”

The teams are similar.

“Both teams have some strong players throughout the lineup,’ Mothes said.

“Both teams also have some character guys, role-playing guys. I think because of all those things, we’ll probably produce a pretty close playoff hockey game.”

Until recently, depth had been a problem for the Wildcats.

“We played every game this season with a minimum of three starters missing,” York Coach Michael Vessey said.

“We had kids sitting out for disciplinary reasons, kids with the flu. It was just one thing after another.”

But the Wildcats were nearly at full strength Saturday night in their 4-2 victory against third-seeded Cape Elizabeth in a regional semifinal.

“We have been practicing at full strength for a couple of weeks now,” Vessey said. “I think that was one of the differences in the Cape game. Late in the second period and the entire third period, we had fresher legs.”

Mothes said his team can deal with York’s depth.

“We’ve rolled three or four lines ourselves all year,” he said. “We welcome that kind of game. We feel our depth is one of our strengths.”

 

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: PaulBetitPPH