LEWISTON – The Red Storm of Scarborough hosted the Yachtsmen of Falmouth at the Androscoggin Bank Colise?e in an ice-melting showdown for the Western Maine Class A title Tuesday night. The decisive moment came deep in the third, when Yachtsman sophomore Isac Nordstrom tied the game, 3-3, and Scarborough went man down after a penalty for slashing. The momentum shift combined with the man advantage allowed Falmouth to quickly snag the go-ahead goal. Then all they had to do was protect for three minutes.

“The kill was when we took a penalty when they scored,” Scarborough head coach Norm Gagne said, after the game. “I stress to the kids … you have to be able to control your emotions, and I kept trying to reinforce that composure and calmness are your friends.”

Scarborough, the top seed in the West, finishes their season 19-2, while No. 2 Falmouth advances to the state final against Eastern Maine Class A winner Lewiston. That game will be played at the Colise?e on Saturday, March 9 at 6 p.m.

Scarborough applied the early pressure, spending most of the first minute attacking, but without success. Tensions quickly mounted, until tempers flared and Falmouth senior William Mullin and Scarborough junior Jake Gross logged a pair of coincidental minors, for slashing and roughing, respectively. The swordplay continued a minute later, when McDonald incurred a slashing minor, and a minute after that, when Yachtsmen senior Hugh Grygriel also landed in the box for slashing. Once McDonald’s sentence expired, the Storm went up a man, but couldn’t convert the minute-long power play into a goal.

It was Falmouth who lit the lamp first, with just under nine minutes left in the period, when senior JP White assisted Grygiel in putting the puck past Scarborough senior goalie Dalton Finley. It was the Yachtsmen’s fifth shot, to the Storm’s fourth a disparity that would only get wider, ultimately limiting Scarborough’s offensive opportunities. In the end, Scarborough posted 18 shots to Falmouth’s 32.

“But I think that we took advantage of [the shots] we got, in certain situations,” Gagne said, focusing on the upside in a hard loss.

Storm sophomore Matt Henderson logged the game’s next two penalty minutes, for tripping. His team didn’t fall back into a defensive posture, however, and senior captain Trevor Murray managed to break away from the mass of players. With no defensemen between him and his onrushing attacker, Falmouth junior goalie Dane Pauls lunged out of the net, risking a suicide poke-check that interrupted Murray’s advance but landed Pauls sprawled on the ice near the top of the faceoff circles. Storm junior Cam Loiselle then barreled into the play, snatching up the puck where Murray had lost it, skirting Pauls’s form, and sliding a careful shot into the open net from 20 feet out. The shorthanded goal would be the period’s last action, and going into intermission, the score was deadlocked, 1-1.

The Yachtsmen needed just under two minutes to break the deadlock in the second, with senior Jack Pike feeding junior Tyler Jordan for a goal. Scarborough responded less than a minute later, however, as Henderson and senior captain Jack Rousselle assisted Loiselle.

Falmouth sophomore Jake Grade then tripped his way into the box, giving the Storm a power play they turned into the lead when McDonald shoveled the puck from the corner out to captain Ryan Bailer at the point and Bailer handed it off to fellow captain Nick Bagley for the shot, the score, and a 3-2 Scarborough lead.

The remainder of the second period’s action consisted in 10 more penalty minutes: two more pairs of coincidental minors, one for high-sticking and one for roughing, and another individual minor for high-sticking, to McDonald.

The third opened in similar fashion, with Falmouth junior Alden Weller doing time, two minutes of it, for contact to the head. The Storm couldn’t capitalize, however, and for the next four minutes, a sense of expectancy built without release. A fourth pair of coincidental minors, for high-sticking and holding, only heaped more strain on the atmosphere.

The turn of the tide came with 3:26 left to play, when Nordstrom received the puck from sophomore Kevin Cho and junior Andre Clement and banged it passed Finley to even the score and send the Falmouth skaters crashing ecstatically into the boards, where they celebrated with a group hug in front of their screaming student fan contingent.

During the play, junior Garrett McDonald had slashed, and the door lock clanged shut behind him as he entered the box. If his team could kill the penalty, the game looked headed for overtime but that wasn’t to be, as 17 seconds into their team’s power play, Weller fed Grygiel, who fed the scoreboard, putting the Yachtsmen on top, 4-3.

With 36 seconds left, Finley rushed to the bench, giving Scarborough an extra man for a face-off in Falmouth territory. The Storm kicked up a frenzy around Pauls, firing a shot from out front nothing and a bouncing shot from the side again, nothing, as Pauls came up big with the pads. As the last second unraveled, the Yachtsmen threw their gloves and sticks high into the air, tore their helmets off, and converged in an overjoyed mob.

“I think it was 4:07 left to go, and still 3-2,” Gagne said. “But they were beating us to some loose pucks. I think we were starting to run out of gas a little bit. It showed.

“You got to give [Falmouth] credit. We knew we were going to be in for a battle. They knew they were going to be in for a battle. They got the bounce tonight.”

Scarborough captain Trevor Murray outpaces two Falmouth defenders. Staff photos by Adam Birt
Falmouth senior Jack Pike (14) looks to thread the puck between two Scarborough defenders, including junior Cam Brochu (15).
Scarborough defenseman Ian Morris starts up ice from behind his goal line Tuesday night.
Falmouth’s William Mullin charges toward the Scarborough goal, while Red Storm defenders, including Ian Morris (4) try to ward him off, and Red Storm goalie Dalton Finley blocks the puck.
Scarborough assistant captain Nick Bagley outruns his Falmouth pursuer.
Falmouth goalie Dane Pauls faces a Scarborough shot Tuesday night.
The Scarborough Red Storm line up to receive their individual awards and their team Western Maine Class A runners-up award.
The jubilant Yachtsmen can’t be bothered to keep their equipment on.

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