BIDDEFORD — It takes all six players on the ice ”“ five skaters and a goalie ”“ to win a hockey game, but sometimes one netminder can be the difference between winning and losing. A dominant performance from end-to-end by Kennebunk was almost for naught on Saturday afternoon as Greely goalie Kyle Kramlich was masterful in net, but the Rams were able to create just enough offense for a 3-0 victory in a Western Class B clash at the Harold Alfond Forum.

Kennebunk (4-0) started putting shots on net immediately as the Rams created four scoring opportunities in the first 1:30 of the game. They were able to put one in a minute later as David Parker tipped in a loose puck in the middle of a scrum.

“James Ross passed it to Bo Beveridge and he took a shot at the top of the circles. And we’re taught to crash the net and look for rebounds, especially if that goalie is a really good goalie,” said Parker. “It was just right in front of the net and I poked it in.”

What seemed like just an early boost of momentum turned into a large-looming goal as the minutes wore on and Kramlich made save after save ”“ some of which were of the highlight reel variety.

Kennebunk took a 17-3 shot advantage into the first intermission, but were held to just the 1-0 lead.

“Kramlich’s an excellent goalie. I told him after, I think he’s certainly the best we’ve seen so far,” said Kennebunk head coach Sean Smith. “I can’t imagine many kids being much more talented than him.”

Kramlich’s job was made even harder twice in the second period when the Rangers (1-3) went on the penalty kill. Kramlich stopped 10 shots combined between the two kills, and he stopped all 21 shots he faced in the period.

“I was just telling the kids drive the net, put bodies in front of him. If he can’t see it, he can’t stop it; and he still stopped them all,” said Smith.

“So many saves. He had an awesome glove,” said Beveridge. “It was really hard to capitalize.”

The Rams finally got some breathing room early in the third period as they once again didn’t give Kramlich any. Jack Graydon scored from Gavin Baumler in the middle of a scrum 3:26 in.

“Just whatever it takes ”“ complete mayhem, chaos ”“ but just find a way to put the puck in the net,” said Smith.

While Kramlich had a busy game in net, Kennebunk’s Mike LeBlanc had a relatively quiet night. But the biggest of his 11 saves came midway through the period as he stopped a shot by Andrew Ray on a 2-on-0 rush.

“I’d give Mike LeBlanc’s save on that 2-on-0 the key play of the game,” said Smith. “That 2-on-0 was so big. If they put that in there, that’s a one-goal game with momentum on their side.

“Even though he only made 11 stops, he made all 11 stops.”

The only thing for Smith to find fault in during the game was his team’s high number of penalties as the Rams were whistled for minors six times. On Kennebunk’s final penalty kill, however, they put the game away. With just five seconds remaining on the kill, Jan Rutrle was able flip a backhand shot over a lunging Kramlich.

“That certainly was a good test. Kramlich played unbelievable,” said Smith, whose team had outscored its opponents 27-3 entering the game. “That was probably our biggest shot differential out of any team we’ve played so far.”

Despite Greely’s youth ”“ Kramlich is the only healthy senior and the Rangers have 19 underclassmen on the roster ”“ Parker still said beating a team of Greely’s reputation is a big early-season boost for the Rams.

“It’s a big confidence-booster, definitely. They’ve won a bunch of state championships and they’ve been really good the past few years,” said Parker. “We beat them last year, too, and that was definitely a big win for us.”

— Sports Staff Writer Wil Kramlich can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 323 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @WilTalkSports.



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