Scarborough’s Sam Neugebauer lit up visiting South Portland for six goals in Saturday, June 11’s second A South semifinal, leading his boys to a lopsided, 16-4 W. 

“South Portland is tough,” said Scarborough head coach Joe Hezlep. “They certainly didn’t make things easy for us. But we were able to execute … we were able to string together passes and finish plays, which we haven’t done in a lot of the games we’ve struggled in, this year.”

The wide result is somewhat unexpected. Both teams compiled winning records through the regular season; Scarborough entered the tournament ranked first, at 9-3, and South Portland fifth at 7-5. The Riots, however, gained some momentum when they upset Thornton 11-8 in the first round, through which the Storm earned a bye. Moreover, the team’s first meeting of 2016 proved much tighter.

“We beat them, early in the season, I think it was 12-10, something like that; really close,” said Neugebauer of the teams’ first meeting, back on April 22. “We knew this was going to be a big game for us, and we came out really strong. We had to play our game.”

Neugebauer also logged an assist in the contest. Cam Thibault likewise had a big day for the Storm, tallying three goals and an assist; Cam Nigro added two goals and two assists, Marc Guerette two goals, Marco Manfra one goal and one assist, and Cam Jepson and Andrew Granzier a goal apiece.

Neugebauer discussed the Storm’s chemistry on the attack in back-to-basics terms: “We just pass it around, looking for the most open man … we weren’t trying to force the ball; we were trying to take the perfect shot. If the shot wasn’t there, we would just pass it.”

Hezlep praised Neugebauer. “Sammy, he’s been working on putting himself in better positions to score. Early in the year, he was dodging himself into a lot of trouble, not being able to get his hands free. Today, and recently, he’s been doing a much better job of finding ways to get his hands free.”

Likewise, Hezlep applauded Thibault. “Cam, right now, it’s really his dodging ability. It’s him being able to get to a spot to get a good shot. And most of the time, right now, he’s creating it for himself – and that’s fine, because he’s about as fast as they come. What a great day for him, three goals.”

Cooper Melhorn added two of South Portland’s goals, and Jack Fiorini and Finn Zechman notched one each. 

The Riots retire till 2017 at 8-6. Scarborough, meanwhile, advanced to the next round; the Storm hosted No. 3 Gorham in the Regional Final on Wednesday, June 15, after the Current’s print deadline. The Rams got the better of Scarborough 9-8 in both teams’ first game of the season, way back in mid-April.

Scarborough’s Marco Manfra fends off a pesky SoPo stick.

Scarboroughite Cam Thibault hashed three goals in his team’s battering of South Portland on Saturday.

Red Stormer Cam Nigro jukes around a South Portland defender on Saturday.

South Portland’s Benedetto Nappi defends a Scarborough attacker.

South Portland’s Mitch Adams makes to pass at Scarborough on Saturday.

South Portland’s Cooper Melhorn unwinds into a shot.


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