Clinging to the final playoff spot in the Class A South Heal points standings entering play Saturday, the South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete boys’ hockey team needed a signature victory.

And who better to get it against than rival Scarborough?

The Red Riots scored two short-handed goals, got a critical goal from Mitchell Adams just before the end of the second period and added a late clinching score from Eric Walker to produce a 5-2 victory at Troubh Arena.

“This is a huge win for us,” said Red Riots Coach Joe Robinson. “Hopefully, going into February when it really counts, this is where we start taking it to the level we thought we’d be at going into the season.”

The Red Riots (6-6) took advantage of a major penalty by the Red Storm (5-5-1) to grab the lead.

With 3:55 to play in the first period, Dawson Gendreau of Scarborough was sent off for five minutes for boarding and Ethan Jasa also went to the box for two minutes for hooking.

South Portland couldn’t score on the five-on-three advantage but did find the net with 1:13 to go in the period when Bradley McMains got the puck past goalie Caleb Sellinger (Austin Gross was credited with an assist) and the Red Riots took a 1-0 lead to the first intermission.

South Portland then took advantage of Scarborough mistakes to widen the lead in the second.

At 3:56, with the Red Storm on a power play, Cullen Adams stole the puck and beat Sellinger with a backhander for a 2-0 lead.

The Red Riots struck again while dealing with a short-handed situation at 5:53.

Mitchell Adams stole the puck, then sent it through Sellinger’s pads to make it 3-0.

Scarborough finally converted on a power play at 8:48 when Cam Budway finished off a feed from Gendreau with 51.2 seconds remaining in the second.

Sam Rumelhart’s goal then seemingly gave Scarborough all the momentum, but with 29.2 seconds left in the period, after Sellinger saved a McMains shot, Mitchell Adams got to the rebound and sent it into the net to put South Portland up 4-2 heading to the third.

“That goal got the boys going pretty good,” Mitchell Adams said. “I was just in the right spot in the right time. I was there to pop it in.”

After Scarborough failed to solve Red Riots goalie Sebastian Couturier (18 saves) and draw closer, Walker (from Willets Meyer) provided the final margin when he scored with 1:05 remaining.

The Red Storm got 21 saves from Sellinger but went 1 of 8 on power plays and allowed two goals when they were a man up.

“We haven’t let up a lot of five-on-five goals this year, but we show our youth and inexperience on special teams,” said Scarborough Coach Jake Brown.

“They just outworked us. I thought we didn’t give up. The bench was engaged all game. We just weren’t hungry enough to put the puck into the net.”

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