Eagle Tanner Robleto (23) looks up the ice while being pursued by Kennebec/Wells players Matthew McCarthy (9) and Brady Morin during Thursday’s boys high school hockey game in Brunswick. (Bob Conn / The Times Record)

BRUNSWICK — All that Mt. Ararat/Lisbon/Morse coach A.J. Kavanaugh wanted for Christmas this year was a boys high school hockey win for his Eagles after an 0-3-1 start.

On Thursday against Kennebunk/Wells inside Bowdoin College’s Watson Arena, the Eagles found a bit of that Christmas magic. Hunter Merryman scored two power-play goals late in regulation, giving the hosts a come-from-behind 3-2 victory and a 1-3-1 mark.

The Rams dropped their fifth straight to fall to 1-5.

“It is a huge win. We needed to change the momentum of the season,” said Kavanaugh. “We had two really good games to start the season — a 1-0 loss and a big tie with Gorham — and then we played a tough, physical game (7-1 loss to Lake Region/Fryeburg/Oxford Hills), followed by a very strong Thornton Academy team (10-1) right after that.

Mt. Ararat/Lisbon/Morse boys hockey player Tristen Cloutier (10) tries to control the puck with Kennebec/Wells winger Chase Trudeau near by. The Eagles scored two power-play goals late in regulation for a 3-2 win inside Watson Arena on Thursday. (Bob Conn / The Times Record)

“It was just effort tonight. Even being down 2-0 early, we played a strong second period then a strong third. I am proud of them.”

“We just grinded, and it came down in our favor,” said Merryman. “This is a very big win. We want to have a spot in the playoffs, so this win is big. We wanted it more than they did. They were tired and we took advantage.”

Trailing by two early in the final frame, Alex Witwicki lit the fire for the Eagles, slipping a shot high past Kennebunk/Wells goaltender Preston Briggs (14 saves) to cut the deficit in half.

“We talked about getting that one goal and that it would change the whole momentum of the game, and it did,” Kavanaugh said.

The Eagles had to kill off a penalty right after Witwicki’s goal, then Mt. Ararat/Lisbon/Morse failed to

Mt. Ararat/Lisbon/Morse’s Noah Magda (2) skates with the puck during Thursday’s boys hockey game at Watson Arena in Brunswick. (Bob Conn / The Times Record)

score on a power play for the third time as the visitors held the Eagles without a shot during the man advantage.

With Kennebunk/Wells having to kill its fourth power play with 3:45 remaining, the Eagles found the tying goal. Witwicki worked the puck up the boards to defenseman Zander Kirk, whose shot deflected to Merryman. The forward slipped the shot past Briggs while falling to the ice with 3:08 remaining in regulation.

The visitors were whistled for another infraction 30 seconds later, and once again Merryman was in the right spot, taking a Kirk pass and sending his rising shot off the stick handle of Briggs and into the cage for a 3-2 lead with 51 ticks left.

“Hunter Merryman, the only guy with multiple goals last year who hadn’t scored yet this year, gets those two. It was a great way to finish,” Kavanaugh said.

First period deficit

The opening period was all Kennebunk/Wells, which took a 2-0 lead in the first 8:31 of the contest.

With 10 seconds remaining on a power play, a pass to the front of the Eagles’ cage bounced off a defender’s skate and past Mt. Ararat/Lisbon/Morse sophomore goaltender Sean Moore for a 1-0 lead. Phillip Rossborough was credited with the Rams’ goal.

Less than two minutes later, Dean Church took advantage of the hard work in the corner by teammate Chase Trudeau, tipping a Trudeau pass past Moore to double the advantage.

From there, Moore was perfect, turning away the final 27 shots he faced and keeping the deficit to two goals until his team was able to rally.

Kennebec/Wells forward Matthew McCarthy (9) is about to shoot the puck with Mt. Ararat/Lisbon/Morse’s Tanner Robleto (23) closing in. The Eagles knocked off the Rams, 3-2, at Watson Arena in Brunswick on Thursday. (Bob Conn / The Times Record)

“He proves it night in and night out every night. He controls the game and talks to the defensemen,” said Kavanaugh of Moore, who had 30 saves.

“It was important to keep us just two goals down. We needed the win, especially going into Saturday’s rivalry game with Brunswick (8:15 p.m.),” Moore said. “The attitude tonight was we needed to win one and get ready for that next game.”

Kennebunk/Wells finished with a 32-17 shot advantage. Eagle defenders Noah Magda, Zack Ridlon, Hunter Hardy and Andrew Pulsifer did a solid job of clearing the front of the cage for Moore after the tough start.

“The whole team did a good job of protecting the front of the net after that first period,” said Kavanaugh.

Mt. Ararat/Lisbon/Morse 3, Kennebunk/Wells 2

At Watson Arena

K/W — 2 0 0 — 2

MtA/L/Mo — 0 0 3 — 3

First period — 1. (K/W) Phillip Rossborough, ppg, 5:37; 2. (K/W) Dean Church (Chase Trudeau), 8:31. Penalties — (MtA) Cayden Green, interference, 3:47; (K/W) Cameron Barker, charging, 9:04; (MtA) Alex Witwicki, elbowing, 13:19.

Second period — No scoring. Penalties — (MtA) Cam Wallace, holding, 3:06; (K/W) Dean Church, tripping, 6:00; (MtA) Cam Wallace, interference, 14:08.

Third period — 3. (MtA) Alex Witwicki (Noah Magda), 3:55; 4. (MtA) Hunter Merryman (Zander Kirk, Alex Witwicki, ppg, 11:52; 5. (MtA) Hunter Merryman (Zander Kirk), ppg. 14:09.

Shots on goal — (K/W) 7-13-12 – 32; MtA 4-6-7 — 17.

Saves — (K/W) Preston Briggs 14; (MtA) Sean Moore 30.

Power-play opportunities — Kennebunk/Wells 1-of-5; Mt. Ararat/Lisbon/Morse 2-of-5.

Records — Mt. Ararat/Lisbon/Morse 1-3-1; Kennebunk/Wells 1-5.

Up next for the Eagles — Saturday at Watson Arena against Brunswick, 8:15 p.m.

 

 

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