PORTLAND—The hottest team around is going to play one more game.

The biggest game of them all.

Tuesday afternoon at the Cross Insurance Arena, Brunswick’s boys’ hockey squad continued its blistering play by ending the title reign of the Greely Rangers in a memorable Class B South Final at the Cross Insurance Arena.

The second-ranked Dragons, still riding high after outlasting Cheverus/Yarmouth in a five-overtime semifinal epic Friday night, got stellar goalkeeping from Luke Patterson early, then broke the ice at 8:52 of the first period, as senior captain Ollie Bateman scored.

The top-ranked Rangers, long the gold standard in Class B, answered right back on the power play, as senior Evan Dutil scored at 10:42, but just 20 seconds later, senior Joe Marro scored on a rebound and Brunswick took a 2-1 lead to the second period.

There, Dutil pulled Greely even at 3:14, again on the power play, and the game would be deadlocked entering the third period.


Where the Dragons, who last played in a regional final way back in 2006 and had never won one, erupted for three goals in a staggering 52 seconds to seize control.

Bateman scored to put Brunswick ahead to stay at 1:34, junior Nick Marro finished 28 seconds later and 24 seconds after that, it was junior Sam Masse finding the net for a seemingly safe 5-2 lead.

But to the surprise of no one, the proud Rangers battled back, getting a power play goal from senior Ryan Moore with 6 minutes to go, then getting another from classmate Gage Cooney with 2:45 still to play to make things very interesting.

But the Dragons wouldn’t be denied and essentially clinched it with 1:08 remaining, as Grey Perham fired the puck nearly the length of the ice into an open net and Brunswick went on to close out its 6-4 victory.

The Dragons won their 12th game in a row, improved to 16-4, ended another strong Greely season at 16-5 and in the process, advanced to meet either Hampden Academy (15-3) or Camden Hills (12-4) in the Class B state final at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Cross Insurance Arena.

“It’s pretty amazing,” said Brunswick’s fifth-year coach Mike Misner. “All the kids who participated got us to this point. Greely sets the standard, but now, we’re putting Brunswick on the map.”


A roar unlike before

Brunswick has made a splash this winter and by season’s end was as good as anyone, anywhere.

The Dragons won their first three games, lost to Cheverus/Yarmouth in overtime, beat Windham and York (in OT), then lost to Greely and Leavitt (in overtime). After sitting idle for over two weeks, Brunswick lost at Camden Hills, but the Dragons wouldn’t fall again, closing on an eight-game surge, which included victories over Cheverus/Yarmouth, Edward Little and Cape Elizabeth.

The Dragons opened the playoffs by eliminating No. 7 Gorham, 8-1, then outlasted No. 3 Cheverus/Yarmouth in Friday’s five-overtime epic, 4-3, on Zach Stern-Hayes’ goal.

“(After we won), physically, we just needed to rest and hydrate and mentally, we just had to focus on the next task,” said Stern-Hayes.

“I walked into the locker room before the fourth overtime and every single kid had a smile on their face,” said Misner. “They just had so much playing in that game. I knew if we could just get a little rest, we’d be excited to play in this one.


Since the 2003-04 season, Greely has reached the regional final every year but three, with the last of those coming in 2016. While the Rangers didn’t have a postseason to take part in last winter, due to COVID, they entered the 2021-22 campaign as the three-time reigning regional champion and the two-time reigning Class B champ.

And this year has been more of the same.

Greely rallied to beat Cheverus/Yarmouth in overtime in the opener, then, after falling at Cape Elizabeth, rattled off five straight victories, before losing to Class A top seed Edward Little. The Rangers went 8-2 down the stretch, losing only at Leavitt and Thornton Academy, and once again, earned the top seed for the fourth consecutive tournament.

After blanking No. 8 Kennebunk, 7-0, in the quarterfinals, Greely ousted No. 5 Cape Elizabeth, 3-1, in Saturday’s semifinal round.

While Greely is a regional final regular, Brunswick was making its first appearance since 2006, when it lost a five-overtime contest to Lewiston in the Eastern A Final.

In the teams’ lone meeting, Jan. 5, the Rangers beat the host Dragons, 3-2. Brunswick and Greely had never before met in the playoffs.


While Tuesday’s contest ebbed and flowed, at the end, the Dragons were the ones celebrating victory.

Greely came out firing, putting eight strong shots on Patterson in the game’s first six minutes, but he stopped them all and got help from his defense, which blocked several other promising bids. The best looks came from Dutil, which required a glove save, a shot from senior Gage Cooney after a rebound, and a pair of stops on shots from sophomore Landon Werner.

“Sometimes it’s good to get into the action early,” said Patterson. “I trust my defense. We were prepared.”

“I’ve played with Luke since I was 7 or 8 and he’s always been like that,” Bateman said. “There’s never been a goalie I’ve played with that I’ve been more confident about. When he’s getting peppered with shots, I know he’s going to make the saves.”

Then, on its first good chance, Brunswick struck first, as Brady LaForge got the puck to Bateman, who steered it past Rangers goalie Keji Wiessner for a 1-0 lead at 8:52.

“It was great to get an early lead and set the tone,” said Bateman.


After a Brunswick tripping penalty, Greely pulled even on the power play, as Moore got the puck up top to Dutil, who ripped a blast through traffic and past Patterson at 10:42, but just 20 seconds later, the Dragons retook the lead, as Joe Marro had an initial shot saved and after Wiessner denied a bid from Bateman, Marro pounced on the rebound and fired it home for a 2-1 advantage, which lasted into the first intermission.

The Rangers had an 11-6 shots advantage in the first period, but found themselves behind.

“We started in many ways playing the game we wanted to,” said longtime Greely coach Barry Mothes. “We had an 8-0 shots advantage, then there were some unfortunate circumstances out there that led to goals for them. We just needed a little more speed and strength at times and we couldn’t find it.”

Dutil and the Rangers promptly answered in the second period, as Dutil got the puck from sophomore Charlie Moore, raced into the offensive zone, skated in on Patterson, then finished to tie it, 2-2.

After Pelham hit the post, Brunswick had a chance to answer when it went on the power play, but couldn’t convert and the rest of the period belonged to Wiessner and Patterson, who kept the contest deadlocked heading to the third period.

Greely actually had a chance to score first in the third period, as Cooney had a good look, which Patterson saved, then Werner hoped to bang in the rebound, but Patterson stopped that too.


And then, the Dragons roared.

With 13:26 remaining, Bateman finished, with Nick Marro and LaForge getting assists, and Brunswick was on top for good.

“We won the second period and we were ready for the third,” Mothes said. “We’ve been in that situation a lot this year. It was just a broken transition play where they made a good indirect pass and all of a sudden, it was a 2-on-1 and they executed.”

The next goal came just 28 seconds later, as Wolverton set up Nick Marro for a 4-2 lead.

Then, with 12:34 on the clock, Marro fed Masse and stunningly, the difference was three.

“We came out with more energy,” said Bateman. “(Greely) looked pretty tired. That’s when we knew we had a good shot.”


“We told each other in the locker room we’re going to put it away the first three minutes of the third period and that’s what we did,” said Stern-Hayes.

“We just put it on the guys,” added Misner. “We didn’t want to leave anything on the table. We didn’t want to regret the third period and we certainly didn’t want to go into overtime. The boys just came out strong.”

Mothes replaced Wiessner with senior Spencer Osgood in goal.

“We struggled to get some key saves when we needed them,” Mothes said. “That was a lethal 52 seconds. I know Keji’s disappointed. He’s had a great season and has been a great teammate. He’s been a key part of our success.”

Greely then dug deep into its reservoir of championship heart to rally back and make things very interesting.

After failing to convert on one power play chance, the Rangers went man-up again and with exactly 6 minutes showing, Moore took a pass from senior Brooks Williams and ripped a shot past Patterson to cut the deficit to 5-3.


Greely went on the power play again with 2:49 to go and this time, needed just four seconds to score, as Dutil fed Cooney for a shot which Patterson couldn’t stop and suddenly, the margin was one.

But instead of buckling, the Dragons returned to their aggressive ways only to have Perham and Stern-Hayes denied.

Then, with just 1:22 to play, Dutil took a costly cross-checking penalty, meaning that even if Mothes wanted to pull Osgood, his team wouldn’t have a man-advantage.

Out of a timeout, the Rangers fed the puck into Brunswick’s zone and off came Osgood, but almost immediately, Perham got the puck and from just in front of the Dragons’ goal, Perham sent it all the way down the ice where it tickled the twine with 1:08 remaining for an all-important insurance tally.

“We all stayed calm and supported each other,” Stern-Hayes said. “We had confidence.”

“We start practices often-times if the boys score an empty netter, they can pick their drill and that helped out today,” said Misner. “Hats off to Greely, it doesn’t matter the score, they always have an opportunity to come back. We lost our composure a little bit and allowed them to get back in the game, but luckily we settled down and finished it off.”


“There was still a lot of time left,” Mothes said. “We had some good shifts and had some good power plays. We looked like we could get another skater on, but that penalty made it difficult. We gambled with an empty net 5-on-5, but Perham’s a good player and he had a nice finish.”

The Rangers had one more chance, but Patterson denied Werner, and at 5:36 p.m., the final horn sounded and Brunswick was able to celebrate its history-making 6-4 victory.

“It’s unreal,” said Bateman. “It just feels really good to go to school tomorrow and we’ll have everyone congratulating us. We were all supportive in the locker room. We had to make sure to not let up. (Greely’s) a great team. I kind of started to tear up on the bench, tears of joy. It was emotional. It’s been so long and we’ve worked so hard for it all season. We just went out there and wanted it.”

“It means a lot,” said Patterson. “It’s never happened before. We’re breaking the ice and it’s good to see. We knew we had to leave it all on ice, it was now-or-never. It got a little sketchy there, but we pulled through.”

“It was so much fun,” said Stern-Hayes. “One of the best situations you can be in is a close game with a lot of fans. It means a lot to be part of the first Brunswick team to go to the state final.”

“I would say in mid-January, we had some games snowed out, we were shut down a week because of COVID and we were down on ourselves, but we picked it up and put it together and started supporting each other,” Misner added. “We built on each game and put on a run.”


Patterson stopped 27 of the 31 shots he faced.

“Luke’s stepped up huge,” Misner said. “They get a lot of traffic in front of the net, big bodies. A couple of those goals, he couldn’t see, so we tried to get our defensemen to clear out space, because if Luke sees (the puck), he’ll stop it.”

Brunswick didn’t play Hampden Academy this year and lost at Camden Hills, 3-0, Jan. 22, when its season was at its lowest.

Saturday, the Dragons will be at their highest when they face one of those teams with a championship hanging in the balance.

Brunswick will be ready.

“We’ll keep doing what we’ve been doing,” Patterson said. “We’ve been on a good winning streak.”


“We’ll recover, get our minds ready and focus on our next test,” Stern-Hayes said.

“We’re going to get a little rest tomorrow, then we’ll hit the ice Thursday and Friday,” Misner added. “We’ll keep focusing on what’s gotten us here. We don’t care who the opponent is.”

Not this year

Greely got 21 saves from Wiessner and two from Osgood and went 3-for-4 on the power play, but its long reign has come to an end.

“(Brunswick’s) played as well as anybody in the state and beat a lot of good teams,” Mothes said. “They haven’t lost since late-January. They’re confident and skilled and have physical strength. They’re opportunistic. I congratulate them on a great season so far and wish them the best Saturday.

“The seniors have had some very exciting and successful and rewarding seasons. I tried to stress that with them. It’s a hard time to appreciate that in the moment. Two state championships, three regional finals. Three Dudley Cup wins (over rival Falmouth on New Year’s Day). The list goes on. I’m really happy the seniors could get in a full season this year. We got three playoff games, which is more than most. We wanted to come back here Saturday and I think we would have given somebody a game. Our league was as competitive this year as I can ever remember.”

The Rangers will be hard-hit by graduation and will have a very different look next winter, but anyone expecting anything short of a deep playoff run will be in for a surprise.

“We’re losing a big group of seniors, so it’s going to be a big transition,” Mothes said. “We’ve got a great group of younger guys. We’ll have to really go to work and dig down and do our best to get better. The league will be really tough again next year.”

Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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