FALMOUTH—After missing the playoffs altogether a year ago, Greely’s boys’ hockey team is on a mission this time around and isn’t ready to go home just yet.

Even when time appeared to be ticking away on the Rangers’ season Tuesday evening at Family Ice Center.

Fourth-ranked Greely had let a pair of two-goal leads slip away against visiting No. 5 seed Gorham in a Class B South quarterfinal and inside the final minute, appeared destined for a painful and final loss.

But the Rangers had other ideas, saving their absolute best for last and pulling off one of the most dramatic come-from-behind victories in the program’s storied history.

When junior Ezra McDuffie scored twice in the first period, Greely appeared on its way, but the Rams scored two goals in the final two minutes to even the score.

Late in the second period, senior captain Sean Allen’s power play goal put the Rangers back in front, then McDuffie, who had two goals in the regular season, completed a hat trick to make it 4-2 heading for the third period.


But there, Gorham turned the game on its ear, getting a goal from junior Jacob Shvets midway through, then tying the score on a goal from senior Cole Allen at 10:41 before taking the lead on a goal from senior captain Corliss Ordway with just 1:52 left on the clock.

But after Greely pulled senior goalie Will Klein for an extra attacker, then took advantage of a Rams’ penalty to play 6-on-4, senior captain Cullen Rafford saved the day with a power play goal with just 22.6 seconds on the clock, forcing overtime.

And there, 4:10 in, senior Lucas Martin found the mark and gave the Rangers a palpitating 6-5 victory.

Greely improved to 13-6, ended Gorham’s season at 9-9-1 and in the process, advanced to Saturday’s semifinal round to take on either No. 1 Cheverus/Yarmouth (14-2-2) or No. 8 Mt. Ararat (1-16-1) at Troubh Ice Arena in Portland at a time to be announced.

“I’m very proud of these guys,” said longtime Rangers coach Barry Mothes. “It was a great environment with a great crowd, a home playoff game. We kept our focus and our composure and found a way and that’s what you have to do this time of year.”

Back-and-forth we go


After Greely missed the playoffs a year ago, the Rangers returned to form this winter, starting 5-0 and boasting a record of 10-2 before dropping four of their final six, including the last two.

Regardless, Greely wound up fourth in the region and drew Gorham in the quarterfinals.

The Rams started 3-0 and closed with successive victories, but in-between, went just 4-8-1.

The Rangers won both regular season meetings, 4-1 Feb. 10 in Gorham and 2-1 at home five days later. Senior captain Charlie Moore had two goals in the first victory and Sean Allen had two assists in the second win.

Greely won two of the three prior playoff meetings: 10-1 in the 2019 semifinals and 7-1 in the 2020 semifinals (Gorham beat the Rangers, 4-2, in the 2014 regional final).

Tuesday, Greely appeared to have the game won on a couple of occasions, then appeared doomed before coming on strong at the last possible moment to extend its season in epic fashion.


Gorham’s Levi Wagner flips the puck up the ice as Greely’s Coben Donnelly moves in during the Rangers’ 6-5 victory in Tuesday’s Class B South quarterfinal. Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Portland Press Herald photos

The Rangers came out flying and only needed 36 seconds to break the ice, as Moore collected a loose puck and set up McDuffie for a 1-0 lead. Sophomore Coben Donnelly was also credited with an assist.

After Moore and McDuffie were denied by Rams senior goalie and captain Dayton Crockett, Greely doubled its lead at 7:15 of the first period, as Moore found McDuffie waiting in front and McDuffie buried the puck to make it 2-0.

Gorham then came to life and looked to get on the board, but Greely senior goalie Will Klein saved shots from sophomore Connor Rounds, Shvets and sophomore Andrew Collins.

But at 13:02, dynamic freshman Landan Anctil took a pass from Ordway and fired a shot which Klein got a piece of, but not enough of and it got behind the goalie and slid across the line to cut the deficit in half.

Just 51 seconds later, the Rams drew even, as Ordway had a shot saved by Klein, but Cole Allen tucked in the rebound.

Anctil nearly put Gorham in front with 48 seconds left, but Klein made the save and the contest went to the first intermission deadlocked, 2-2.


The Rangers went on the power play at 5:40 of the second period and hoped to go on top, but Crockett denied Martin.

At the other end, Klein kept the game tied by saving shots from Anctil, Collins and sophomore Levi Wagner on the rebound.

Greely got another power play opportunity at 13:34 and this time, needed just four seconds to convert, as Sean Allen got the puck from Moore and ripped a shot past Crockett’s glove and in.

The Rangers weren’t done, as a mere 16 seconds later, Moore had a shot saved by Crockett, but McDuffie buried the rebound to complete the hat trick and make it 4-2.

Greely’s Ezra McDuffie celebrates after completing his hat trick late in the second period.

A wild third period then ensued, as four goals were scored, but nothing was resolved.

After preserving the lead by saving shots from Ordway and Anctil, Klein had no answer for Shvets, whose shot from the blue line got through at 7:20 (Wagner got an assist), making the score 4-3.


At 10:41, the Rams forged a tie for the second time, as senior Bode Bragdon flicked the puck up the right side, Anctil skated it down, then crossed to Cole Allen, who finished.

Gorham then took the lead, as Anctil got the puck to Ordway, who beat Klein with a one-timer to the far post and just like, with only 1:52 remaining, the Rams were on the brink of advancing.

But Greely refused to buckle.

After Mothes pulled Klein for an extra attacker with 1:33 on the clock, Rafford missed just wide, then Crockett saved a shot from Sean Allen in traffic, but with 36.8 seconds left, Bragdon was sent to the penalty box for roughing and the Rangers got to play 6-on-4.

And capitalized.

With 22.6 seconds to go, Moore won the puck to Rafford, who fired a shot through traffic from just inside the blue line and it found the mark to tie the score, 5-5.


“We weren’t about to let our season end that way,” said Rafford. “Charlie won the faceoff and I got it up top. I hesitated a second and found my lane. I ripped it and it went in. There was traffic in front and the goalie couldn’t see it. It felt good.”

“There’s a lot of resiliency with this group,” said Moore, who finished with five assists on the night. “We knew what we had to do and we had to get the job done.”

“We had some games earlier in the year when we scored with the goalie pulled late,” added Mothes. “It’s been awhile since we’ve had to do that. Obviously, there couldn’t have been a more important time to keep our composure and try to execute when the odds were against us. The six guys who were out there had a very strong shift. That was a huge goal by Cullen.”

Neither team could manage a shot in regulation and after a five-minute break, the contest would be decided in an eight-minute, “sudden victory” overtime session.

Gorham had the first bid to end it, but Ordway’s shot was turned aside by Klein.

At the other end, Crockett saved a shot from Martin.


After Collins missed just high, Greely nearly won it when Moore got the puck to Rafford for a similar shot to the one he converted late in regulation, but this time, Crockett made the stop.

The Rangers’ next bid would find the mark, however.

After the Rams were unable to clear the zone, the puck came to Martin on the right side. With Moore crashing the net, Martin sent the puck in and somehow, it got through Crockett.

“The game plan was to get pucks on net,” Martin said. “We were cycling a lot of pucks and turning it over. I knew I needed to shoot. I heard my (assistant) coach, Brad Leighton, say, ‘Shoot the puck.’ I saw the goalie wasn’t hugging the near post and that’s where I put it.”

“Shooters are going to shoot and Lucas put it in,” Rafford said. “That’s what we’ve worked all season for.”

“I had a good net drive and Lucas Martin put it on the net and you have to get those dirty goals,” Moore said.


“I thought we pressured the puck well in overtime,” Mothes added. “We got a little more aggressive on our forecheck and turned a few pucks over and it led to some chances.”

Greely players and fans rejoice following Lucas Martin’s game-winner. Courtesy Derek Soule.

At 9:07 p.m., Greely was able to celebrate its 6-5 victory.

“I got crushed, but it’s a good feeling after you score the winning goal in a playoff game,” Martin said. “It was great. Since I started playing hockey in sixth grade, I dreamed of this and I got it done. We never had any doubt. We have a sign that we hit coming out of the locker room that says, ‘We believe.’ It came down to belief and we executed. We felt like had the momentum going to overtime.”

“We had no doubt,” Moore said. “We had the right guys on the ice, the right guys on the bench and the right coaches.”

“It kind of feels surreal,” said Rafford. “The momentum swings, I didn’t see that, but we battled back.”

“I’m really happy for the team to hang in there,” added Mothes. “There were a lot of momentum swings in this game. We’ve had three really close games with these guys. It’s an awful way to lose, but I congratulate Gorham and their players and coaches. They fought back several times. They’re a team that’s a lot like us. They have some dangerous players. We’ve had some really close battles. Fortunately, we were able to find one more goal tonight. The other games were very low scoring and this was kind of a Wild West shootout tonight.”


Greely finished with a 27-18 advantage in shots on goal and got 13 saves from Klein.

Crockett stopped 21 shots for the Rams.

“We’ve got some really good players here,” Gorham coach Sean Sullivan said. “They battled hard and fought all the way to the end. I told them, there’s nothing to hang your head about, battling back like that twice.”

Next round

Greely split with Cheverus/Yarmouth this season, winning on the road (2-1) back on Dec. 16 and losing at home (5-2) in the regular season finale last Wednesday. The Rangers haven’t met Cheverus/Yarmouth in the playoffs since it became a co-op program in 2020.

Greely swept Mt. Ararat, winning 3-2 on the road Dec. 11 and 7-1 at home Jan. 27. The teams have no playoff history.


While the Rangers expect to see Cheverus/Yarmouth, they’ll be ready for any challenge the next time out.

“We beat (Cheverus/Yarmouth) once and we lost to them once and we’ll lay everything out there,” said Rafford.

“We’ll be ready to go,” Martin said. “We got our mojo back. We have players who are dedicated to winning. We’ll embrace that underdog mentality and we’ll play to win.”

“We won’t back down to any fight,” Moore said. “We know we can beat any team in the league. We just have to play smart and do our job.”

“I’m really excited to keep our season alive and have a few more days of practices,” Mothes added. “It’s exciting to keep our gear in the locker room and give it one more crack. This is why you play. We’re happy to have an opportunity to play one more game.”

Press Herald staff writer Travis Lazarczyk contributed to this story.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. For game updates and links to game stories, follow him on Threads: @foresports2023

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