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Gardner 5, Hudson 3: Gardner skates to CMass title

Sport:   Posted: March 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Gardner 5, Hudson 3: Gardner skates to CMass title
By Matt Porter
Globe Correspondent / March 9, 2008

WORCESTER - Heading into the second period, Gardner and Hudson were even. Each team put 12 shots on net in the first, and each team converted twice. As the Zamboni circled the ice at the DCU Center, both teams had a equal shot at winning the CMass title.

But Gardner came out flying in the second stanza, battering Hudson with three goals on five shots, leading to a 5-3 win and its second-consecutive CMass title.

"If you want to [teach] someone how to play, you look at the tape of the second period. They did everything by the book," said Gardner coach Jean-Guy Gagnon, whose team got second-period goals from Tyrone Notice, Damian Blodgett, and Andrew Johnson.

Though buoyed by a hat trick from senior Jon Gould, the Hawks gave Gardner too much space to execute.

The Wildcats will play the winner of today's WMass final between Westfield and Longmeadow Thursday at the DCU Center.

"I'm proud to be a part of this team," said Gagnon. "They don't expect to lose."

MIAA Division 2 North hockey final: Wilmington 4, Tewksbury 3 (SO)

Sport:   Posted: March 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

MIAA Division 2 North hockey final | Wilmington 4, Tewksbury 3 (SO)
 
Hair-raising victory for Cabral, Wildcats
By Emily Werchadlo
Globe Correspondent / March 9, 2008

BILLERICA - Wilmington's blond ambition will continue.

Sporting high school hockey's worst dye job, the top-seeded Wildcats upended Tewksbury, 4-3, last night at Chelmsford Forum, winning a shootout, 2-1. With the Division 2 North title in hand, Wilmington (17-2-4) will play for the state title next Sunday at TD Banknorth Garden against the winner of today's South final between Franklin and Sandwich.

"Incredible. I couldn't even breathe at one point," said Wilmington coach Stephen Scanlon. "We made history tonight."

After making more than 40 saves in regulation and overtime, Wilmington senior Michael Cabral stymied the Redmen on four of five shootout attempts. Wildcat senior Eric Siegel scored the winning goal in the shootout.

"I tried to visualize what they were going to do," said Cabral. "As soon as the last shot hit my glove, I was ecstatic."

Tewksbury (17-4-3) struck first, four minutes into the contest. Marc Legere fed Mike Taylor, who flicked it in past Cabral. Five minutes later, the Redmen struck again. On a two-on-one, Paul Tosto set up Scott Capraro's goal.

"We struggled with their speed early in the game," said Scanlon.

That goal woke up the Wildcats, who scored seconds later when Siegel's rebound was converted by Ernie Mello.

The Redmen outshot Wilmington, 21-7, in the first period.

The Wildcats had just four shots in the second period but scored on two to take a 3-2 lead.

Nine minutes in, Siegel beat Tewksbury's Joshua Siberberg for a shorthanded goal. Siegel then led a three-on-two, rushing nearly to the end boards before feeding it back to Mello for the goal that gave the Wildcats a 3-2 lead.

Tewksbury tied it at 4:04 in the third period on Tosto's goal. Despite great opportunities by both sides, the score remained tied at 3, and the game went into overtime.

Overtime yielded a lot of chances but no payoffs, leading to the shootout and Wilmington's first sectional hockey title.

"It's a dream come true for all of us," said Scanlon. "For any kid who's ever put on a sweater in Wilmington, [a win Sunday] will be for them."

Maine Sunday Telegram All-State wrestling team

Sport:   Posted: March 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Maine Sunday Telegram All-State wrestling team

By PAUL BETIT, Staff Writer March 9, 2008

Carlin Dubay

Caribou, senior

Weight: 103

Highlights: Unbeaten against in-state
competition for the past three seasons, Dubay captured his third
consecutive Class B state championship. "He's improved since he
was a freshman," Caribou Coach Todd Albert said. "What
impressed me is he got better this year on his feet. He's always
been a good leg wrestler, and this season he added something
else."

Matt Del Gallo

Gardiner, sophomore

Weight: 112

Highlights: Del Gallo has compiled a 70-0 record
against in-state competition during his first two varsity seasons,
and he captured his first Class A title after winning the Class B
championships at the same weight as a freshman. "He's real-laid
back for a sophomore," Gardiner Coach Matt Hanley said. "He's
still learning and not afraid to try something new."

Chris Smith

Deering, senior

Weight: 119

Highlights: Smith went 44-0 to capture the Class
A championship at 119 pounds, becoming one of 10 Maine
wrestlers all-time to win four state titles. "His work ethic's
exceptional," Deering Coach Al Kirk said. "His love for the sport
is one of the best I've seen in my 40 years of coaching."

Zachary Clarke

Sanford, junior

Weight: 125

Highlights: After finishing as runner-up at 125 a
year ago, Clarke went 27-4 and won his first Class A title. "He's
a very hard-working and very determined wrestler," Sanford
Coach John Caramihalis said. "He pushes himself in practice and
tries to wrestle aggressively the whole match."

Sam Webber

Mt. Blue, senior

Weight: 130

Highlights: Compiling an overall record of 42-3,
Webber claimed his second consecutive Class A state title after
moving up one weight class. "What makes him the wrestler he is
is he's able to adapt to any situation," Mt. Blue Coach Bob
O'Connor said. "He hates to lose and he does not like being put
on his back."

Cinjin Goeway

Maine Central Institute, senior

Weight: 135

Highlights: Posting a school-record 111 wins for
his career, Goeway went 37-2 in his final season to capture his
first Class B state championship. "He is an exceptional wrestler
who has competed against the best all four years," MCI Coach
Mike Libby said. "He hasn't won those big matches in the past,
and this year he came through and won those big matches."p>

Joey Eon

Massabesic, junior

Weight: 140

Highlights: Unbeaten against in-state
competition, Eon compiled a 40-2 record to win his third Class
A state title at 140 pounds. "He approaches everything full
steam," Massabesic Coach Rick Derosier said. "There's no
stopping. When he's ready to go, he's ready to go. He's very
intense on the mat.'

Jon Smith

Dirigo, senior

Weight: 145

Highlights: Unbeaten while wrestling against in-
state competition his last two seasons, Smith went 153-15 while
winning three consecutive Class C state championships. "He
destroyed every single record we had here at the school," Dirigo
Coach Doug Gilbert said. "On the mat he is unrelenting."

Steve Martin

Bonny Eagle, sophomore

Weight: 152

Highlights: Martin posted a 36-1 record to
capture his first Class A state title after finishing third at 152
pounds as a freshman. "He's a true wrestler, self-motivated and
very passionate," Bonny Eagle Coach Brooks Clark said. "He plays
football, too, but this is what he loves to do."

Jon Hussey

Marshwood, senior

Weight: 160

Highlights: Hussey compiled a 184-0 record
against in-state competition in four seasons to become one of
10 wrestlers in Maine history to win four state championships.
"He has had so many things to overcome this year, and he's
really stepped it up this year," Marshwood Coach Matt Rix said.
"He really came through as a leader."

Josh Eon

Massabesic, senior

Weight: 171

Highlights: While going unbeaten against in-
state competition, Eon went 36-2 to capture his third
consecutive Class A state title at 171 pounds. "When he wrestles,
he doesn't show emotion," Massabesic Coach Rick Derosier said.
"He just gets out there, and he just starts wrestling. He does
exactly what he has to do."

Travis Spencer

Belfast, junior

Weight: 189

Highlights: After winning a Class B title at 160
pounds, Spencer has won two titles at 189. "He's exceptionally
quick for his size," Belfast Coach Teddy Heroux said. "His skill
level has got to be as high as any wrestler in the state."

Raistlin Delisle

Kennebunk, senior

Weight: 215

Highlights: Despite missing the first five weeks
of the season with a torn hamstring, Delisle went 25-0 to
capture his first Class A state championship. "Raistlin is a unique
person," Kennebunk Coach Josh Stone said. "He looks at a lot of
tapes from his matches and looks where he can correct
mistakes."

Nate Lavallee

Cape Elizabeth, junior

Weight: 285

Highlights: Lavallee, who trains with the
Scarborough team because Cape Elizabeth doesn't have a
wrestling team, went 33-1 while winning his second consecutive
Class A championship. "Nate is an exceptionally hard worker."
Scarborough Coach Phil Hamilton said. "When he makes up his
mind on a goal, he does everything he can to achieve that
goal."

Coach of the Year

Teddy Heroux

Belfast

Highlights: The Lions captured their first Class B
state title in 13 years. It was the squad's seventh state
championship under Heroux, who has been the wrestling coach
at Belfast for all but three years since 1965. "I'm kind of a
happy-go-lucky guy," he said. "I don't take it too hard when my
kids lose a match. We just try to build on it and improve their
skills. I never yell at a kid. I never put a kid down."

Honorable Mention

# Kote Aldus, Belfast, sophomore, 160
# Mike Rollerson, Belfast, senior, 171
# Jacob Berry, Camden Hills, senior, 145
# Murphy McGowan, Camden Hills, senior, 130
# Derek Daley, Dirigo, senior, 135
# Jerod Rideout, Foxcroft Academy, senior, 160
# P.J. Richards, Hermon, senior, 215
# Forrest Cornell, Lisbon, freshman, 103
# Marcus Bubar, Lisbon, sophomore, 140
# D.J. Brackett, Morse, junior, 103
# Zach Chandler, Mt. Ararat, junior, 189
# Peter Bronder, Noble, junior, 145
# Mark Richardson, Noble, junior, 135
# Billy Gauthier, York, sophomore, 125


How We Did It

The Maine Sunday Telegram All-State wrestling team was
selected based on results in the state meets, with input from
coaches around the state.

New England title completed memorable year

Sport:   Posted: March 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

New England title completed memorable year
Carlin Dubay of Caribou became the first Maine wrestler to go undefeated, winning all 54 matches.

By PAUL BETIT, Staff Writer


Carlin Dubay of Caribou lost eight times as a freshman, but only four more times through his final three seasons, and none as a senior, including a New England title

When Carlin Dubay of Caribou scored a 12-6 decision against Cam Sullivan, the New Hampshire champion, in the final of the 103-pound class at last weekend's New England wrestling tournament in Lowell, Mass., he capped a remarkable season.

Not only did Dubay become only the fifth Maine wrestler to win a New England championship since Maine returned to the competition 10 years ago following a 20-year hiatus, but he also became the lone Maine wrestler to finish the season with a totally unblemished record.

A three-time Class B state champion at 103, the lightest of the 14 weight classes in high school wrestling, Dubay is the first Caribou wrestler to amass more than 100 wins during his career. He set the bar high for the Vikings. Dubay finished with a 162-12 record, with eight of those losses during his first varsity season as a freshman.

Dubay, who won all 54 of his matches during his final high school season, is the Maine Sunday Telegram/Portland Press Herald's most valuable wrestler.

"Winning in wrestling was just an unbelievable feeling, more than in other sports, especially in the states and New Englands," Dubay said. "Unlike other sports you don't really have to rely on anybody else. I like that aspect of just nobody else but me."

However, Dubay is more than a little guy who has found his athletic niche in wrestling. He prides himself on being a well-rounded athlete.

Dubay played fullback for the Caribou soccer team and has competed in track and field in the sprints and jumps. Last spring he added the pole vault to his repertoire, and has a personal best of 10 feet, 6 inches in the event.

"I'm an all-around athlete and I like to challenge myself with different sports," he said.

"I loved wrestling right off and I was good at it, so I kept doing it."

Dubay was introduced to wrestling in the sixth grade and competed as a 69-pounder in his three seasons in middle school.

"He's always been small, quick and smart," Caribou Coach Todd Albert said. "If you're not a big guy, you have to be quick and smart to make up for it, and tough."

Dubay may have been at his toughest during the New Englands, where he dominated his four opponents on the way to his title.

"In two of the matches he was taken down but he came back with reversals, putting kids on their backs," Albert said. "He had kids on their backs on all four of his matches."

Dubay's strengths on the mat are easy to spot.

"He has good balance, good quickness and he reacts well, and he doesn't like to lose," Albert said. "He's not a good loser, so he tries not to."

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 386-0346 or at:
pbetit@pressherald.com

Polar Bears wilt against Brandeis' defensive pressure

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: March 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Polar Bears wilt against Brandeis' defensive pressure
The Bowdoin men make a run early in the second half before getting ousted in the NCAA tournament.

By MIKE LOWE, Staff Writer March 9, 2008

WALTHAM, Mass. — The greatest men's basketball season in Bowdoin history ended Saturday night as the Polar Bears succumbed to the high-pressure defense of Brandeis in the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament.

Brandeis opened a 13-point halftime lead, then withstood a second-half rally by the Polar Bears for a 68-53 win at Red Auerbach Arena.

Bowdoin (22-7) opened the second half with a 16-2 run to take its only lead of the game with 13:10 remaining, but Brandeis responded with an 8-0 run to regain control.

"They're much more physical," said Bowdoin senior forward Andrew Sargeantson. "Brandeis was able to take us out of our game."

Bowdoin, which hit 55 percent of its shots in a first-round win over Curry, hit only 42 percent against the Judges. And after hitting 13 3-pointers in the first round, Bowdoin took just nine against Brandeis' physical perimeter defense, hitting two.

Still, the margin of victory didn't reflect how close this game was in the second half.

Bowdoin, trailing 35-22 at halftime, put both 6-foot-6 Jordan Fliegel and 6-6 Mark Phillips in the lineup together, and the Polar Bears responded with a stunning 16-2 run. Fliegel had six points and Phillips four in the run. Phillips' spinning layup along the left baseline with 13:10 remaining gave the Polar Bears their only lead, 38-37.

That was when Brandeis Coach Brian Meehan finally called a timeout.

"I'm stubborn," he said. "I'm not big into taking timeouts. Teams are going to make runs and sometimes you have to test your guys and see how they come through."

After the timeout, Bowdoin didn't score again for nearly four minutes. The Judges (22-5) went ahead on two foul shots by Florian Rexhepi with 11:58 left. Then Rich Magee intercepted a pass at midcourt, leading to a basket as he took a backdoor pass from Terrell Hollins.

Magee then stole another pass and went the length of the court for a layup that made it 43-38. Bowdoin Coach Tim Gilbride called a timeout, but immediately afterward Rexhepi stole a pass, leading to two foul shots by Stephen Hill and a 45-38 lead with 10:40 left.

"They're a very, very, very good team," said Gilbride. "We had to work extremely hard after getting ourselves into a hole like that to get ourselves back into the game, and I thought it was an amazing start to the second half that really showed the character of our team.

"But you knew at some point it would stop and they would get a few baskets and get things back going again. Unfortunately for us, when that happened they got a couple of easy baskets. We kind of broke down twice in a row and gave them easy baskets to stop our run."

Joe Coppens (14 points) and Kevin Olson (15) hit back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 53-42.

Andrew Hippert (10 points) responded with a 3-pointer for Bowdoin, but Brandeis got a three-point play from Hollins and another 3-pointer from Coppens to lead 61-47 with 3:57 left.

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: mlowe@pressherald.com

Bowdoin ousted from tournament on late 3-pointer

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: March 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Bowdoin ousted from tournament on late 3-pointer
Amherst overcomes a 43-35 second-half deficit and edges the Bowdoin women in the NCAAs.
 
By KEVIN THOMAS, Staff Writer March 9, 2008

BRIDGEWATER, Mass. — The third time was a charmer.

Amherst slipped by Bowdoin 61-60 Saturday in the second round of the NCAA Division III women's basketball tournament at Bridgewater State College.

After splitting their first two meetings this season, the two schools from the New England Small College Athletic Conference battled back and forth before junior guard Yasmine Otieno hit the winner, swishing a 3-pointer with 51 seconds left to give Amherst a 61-58 lead.

Bowdoin (19-9) scored to pull within one and had two more chances, but one shot was blocked and another missed.

Amherst (27-2) advanced to the Round of 16 next weekend.

"You couldn't ask for anything better than this," said Amherst Coach G.P. Gramacki, describing the third and closest game between the teams.

Amherst's elusive 5-foot-6 senior guard, Shaina Pollack, scored 23 points, most coming on drives.

Alexa Kaubris paced Bowdoin with 14 points, Maria Noucas scored 12 and Colleen Sweeney added 10. Caitlin Hynes contributed nine points, six rebounds and three assists, and Jill Anelauskas had eight points and eight rebounds.

Bowdoin outshot Amherst 38 percent to 36, but the Lord Jeffs took advantage of 16 offensive rebounds and had 64 shots to Bowdoin's 39.

"They have size on us," Pemper said. "They're athletic and that makes it tough," she said. "But we haven't really outrebounded anyone all year. We focus on things we have more control of."

Bowdoin shot 47 percent in the first half to take a 36-32 lead. The Polar Bears upped their advantage to 43-35 early in the second half, but the Lord Jeffs rallied and took a 54-50 lead with 7:13 left.

"There was a stretch in the second half where we didn't play as tough as we could have," Pemper said. "Someone needed to make a play."

Kaubris said "(Amherst) picked up the pressure, but we did well to keep our composure."

Bowdoin tied the score three times, the last on two free throws by Noucas with 1:16 left.

When Amherst went on offense, Bowdoin covered the shooters, and Otieno, who averages three points a game, got the ball at the top of the key. She paused.

"I don't shoot that much," Otieno said. "But I was wide open."

Otieno sank it.

Anelauskas made a layup to pull the Polar Bears within 61-60 with 48 seconds left.

After an Amherst turnover, the 5-8 Kaubris drove into the lane, but 5-11 Anne-Claire Roesch was waiting to block the shot.

"I just played it straight up," said Roesch, who fouled Kaubris on a similar play two minutes earlier.

Amherst missed a free throw with nine seconds left, giving Bowdoin one more chance. Noucas hurried up the floor, drove to the key and launched a jumper. It bounced off the rim, and Amherst began to celebrate.

Bowdoin, which reached the Round of 16 the past seven years, exceeded expectations in a rebuilding year.

"The way we bounced back from last Saturday's loss (71-47 to Amherst in the NESCAC semifinals) to play this weekend was just awesome," said Pemper. I'm really proud of them."

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at:
kthomas@pressherald.com

The coach who understands the town, the team, the title

Sport: Hockey (Boys)  Posted: March 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

The coach who understands the town, the team, the title
Biddeford's Jamie Gagnon doesn't always get a lot of credit, but he should.

By STEVE SOLLOWAY March 9, 2008

LEWISTON — The black silk tie with the hand-painted orange tiger claws set off the black suit nicely. So did the orange Biddeford Tigers handerchief flopping out of the breast pocket.

Jeremy Grebin looked very cool. Acted very cool, too.

"I'm just laid-back," said Grebin, a black-and-orange baseball cap perched sidedways on his head. He smiled through a young man's beard.

"Coach understood me. He understands every player on his team. That's one reason why he's so good."

It's time for Jamie Gagnon to step out of the shadows cast by the older high school hockey coaches with more state titles and notoriety. Men like Norm Gagne, who brought a good Lewiston team back to the Colisee on Saturday night to play Gagnon's Biddeford team for a second straight year.

Biddeford beat Lewiston 4-1 to win the Class A hockey championship and finish a perfect season. No team beat the Tigers this year. In a city still known for its football success, hockey is coming.

A year ago, Grebin wore a black-and-orange hockey sweater with the block C for captain. A senior, he scored as Biddeford won the Class A title 4-2, denying Gagne his seventh championship in the twilight of his long career. Biddeford and its fans celebrated that victory, but Grebin, for one, wondered if Gagnon, 29, got enough credit.

"He changed the attitude," said Grebin. "His first year as varsity coach was my sophomore year. He got our respect right from the beginning. He talked to us."

And he wanted his players to talk to him. Each of them was another pair of eyes and Gagnon asked what they saw.

It didn't hurt that Gagnon was one of them, another Biddeford kid in a tough small city.

He could push Grebin's buttons by talking quietly, just as he could raise his voice and gesture to motivate or discipline.

"That's Jamie," said Brian Curit, the former Biddeford football coach. "He was a three-year starting lineman for me. He was 15 going on 30."

You know the saying. Coaches get too much credit when their team wins and too much blame when they lose. Now he's 2 for 2, and some still aren't quite sure what to make of him.

Gagnon doesn't seem to care. "What we've done, it's absolutely electrified a community," said Gagnon, standing on the ice after the championship trophy was presented. "Two different years, two different teams, each had their own personality and they're both my best teams."

Grebin's competitive hockey career ended with last year's state championship. He's 18, is a member of the work force and is thinking of buying a house with his older brother, who's in the Air Force. He also can't stop going to the Biddeford Ice Arena when the Tigers practice. Grebin joined Gagnon's staff as a volunteer assistant.

"I can't really let go," said Grebin. Behind him the Tigers dressed in their locker room before their pregame skate. Out in the arena, seats filled quickly, with fans arriving an hour before game time. When the puck dropped to start the game, it was standing-room only.

"I'm just another pair of eyes. I've been around these kids for four years, most of them. I talk to them. I listen, too.

"I came back because he helped me grow up."

In the frenzy to win, that's forgotten, sometimes too often.

"Maybe it's because I'm still close to them in age," said Gagnon. "I know each kid is unique. I believe the more you know your players, the better coach you'll be."

Step out of the shadows, Jamie Gagnon. Welcome to the spotlight.

Staff Writer Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at:
ssolloway@pressherald.com

Biddeford victory emblematic of population shift

Sport: Hockey (Boys)  Posted: March 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Biddeford victory emblematic of population shift

Sunday, March 9, 2008

LEWISTON - In this year of mixed reviews for unbeaten high school heavyweights, it would have been easy for a visitor to drop in from exile in Siberia and fail to correctly identify the slugger and the sparring partner Saturday night at Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

Twenty-three straight encore wins after it finally earned a place in the Class A history book, Biddeford High School played with the barely measurable pulse rate of a team that was given all the chance of Ron Paul in the Texas primary.

What, us worry? With everything to lose? In your arena? Phooey.

Biddeford shook off the persistent, underdog Lewiston Blue Devils, 4-1, with a late, simultaneous flourish and fade that made it Zamboni-water clear whom the pressure was on.

Wrongly.

The streak that triggered sweaty palms and butterflies on this evening wasn't the one in the black-and-orange column, but the one on the blue-and-white ledger.

This makes six consecutive seasons of state championship famine for the Devils. At a school that basically never goes seven years without one, in a city heavily populated by older fans who don't understand why it isn't as easy to win a title as it was when there were eight teams in the entire bloody state, that time frame might as well be the Paleozoic Era.

No shame in losing to Biddo. The better team nine-times-out-of-10 in a neutral arena survived this game. But I'll bet the home half of the overflow crowd is unconvinced that the better team at 6 p.m. on March 8 won it.

OK, so I see their point. Lewiston outshot, at times outhustled, and often outplayed Biddeford. The Devils simply were undone by the little mistakes that a tense, frustrated team commits, and the Tigers are a foe that will transform your molehills into mountains.

Biddeford scored on the power play. Biddeford struck short-handed. And Biddeford stuffed home a pair of 4-on-4 goals in the final two-and-a-half minutes after the Devils' spirit was broken.

That was all. And that was more than enough.

Boasting the best player on the ice by a bundle in Brian Dumoulin (he had a stick - no, make that a magic wand - in all four goals) and the experience of breaking the state championship glass ceiling here a year ago, Biddeford played with disarming calm.

Three 5-on-3 opportunities went awry for the Devils. Again, one came at the bitter end, after a thousand fair-weather locals left their only high school hockey game of the winter three minutes early.

Two were legit, though. And when the Blue Devils weren't fanning or fouling off agonizing opportunities at the goalmouth, Biddeford goalie Tony Dube was stealing the show like the Travis Roy Award winner he should be.

Dube saw plenty of reasons to panic, facing a baker's dozen shots at close range with the scoreboard reading 1-1 and 2-1 in the second period. He didn't.

Relative youngsters such as Tyler Audie and Derek Reny had an engraved invitation to lose their mind after multiple, early invitations to the penalty box. Not a chance.

Funny, this is what Lewiston, St. Dom's and Waterville used to do. One of the Big Three - for 60 years, with apologies to that Dixfield bunch Justin Pelletier and Bob McPhee so eloquently profiled last week, the Only Three - would tease some interloper for a period or two before dragging a blade through that team's dream.

Well, guess what, folks? The population and the power have shifted south, perhaps forever. And the skate is on the other foot.

Until the Maine Principals' Association reclassifies and redistricts high school hockey on the Twelfth of Never, we can look forward to schools from Cumberland and York counties hoisting that trophy over their collective head and adding crooked numbers to their growing championship banners.

Lewiston need not feel the specter of every ghost in this venerable rink or carry a torch for every school north of Exit 48. Shame on any of us who might have put that unspoken pressure on them.

These Blue Devil seniors - Matt Letourneau, Jon Roy, Jordan Bourgoin, Casey Poussard, Justin Nadeau, Andrew Marden and Alex Lafreniere - were 4-0 in Eastern Maine championship games in their career.

In this new hockey economy that too few of us are willing to accept, that's a hell of an accomplishment.

Kalle Oakes is a staff writer. His e-mail is koakes@sunjournal.com.

Power plays were Achilles' heel for Devils

Sport: Hockey (Boys)  Posted: March 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Power plays were Achilles' heel for Devils

By Randy Whitehouse , Staff Writer
Sunday, March 9, 2008

LEWISTON - The box score will read 0-for-10, but to the Lewiston Blue Devils, it won't tell the whole, painful truth.

Not only did the Devils not cash in on any 10 of their power plays in Saturday's Class A state championship against Biddeford, they went 0-for-3 with the two-man advantage, although one of those opportunities came in the final seconds, when the outcome was decided.

Lewiston's penalty kill was up to the task for much of the night, too. Aside from Trevor Fleurent's goal to tie the game at 1-1 midway through the first period, the Devils turned aside seven Biddeford power plays, including a pair of 5-on-3s.

That won't make the loss any easier to swallow. If anything, the bitter pill will go down harder because what proved to be the game-winning goal came on the fifth of Lewiston's 10 power plays.

With 1:08 remaining on Biddeford captain Shawn Grover's hooking penalty late in the second period, junior defenseman Brian Dumoulin cleared the puck out of his own end, then stalked Lewiston goalie Cam Poussard and one of Lewiston's point men, Matt Letourneau, to the right corner after Poussard placed the puck out in front. Dumoulin muscled it out and found Nick Reny all alone in front of the net for the goal that put the defending champions in front for good.

"I felt I could beat them to the net and their freshman goalie looked a little skitterish when playing the puck, so I charged at him and he got a little nervous and put the puck out hoping the defenseman would beat me to it," Dumoulin said. "I beat him to it and I got the puck in the corner and came out and there was Nick Reny coming right down the middle for me."

"I think Matty was a little tired," Lewiston coach Norm Gagne said. "He'd been out there awhile. Sometimes, you make those tired mistakes."

Reny came off the bench for a shift change sensing an opportunity might be developing.

"(Dumoulin) dumped it in and he just went through two guys, looked up and fed me. It was a great pass," Reny said.

Dumoulin's hustle and Reny's timing weren't the only reasons Biddeford ended up +1 in the short-handed column. Biddeford goalie Tony Dube (32 saves) turned aside about a dozen Lewiston power play shots.

"You know what, we have the best penalty kill in the league with some of the best defensemen," Dube said. "I can't ask any more than they gave me tonight."

Dube was on an island for the game's other key turning point, though. Lewiston's shot at short-handed redemption came early in the third, when it was trying to kill off Biddeford's second two-man advantage. Robbie Leeman had a breakaway bid knocked away at the near post by Dube's arm.

"I thought he had me, for sure," Dube said. "The last swipe of the arm saved me."

"That could have been the change in the whole game, right there," Gagne said. "Even though we didn't score, we killed the 5-on-3. When we killed that second 5-on-3, I thought we had the game."

CLASS B HOCKEY: Deja vu with a better ending for Raiders

Sport: Hockey (Boys)  Posted: March 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

CLASS B HOCKEY: Deja vu with a better ending for Raiders

LEWISTON -- It's so rare in life to get a second chance. Usually, and only after the fact, you'll know what you should have done differently, but that knowledge is all you'll get.

On opening night this season, the Winslow hockey team led Messalonskee by three with eight minutes left in the third period. In a game the Black Raiders would remember all season, Messalonskee won 4-3, scoring the winning goal with just 12 seconds left.

On Saturday at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee, Winslow played York in the Class B state championship game. Again, Winslow led by three well into the third period. Again, that lead disappeared, as York forced overtime with three goals in less than six minutes.

That overtime period was a second chance for the Raiders, and they buried it -- just like Nick Thorne buried the game-winning goal between the goalie's pads 3 minutes, 46 seconds into overtime for a 4-3 victory and Winslow's first state title since 2000.

Winslow coach Corey Lessard said the Messalonskee game never entered his mind. But as York scored with 6:20 to play and again with 4:48 left to pull within 3-2, the Winslow players thought back to that agonizing December night at Sukee Arena.

"I thought about that, actually," Winslow senior defenseman Derek Lizzotte said. "I was like, 'Oh my God. We're not going to blow it again, are we? We better not blow this again.'"

York pulled its goalie with 1:04 to play. The Wildcats got a faceoff in the Winslow end, and Devin Zucker scored to tie the game just 31.6 seconds from a Winslow victory.

"You cannot underestimate any team," said Winslow senior forward Sean Bourgeois, whose goal had given Winslow its seemingly safe 3-0 lead. "They came out hard. They fought. They put the puck in the net. We just had to react to it."

At this point, some York fans were jumping up and down in the stands, some were hugging, and the rest were doing both. For Winslow, it meant a second straight overtime game -- the Raiders knocked off Gardiner 5-4 in the Eastern B final -- against a fired-up team riding a huge wave of momentum.

"Those kids work so hard," Lessard said. "Yeah, the last two games, my hair's getting grayer and grayer. But I had a lot of confidence in those kids. I could see it in their eyes. They could have stopped and just let them jump all over us. But they went right back up."

The Raiders dominated the overtime, the one they didn't get to play back in December against Messalonskee. The Winslow players, especially the seniors, knew there were two possible outcomes -- win the state title, or begin and end their season by losing 3-0 leads.

"We set this goal at the beginning of the season," Thorne said. "All eight of us seniors didn't want to give up. So we sucked it up and got the job done."

Early in the overtime, York ominously had trouble clearing the puck out of its own zone. Jeffrey Browne kept the puck in twice, and Bourgeois ended up with it. Bourgeois passed to Lizzotte, who fed Thorne, and moments later the Raiders were celebrating.

"Sean passed to me, and then all I heard was out of my left ear Nick Thorne yell for the puck," Lizzotte said. "I looked over, passed it over. I didn't even see it from then. I saw it in the back of the net and just dropped. I couldn't even breathe. I was done."

Within a few seconds, every stick, glove and helmet belonging to a Winslow player was on the ice. The Raiders were in one big pile, a bunch of young men who will always believe in second chances.

"I thought we were just going to end up giving up, and York was going to take it in the overtime," Lizzotte said. "But we stuck with it. We actually outplayed them in the overtime, and we got that win."

Matt DiFilippo -- 861-9243

CLASS B HOCKEY: Winslow survives, wins in OT

Sport: Hockey (Boys)  Posted: March 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

CLASS B HOCKEY: Winslow survives, wins in OT
 
BY BILL STEWART

LEWISTON -- Sticks, helmets, shoulder pads, gloves and orange mouth pieces littered the ice from end to end. A hill of bodies piled up just inside the blue line on the quick Colisee ice, where moments earlier the Winslow hockey team transformed a monumental collapse into championship ecstasy.

Nick Thorne scored 3 minutes, 46 seconds into overtime to give the Black Raiders a blood-tingling 4-3 victory against York on Saturday for their 11th Class B state championship and first since 2000.

The goal sparked a wild celebration by the Winslow faithful, most draped in orange and black. Some sang. Some chanted. Some even danced. All exhaled, because in victory came not only euphoria but relief after York forced bonus time with three goals in the final 6:20, the last coming with 31 ticks left on the clock.

"I'll remember this for the rest of my life," said Thorne, one of eight seniors for Winslow.

Winslow senior captain Ben Grant, who after joining the pig pile embraced coach Corey Lessard at center ice, said he felt a lot of everything when a seemingly convincing victory was stripped away in the bedlam that was the final seven minutes of regulation.

"I was thrilled and I was scared," said Grant, who scored a goal and assisted on another. "Everything was going through my mind -- the best, the worst."

Thorne ended an entertaining, up-and-down game when he called for a pass from senior defenseman Derek Lizzotte from the high slot by the right faceoff circle. Lizzotte was going to shoot the puck, but Thorne called him off.

"I was coming down the slot and Derek heard me talking," he said. "He slipped me the puck and I put it through the goalie."

Sean Bourgeois, whose third-period goal gave the Raiders a 3-0 lead, set up the play when he came in wide and fed Lizzotte the puck.

"I spun around and gave it back to Derek," said Bourgeois, whose team reached the state title game with a 5-4 overtime victory against Gardiner in the Eastern B semifinals. "Derek was going to take the shot, but Thorne had the angle."

Lizzotte then dished the puck to Thorne, who had ample room to shoot.

"I was looking for the special shot," said Thorne. "It was a big relief off my shoulders."

York senior goalie Andrew Loane stopped 28 shots, but couldn't get to this one.

"There was a lot of pressure down low," he said. "(Thorne) made a nice shot. He beat me down low between the legs as I was coming across."

The Wildcats, who were making their first trip to a state championship game, fell behind 3-0 after Bourgeois blasted a high rocket past Loane on a mini breakaway with 2:22 left in the second period.

But York sprung to life in the third and began its comeback when senior captain defenseman Dan Powers scored a power-play goal with 6:20 left in regulation.

Then 1:42 later, Jake Posternak buried a shot past Winslow goalie Jesse Little (37 saves) to cut the lead to 3-2. With 31.6 seconds remaining and their goalie pulled for an extra attacker, the Wildcats capped the comeback when Devin Zucker tipped a Powers shot from the point past Little by the near post.

"It was an unreal feeling," Powers said. "In the third period we did exactly what we had to do."

"It was like a slap in the face for our seniors," added Thorne on York's scoring barrage. "But coach told us to keep our heads up."

Lessard said he knew York wouldn't go quietly.

"My biggest fear was that we got the lead and after that think we had it won," said Lessard, who won a state championship as a player for Winslow in 1991. "I just had to make sure we were relaxed."

The teams were playing their fourth game in three seasons, and the Raiders hadn't scored in the last two.

But that streak snapped like a rusted-out garage door cable when Grant took a centering pass from Chad Guptill and buried it past Loane to the blocker side with 5:41 left in the first.

Loubier set up the goal with a nice play at the right point to keep the puck in the York zone. After stopping the puck in the blue line, Loubier fired a shot on net that went wide into the corner.

Guptill collected the puck and centered it to Grant, who popped it into the open net.

The Raiders scored twice in the second on goals by Jeff Browne and Bourgeois to pull ahead 3-0.

Browne staked Winslow to a 2-0 lead with just under three minutes into the period when he stole the puck from a defenseman by the right boards, skated into the circle and wristed a low shot on Loane, who couldn't squeeze the puck with his pads.

Bourgeois capped the scoring with 2:22 left in the period. He took a pass behind his back from Nick Bourgoin at center ice, pulled the puck in front of him and then raced in on Loane untouched.

"The pass was behind me a little bit and I pulled it between my legs, went in, and wristed it top corner," said Bourgeois.

The Raiders didn't score again until Thorne sent them home as state champions.

"I won it 1991 as a player and I never thought I'd get that same feeling again," Lessard said. "But I feel it again tonight. They all told me after the game, 'Now I know what it feels like.' It's awesome."

Bill Stewart -- 623-3811, ext. 515

bstewart@centralmaine.com

Black Bears have some work to do

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: March 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Black Bears have some work to do

The University of Maine men's basketball season ended with a 73-65 overtime loss to Stony Brook in the first round of the America East tournament Friday night. For Black Bear fans, March Madness lasted just about two hours.

Maine closed the season with a 7-23 record, the team's worst record since it went 7-20 and finished last in the conference in 1997-98. We could pull our hair out and scream about the Black Bears' slide from mediocrity to obscurity all day if we wanted to, but we don't want to.

What we want is to see where this team needs to improve so that next season, March Madness takes more time than a long lunch break.

It's not hard to find reasons for the Black Bears' poor record. Maine is last in the league in turnover margin, coughing it up nearly four and a half times more per game than their opponents. Against Stony Brook, the Black Bears had 20 turnovers. The Sea Wolves had 13. That's 20 possessions that go nowhere.

Say Maine was able to keep turnovers to 15 on Friday. Then say the Black Bears score on just two of those extra five chances. Maybe they don't need a Mark Socoby 3-pointer to send the game to overtime. Maybe the Black Bears win the thing in regulation.

Speaking of 3-pointers, on Friday the Black Bears made 11, and that's something that possibly bodes well for next season. In a league that loves to chuck up 3-pointers, Maine made just more than five 3-pointers per game. Only Stony Brook made fewer, and the teams are tied for the worst 3-point percentage in America East at .328.

Maine went 11 for 29 from 3-point range Friday, just less than 38 percent. It's not much better than what the Black Bears shot all season, but we'll measure improvement in baby steps.

What Maine did well, or better, anyway, was rebound. Throughout the season, the Black Bears grabbed more boards than their opponents. They were third in offensive rebounds in the league, with 11.76 game.

Then again, Stony Brook was first in offensive rebounds with 13.11, so it looks like all the Black Bears and Sea Wolves did with their second chances was miss more shots.

The Maine bench scored as many points against Stony Brook as you scored sitting on your couch. Zero. None. The Black Bears had less depth than a Paris Hilton movie, and coach Ted Woodward juggled the lineup all season. Four reserves combined to play 29 minutes, with no points, four rebounds and two assists. Somebody has to be able to come off the bench and do more than take up space.

After shooting 42.3 percent from the field in the first half of Friday's game, Maine shot a paltry 26.1 percent in the second half (6 for 23). Three starters -- Mark Socoby, Sean McNally and Junior Bernal -- played 40 or more minutes in the game. Socoby played all 45.

Do you think fatigue had something to do with those missed shots?

The Black Bears were 1-10 in their last 11 games, including seven straight losses to end the season. They gave up at least 70 points in seven of last eight games. That sounds like a tired team, but maybe experience will keep the Black Bears from wearing down in the future.

Eight players started at least 11 games. Of those, only Valley graduate Brian Andre was a senior this season. Maine had six freshmen and three sophomores on the roster.

Two guys to look to as leaders next season are Socoby, who scored 30 points in Friday's loss, and Gardiner's McNally, who appeared to be coming into his own a little down the stretch.

The thing about young teams is, they don't stay young. You can chalk up one bad season to inexperience. The Black Bears could have much of the same cast back next season.

If they don't improve, you have to ask what changes, from players to coaching staff, need to be made.

Travis Lazarczyk -- 861-9242

Freshman goalie holds back Mules

Sport: Hockey (Boys)  Posted: March 9th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Freshman goalie holds back Mules

WATERVILLE -- Every few minutes, it seemed as if the Colby College men's ice hockey team was about to grab momentum from Trinity. Every few minutes, it seemed as if the Mules were on the verge of seizing control of the game and putting the Bantams squarely in the rearview mirror.

Thanks to Trinity freshman goalie Wes Vesprini, Colby was left grasping at momentum rather than riding it into the New England Small College Athletic Conference championship game.

Vesprini made 37 saves, including 15 in the third period, to lead Trinity to a 2-1 win against Colby at Alfond Rink.

The No. 6 Bantams (14-10-2) will face No. 2 Middlebury, which beat No. 4 Amherst 2-1, at 1 p.m. today in the final at Alfond Rink. Colby, the tournament's top seed, finished 15-9-1.

Vesprini stopped Colby's Mike Butler with just more than two minutes left in the game, then kept his pads on the ice to prevent a Josh Reber rebound try from going in with 1 minute, 37 seconds to play. Vesprini held off a Colby flurry with three seconds left before his teammates were able to clear the puck out of the zone.

"It was a tough game. Oh my God, Colby was pouring it on," said Vesprini, who also beat the Mules 2-1 on Feb. 15. "We had them the first five minutes, then they just kept pouring it on. The shots, I mean, I had to be on top of my game. And my defense played amazing."

Added Colby coach Jim Tortorella: "We had some tremendous Grade A chances. Give credit to (Vesprini). Their kid played extremely well in some tight situations."

After falling behind 2-0 in the first period, Tortorella thought his team did a good job of controlling play for much of the last two periods. Even as the Bantams bottled up play in the neutral zone, Colby was able to generate scoring chances.

"When they bottle it up, you've got to get it deep, and I thought when we got it deep we started to generate some offense," Tortorella said. "I thought the game had some tremendous momentum for us, but we couldn't get the momentum to a point of getting the goal.

"It's like a storm. It generates energy and grows and grows and grows ... we couldn't get to that point. We had it, it was growing, then all of a sudden we couldn't get that goal to make it happen."

Vesprini controlled the puck and limited Colby's second chance opportunities.

"I just wanted to be focused. I wasn't thinking too much about rebounds and stuff like that. If I'm focused, that takes care of itself," Vesprini said.

Trinity took a 1-0 lead 3:35 into the game when Adam Houli broke in on Colby goalie Cody McKinney (28 saves). Christopher Diozzi's power play goal at 13:59 of the first pushed Trinity's lead to 2-0.

The Mules got on the board with a Joe power play goal 4:53 into the second period. After Arthur Fritch misfired on a shot, he passed to Rothwell, who beat Vesprini with a high, hard shot from the point.

Travis Lazarczyk -- 861-9242

tlazarczyk@centralmaine.com

Bates, Reny deliver underdog Headers first-ever North title

Sport:   Posted: March 8th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Bates, Reny deliver underdog Headers first-ever North title
By Matt Williams
Staff writer

NORTH BILLERICA — If a picture is worth 1,000 words, the look on Marblehead senior Eric Fader's face as he hoisted the Division 3 North championship trophy might as well have been worth one million.

Simply put, one thousand words aren't enough to describe the joy Fader and the 12th-seeded Headers (14-10-0) felt when, against all odds, they dropped No. 2 Concord-Carlisle, 1-0, to win the first sectional title in school history at the Chelmsford Forum last night.

"This is something special, something that I've never felt in my life. Ever," said Fader, who dislocated his elbow in the second round against Boston Latin Academy. Though he didn't skate, a brace allowed the senior to don his No. 7 jersey and participate in warm-ups and the post-game celebration.

Andrew Bates broke a scoreless tie with 8:31 left in regulation when he hammered home a perfect pass from Chris Donahue. It was all the offense the Headers needed with junior goalie Aaron Reny (30 saves) holding the fort to earn his second straight shutout win.

"This is unbelievable," said Bates. "No one picked us to win anything and now we're North champs. It's a great feeling because our locker room has always been positive. It's awesome."

On the winner, Bates passed back to Donahue at the blue line and skated around the cage. Donahue fired towards the net and found Bates on the door step to complete a beautiful give-and-go behind C-C goalie Jon Nessa. Sophomore Anders Gunderson earned the second assist.

"Chris made an awesome pass. He just slid it right back to me and the goalie didn't even know what hit him," Bates said.

The Header defense was exemplary against a Concord-Carlisle team that came in having totaled 15 goals in their two tournament wins. Gunderson, who double-shifted as a center and defenseman, as well as Mike Cohn and Ben Koopman stayed with the fast and dangerous Patriot skaters and stopped them from cutting to the front of the net.

"Concord-Carlisle was scoring anywhere from four to seven goals in most of their games," said Marblehead coach Bobby Jackson. "We wanted to get them in uncharted waters a little bit because they hadn't been in many 0-0 games."

The strategy worked. Once the Headers went on top 1-0, the Patriots were frustrated and generated little offense aside from a P.J. Fulton bid that hit the post with 3:30 to play. The backchecking of centers Jackson Barber, Gunderson and Chris McLeod was instrumental in shutting down C-C.

"We have a system that does a lot with the third forward," explained Jackson. "He helps keep the opposing cycle deep and our three centers did a great job of picking up their third guy. That made a big difference."

Not to be forgotten was Reny, who stoned two breakaways in the third and made a highlight-reel glove save as time expired in the second. The junior — who Jackson called the Rock of Gibraltar after the tourney opening win over Swampscott — extended his personal shutout streak to an amazing 98:11.

"Aaron made some huge stops; he's been unbelievable the entire tournament," said Bates. "We're a great defensive hockey club and that's our number one goal. We're playing great hockey right now."

The Headers thought they had scored the game's first goal with 12:27 to go when McLeod's bid from the blue line appeared to sneak through Nessa's pads. The officials denied that the puck had crossed the line, though, despite adamant protest from the Marblehead bench.

"From our angle it looked like it was in. The referee was adamant that he was there and it didn't cross," said Jackson.

Thankfully for Marblehead, Bates' goal made it irrelevant and put the exclamation point on an incredible run through the Division 3 North bracket highlighted by 1-0 wins over the No. 1 (Trinity Catholic) and No. 2 (C-C) seeds.

"I always believed in us," Bates said of his underdog squad. "I always believed we could get there and stayed positive and everybody else believed in each other, too."

As the squad took the traditional victory lap around the Chelmsford Forum ice with the Div. 3 North hardware in tow, and Fader among them where he belonged, the team unity and trust that lifted them to these heights were obvious.

"I couldn't play but I knew I could help them get motivated and it felt great to hold up that trophy," said Fader. "I just told them that we have nothing to lose and we have to prove that we're champs. We did."

Mt. Alvernia can't handle Manchester-Essex trio

Sport:   Posted: March 8th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Mt. Alvernia can't handle Manchester-Essex trio
By Nick Curcuru
Correspondent

SALEM — Big players come to play in big games.

The saying may be a bit of a cliche, but for Manchester-Essex girls hoops players Danni Ciccone, Lizzy Ball and Elsa Keefe, it's indicative of their performance in the Hornets' 59-56 overtime win over Mt. Alvernia in the Division 4 North final.

Ciccone (22 points, 19 rebounds), Ball (20 points, 14 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals), and Keefe (13 points, 11 rebounds) took the game over in the second half. The trio accounted for all 16 of the Hornets' fourth quarter points. Ciccone and Ball would then compile all 10 overtime points for Manchester-Essex.

Ciccone had a particularly frustrating first half. The 6-foot center found herself double teamed by a tough Mustangs' front court, led by fellow 6-footer Mary O'Donnell. The Hornets' senior captain, however, made the second half adjustments needed and scored 19 of her 22 points after intermission.

"We were a little unlucky in the first half and we weren't getting many shots to fall," Ciccone said. "But in the second half we were able to regain our composure and everything started to come together."

Hornets head coach Lauren Dubois had nothing but praise for the trio, and expected them to come up big when the Hornets needed them most.

"Those girls have done so much for us all season," Dubois said. "They played so well tonight. They went above and beyond. They want this and they will do whatever it takes to get it."

The Hornets found themselves down 47-41 with 2:30 to play when Keefe made her presence felt. The junior forward then single-handedly led the Hornets on a 5-0 run to cut the deficit to one. Keefe also made a number of key offensive rebounds on missed Hornet free throws, and had nine of her 13 points in the fourth quarter.

"I don't even know what to say," said an elated Keefe about her late buckets. "I just threw the ball up and hoped it would go in. It's amazing."

Dubois wasn't surprised. According to the Manchester-Essex coach, making big shots has become part of Keefe's repertoire.

"She's worked so hard all year," Dubois said of Keefe. "That's her game, making big shots under pressure when they count most."

Not to be outdone, Ball, a freshman point guard, saved her best play for late in the game. After being visibly rattled in the first half, the 5-5 guard wanted the ball in every clutch situation. Ball hit a number of tough runners in the lane and got to the foul line regularly, attempting 20 free throws.

"I was rattled in the first half," Ball said. "But we wanted this so much more than they did and we came out and played our game in the second half."

Overall the Hornets' game plan was simple. They used Ciccone on the inside, and Ball to attack the basket to get Mt. Alvernia in foul trouble. Both O'Donnell and Mustangs' point guard Olivia Joyce fouled out in overtime. Combine that with the clutch shooting of Keefe, and you have a Division 4 North champion.

"We knew we had to get the ball to the hoop and get them in foul trouble, and we did," Dubois said. "It's amazing how far these girls have come. They play a great team brand of basketball. It's just great to be a part of it."
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