Greely foils Camden Hills 3-2 in Western Class B semifinalsNo. 3 Rangers stop No. 2 Windjammers again in regional playoffs
Lewiston — It often is said that it is not the way a team starts, but the way it finishes a game that often separates the squad that moves on in the postseason, and the one that falls in its final game.
While that typically is true, the Friday night, Feb. 28 Western Class B semifinal playoff game between No. 2 Camden Hills and No. 3 Greely of Cumberland at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee appeared to the exception to that rule.
The Rangers stormed out of the gate and scored twice in the game’s first 2:30 and held off the stingy Windjammers over the final two periods to pick up a 3-2 high school boys ice hockey victory.
It was the second straight season Greely eliminated Camden Hills from the postseason. Last year, the Rangers picked up an 8-1 win over the Windjammers in the Western Class B title game at the same venue.
This year, the Windjammers, who started the campaign 9-0-1 and were ranked first in the region for a large portion of the season, finished 15-5-1 overall, including the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B championship, while Greely improved to 10-7-3.
In a regular-season game this winter, Camden Hills also lost to Greely 7-2.
On Friday night, Grayson Szumilas had a goal and an assist for Camden Hills, while Parker Lawson added a goal and Simon Lydon and Jack Orne, each one assist.
Tommy Thompson scored twice for Greely, while Aidan Black also lit the lamp for the Rangers. Reid Howland, John Wright and Nick Ray had assists in the win.
Greely will play No. 1 Gorham (16-3), which beat No. 5 Kennebunk (11-8-1) 1-0 in the semifinals, on Wednesday, March 5 at 7 p.m. in the Colisee for the Western Class B championship game.
On Friday, Greely led 2-0 after the first period and 3-2 after two periods, with both squads going scoreless over the final 15 minutes of regulation.
Zach Hand minded the net for Camden Hills, while Kyle Kramlich played between the pipes for Greely. Handed made 18 saves for the 'Jammers and Kramlich 20 for the Rangers.
Camden Hills committed four minor penalties for eight minutes, while Greely committed two minor penalties for four minutes.
One of those Windjammer penalties came a mere 25 seconds into the contest when Lawson was called for hooking, which gave the Rangers a power-play opportunity.
Seconds later, with 14 minutes left in the period, Thompson received a pass from Wright and beat Hand for the game’s first goal.
The puck continued to bounce Greely’s way seconds later at the 12:47-mark when a shot by Black trickled up the front of Hand and down his back and into the net for the game’s second score.
“We knew there was still plenty of hockey so on the bench we were just trying to encourage the guys to stay with it and chip away at it,” said veteran Windjammer coach Karl Enroth. “One shift at a time, one goal at a time. And we did. We won the second period and we were there at time in the third. That Greely team's a gritty bunch.”
Enroth said the Rangers do not have “the offensive firepower they've had in year's past,” but they know how to do the little things that are needed to win playoff games.
“They collapsed down low to help their goalie so it's hard to get pucks through [to the net],” Enroth said.
Despite that, the Windjammers settled in over the remainder of the first period, but could not get on the board.
Orne received a pass from a teammate later in the period on a possible Windjammer scoring opportunity, but the stick, likely partially fractured on an earlier play, snapped in the senior forward’s hands, thus preventing the Windjammers from a shot on goal.
Szumilas got Camden Hills on the board early in the second period with 14:05 remaining to cut the Windjammer deficit to 2-1, but Greely quickly responded seconds later on Thompson’s second goal of the game.
The higher seed again cut into its deficit, this time on the power play, with time winding down in the second period as Lawson popped the puck five-hole through Kramlich’s legs with 2:23 left.
Both teams received third-period power plays, but neither could capitalize down the stretch. The Windjammers were 1-of-2 (50 percent) in power-play opportunities and the Rangers 1-of-4 (25 percent).
The Windjammer pulled Hand from the goal for an extra attacker with 35 seconds left, but Greely's defense neutralized any chance of a late Camden Hills tying goal.
Camden Hills outshot Greely 22-21 on the night. The Windjammers also led 8-7 in shots after the first period and 17-15 after two periods.
Enroth said that Hand, who won the goalie job from teammates Jet Magri late in the regular season, made several big saves throughout the game to help keep Camden Hills in the contest.
Earlier in the regional playoffs, Camden Hills beat No. 7 Maranacook/Winthrop 8-3 and Greely downed No. 6 Cape Elizabeth 5-2, both in the quarterfinals.
The Windjammers outscored opponents 124-55 in 21 games this winter.
Enroth mentioned his seniors and how difficult they will be to replace next season, including Orne, Szumilas and Lawson, the team's tri-captains.
“They've really put our hockey program on the map in terms of where it needs to be,” Enroth said. “Not just from a competitive standpoint, but our team culture. Creating that unity in the locker room [and] doing all the things not only on the ice but off the ice to bring guys together. So it will be up to our returning players to carry that forward.”
The trio, along with seniors Nicholas Bennett and Sean Beacham, "have each given [a piece] of themselves to put this hockey program on the map and create a strong culture of family and teamwork."
The individual scoring from Friday's semifinal included:
Greely 1-0 at 14:00, power-play goal — Thompson (assist Wright). Thompson received a pass from John Wright on the right board side, Thompson shot from the right of the faceoff circle.
Greely 2-0 at 12:47, goal — Black (Ray assist). Black scored from along the right goal line.
CH 2-1 at 14:05, goal — Szumilas (assist Simon Lydon). Szumilas shot from the left slot.
Greely 3-1 at 12:37, goal — Thompson (assist Howland). Thompson skated hard down the left wing, gained separation from a defenseman and placed a hard, accurate shot past Hand from the left faceoff circle.
CH 3-2 at 2:06, power-play goal — Lawson (assists Orne, Szumilas). Orne and Szumilas moved the puck to Lawson on the right flank. Lawson skated toward the Greely net and fired a low hard shot through the five hole of Kramlich.