For two periods Saturday night at the Portland Ice Arena, the Camden Hills ice hockey team’s first appearance in the regional playoffs proved to be everything the Windjammers could have hoped for and perhaps more.

For 30 minutes, No. 2 Camden Hills (14-5) held a 1-0 lead and it appeared the Rockport-based school was on its way to a berth in the Western Class B championship game. However, in sports, momentum has a way of shifting in a hurry, sometimes so quickly a team may not even realize what happened.

That was perhaps the case for the Windjammers Saturday night as No. 2 Yarmouth (10-9)  scored three third-period goals — including one on an empty net — to nail down a 3-1 semifinal victory.

It was Camden Hills first trip to the playoffs in the program’s brief varsity history.

“We’re happy we made it this far,” said Windjammer coach Karl Enroth. “We weren’t satisfied just to make it, we wanted to win and move on. We knew it was going to be electric in here in a charged environment. There were times during the game where we might have played with a little bit of hesitation. Not the whole game, but there were times when [Yarmouth] was taking it to us.”

The hockey loss came one night after the school’s boys basketball team fell to Falmouth in overtime in the state Class B championship game at the Bangor Auditorium, meaning no Windjammer athletic team remains in state winter title contention.

Yarmouth will face top-seeded York (16-3) in the regional championship game on Wednesday, March 3 in Portland. The Wildcats defeated the No. 4 Greely of Cumberland (8-9-2) 3-2 in Saturday’s other semifinal game.

All Western Class B games will take place at the Portland Ice Arena. The state Class B championship game is set for Saturday, March 6 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston.

Camden Hills and Yarmouth split two regular-season games. Camden Hills opened the season with a 3-2 overtime loss to Yarmouth Dec. 5, before beating the Clippers 5-3 Jan. 27.

On Saturday, in front of a packed arena, Camden Hills scored early in the first period and Jacob Filderman’s fine play between the pipes kept the Windjammers ahead before the Clippers took control over the final 15 minutes.

Will Orne converted Henry Haselton’s assist just 1:38 into the first period to give Camden Hills a 1-0 lead it maintained until the third period. That is when Davis Brown scored two goals and added an assist for the Clippers.

Jory King tied the game 2:56 into the third period on assists from Eamon Costello and Brown. The goal came moments after the Windjammers had finished off a penalty kill, when Costello fired a pass from the red line to the other side of the net to King, who one-timed the puck past Filderman for the Clippers’ first goal.

“That happens a lot where they are spending so much energy to kill the penalty and sometimes you can’t get the reinforcements out there [quick enough],” said Enroth. “It happens quite a bit. That’s why you don’t want to take penalties because even if you kill it off, it can come back to haunt you.”

Brown broke the 1-1 deadlock with a goal 8:41 into the period on an assist from Marshall Brunelle, with Brown going top-shelf on Filderman to give the Clippers a 2-1 edge.

Camden Hills pulled Filderman out of the goal with 1:30 remaining in regulation to give them a 6-on-5 advantage in the Windammer offensive end in hopes of drawing even. Zac Dufour at the point made a pass over to Orne, which Brown tipped away from Orne at the blue line. Brown got up ahead of the Windjammer defense and popped in the insurance goal with 1:07 remaining.

Filderman stopped 29-of-32 Clipper shots, while Ethan Gray stopped 23-of-24 Windjammer shots.

Camden Hills was whistled for seven penalties and Yarmouth four. The Windjammers were 0-of-4 on power-play chances and the Clippers 0-of-6 in similar situations.

The Windjammers finished 7-9-1 last season, which was the most wins in the history of the program prior to this season. Camden Hills will lose nine seniors heading into next year, many of which have been with the program since its inception four years ago.

“It feels so good,” said senior Zac Dufour of earning a trip to the postseason. “The first two seasons, we basically just lost. That’s it. And it’s tough to take a loss here in the playoffs especially it being our first game, but it was really great to even get the chance.”

“The big thing is how hard we worked this season,” said Orne, who is a junior but played his final game with the Windjammers as he will be studying abroad next year. “Everything came together. I feel like we could have gone all the way and I wish we did, but it’s just great playing with these guys and all of them put all their heart into it.”

“Four years of training for this,” said senior Wayne Neimann. “I mean, yeah, we lost, but the atmosphere was so good to get to. I’ll never forget this moment for the rest of my life and I’ll never forget these guys I played with.”

“A bunch of us have been playing since we were four [years old] over at Maine Sport on the pond,” said senior Josh Stanclift. “It’s good to finish this with a great group of guys that are all friends.”

“The crowd was great,” Stanclift said. “The most people I’ve ever played in front of. It was a great atmosphere and it was great to be here. At least we made the playoffs.”

Click for more photos from the Camden Hills and Yarmouth Western Class B semifinal hockey playoff.

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