Monday, May 20, 2013
LEWISTON — The rematch was far from a mismatch, but the that was of little consolation for the Messalonskee hockey team Saturday afternoon at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
Messalonskee High School's Jared Cunningham, 19, tries to get a shot off on Greely High School goalie Kyle Kramlich, 30, as teammate Miles Shields, 4, tries to defend in the second period of the Class B state championship at the Colisee in Lewiston Saturday.
Staff Photo by Michael G. Seamans
Aidan Black broke a scoreless tie with a second-period goal and Kyle Kramlich stopped all 17 shots he faced as Greely beat Messalonskee in the Class B state title game for a second consecutive year, this time 3-0.
The Rangers won the title last season with a 6-2 victory.
“It's pretty frustrating,” Messalonskee senior captain defenseman Dom Dexter said. “It was a long season. We worked hard. It's just tough to have it come to an end like this.”
Greely (17-4-0) won its third Class B state title in five years, but this one didn't come easy.
The Rangers led just 1-0 going into the third before Reid Howland and Ted Hart scored — the latter on an empty net with 15 seconds left — to ice the game.
“It was an exciting state final,” Greely coach Barry Mothes said. “Messalonskee is a very deserving Eastern Maine champ. They played their hearts out. It was an exciting high school game and we were the lucky ones to come out on top.”
Ben Weeks had 28 saves for the Eagles, who were outshot 31-17. But it was Kramlich who stood out in net.
He made several key stops, particularly in an entertaining second period when the Eagles sprung to life.
Kramlich robbed Jared Cunningham with his left pad about five minutes into the second period after the Messalonskee freshman forward split two defenders and tried to tuck a backhand shot to the near post.
Kramlich, a sophomore, then stopped Messalonskee junior captain Chase Cunningham on a wrap-around attempt near the midway point of the period.
“We had our chances, in the second period especially,” Messalonskee coach Mike Latendresse said. “If we score one or two there it's a different game in the end. We needed to get one by him, which we weren't able to do. We had Grade A chances, point-blank chances.”
Added Chase Cunningham: “He didn't give us anything. The second period was the best we've played against them. We just couldn't get one by him.”
Kramlich said the game became “fun” in the second period.
“I got to move around a lot more in the second period,” he said. “It's boring if you don't get to do anything. It was really fun.”
After a scoreless first period, the Rangers finally broke through when Black beat Weeks with 7:32 left in the second.
Black, who was open coming into the right faceoff circle, took a pass from Joe Saffian and buried the puck into an open net.
“It was a two-on-one and there were a bunch of bodies behind everybody,” Weeks said. “(Saffian) came down in a shooter's position but the far side guy (Black) got open he slid it across, and I couldn't get there.”
The Rangers extended the lead when Howland beat Weeks through the pads with 9:29 left in regulation.
“That put it away a little bit,” Dexter said. “That was a tough one.”
Added Chase Cunningham: “They got that quick one in the third and that killed us.”
Hart capped the scoring when he scored an empty-net goal from behind the red line in the closing seconds.
“They had the pressure,” Latendresse said. “They were the favorites. We played well. We accomplished what we wanted to do — slow them down in middle of the ice — but their goalie was fantastic.”
As anticipated, Weeks was busy early.
He needed to make a few key saves, particularly on odd-man rushes, as the Rangers controlled play play throughout the first period. They outshot the Eagles 10-2 in the period.
Greely captain defenseman Kyle Megathlin generated one of the best scoring chances when he split two defenders and nearly tucked a backhand shot past Weeks with 1:37 left in the period.
Less than a minute later, the Rangers nearly broke the scoreless tie when Howland redirected a shot at the goal line. Weeks, however, was in position to make the save.
“Messalonskee played a strong defensive game,” Mothes said. “Clearly, they were going to make you earn your space. It was not going to be easy, and it wasn't, but we pulled it out.”
Bill Stewart – 621-5640