Late surge boosts Dragons skaters, 6-1
The first-year partnership of Yarmouth/Freeport girls high school hockey featured two Falcons skating with a Clippers program that has seen success in the recent past.
For two periods against topseeded Brunswick at Sidney J. Watson Arena on Friday in the Eastern semifinals, the Clippers had the Dragons right where they wanted them, tied 1-1 in a slow-paced contest.
Freshman goaltender Hannah Williams of Freeport had turned aside 14 of 15 shots and fellow Freeport classmate Emily Johnson assisted on Ariel Potter’s goal late in the second period.
Brunswick, playing in its first girls playoff contest, shook off the defensive stand of the fifth-seeded visitors, exploding for five third-period goals for a 6-1 victory.
The win advances the Dragons to the Eastern Regional final on Wednesday at Portland Ice Arena against No. 2 Greely at 7 p. m., while the Clippers ended their season with an 8-12 mark.
What a chance!
Brunswick came out flying right after the drop of the puck in the third period, with Annie Kelly and Rachel Moroney breaking in on Williams. Even through the Dragons failed to score on this golden chance, the tone of the final 15 minutes was set.
Brunswick fired five quick shots on Williams, with the Clippers finding it difficult to clear the zone. Moroney took advantage of Brunswick’s sustained pressure, scoring the go-ahead goal at 4:39 off assists from Eliza Brooks and Kelly.
Just 1: 03 later, Sarah Thibeault finished off a nice pass from defenseman Suzannah Smith, followed by a Gillian Ford breakaway goal for a 4-1 edge.
“We’ve come up with some big wins by having good third periods, so the girls had that for some confidence,” said Brunswick coach Bill Bodwell. “ Once we got back to how we played in the first period and started to pressure in the offensive zone, we were all right.”
“Her goal (Thibeault’s) was the most important of the game and made us realize we could win and got us more pumped up,” said Moroney, who made it 5- 1 with 5: 41 remaining and assisted on Brooks’ second goal 1:03 later to complete the scoring. “ Yarmouth seemed to shut down. Once we got up two goals, we knew they had to come out of their defense.”
“Our game is to play position and stay set up in the passing lanes, and we did that for two periods, but we started to chase a little bit in the third period and that is their game,” said Yarmouth/ Freeport coach David Neujahr.
Backed by a large home crowd, the Dragons came out quickly in the opening frame, holding an 11-4 shot advantage and taking a 1- 0 lead. Brooks scored on a rebound of a Moroney shot at 10:52 of the first.
Brunswick struggled in the middle frame, with three penalties in the opening seven minutes.
“The penalties messed up our line rotations, and the girls were out there too long and got tired,” said Bodwell. “We had a great first period with a lot of pressure, then we had all those penalties in the second and got neutralized.”
The Clippers tied the game with 1: 33 remaining in the second period. Suzanne Driscoll carried the puck down the left wing. Her shot was turned aside by Brunswick netminder Claire Mendes (14 saves). Johnson gathered the rebound and fed the puck across the crease to Potter to send the teams to the locker room even.
Williams turned aside 23 shots, with Brunswick finishing with a 29-15 shot advantage.
“Hannah did a great job in goal, and we have a lot of young players on this team. The future is bright for Yarmouth/Freeport hockey,” said Neujahr.
Moroney finished with two goals and two assists, while Smith dished out three helpers. Brooks added two goals and an assist, with Caroline Wild adding an assist.
At Sidney J. Watson
First period — 1. (B) Eliza Brooks
( Rachel Moroney, Caroline Wild),
Second period — 2. (Y/F) Ariel Potter
(Emily Johnson, Suzanne Driscoll),
Third period — 3. (B) Rachel Moroney
(Eliza Brooks, Annie Kelly), 4:39; 4. (B)
Sarah Thibeault (Suzannah Smith),
5:42; 5. (B) Gillian Ford, 7:36; 6. (B)
Rachel Moroney (Suzannah Smith),
9:19; 7. (B) Eliza Brooks (Suzannah
Smith, Rachel Moroney), 10:21.
Shots on goal — Yarmouth/Freeport
— 4-7-4 — 15; Brunswick — 11-3-15
Saves — (Y/F) Hannah Williams 23;
(B) Claire Mendes 14.
Power play — Yarmouth/Freeport 0-5;
Records — Brunswick 15- 3- 1;
Next for the Dragons — Brunswick
takes on Greely-Edward Little/Leavitt
winner at the Portland Ice Arena on
Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Eastern