Despite having two different two-goal leads, Greely found itself hanging on in the final minutes of its March 9 afternoon game at Casco Bay Arena with a slim 5-4 lead and Gorham on the power play with the goalie pulled for a 6th attacker.
Fortunately, junior goaltender Spencer Osgood made a number of big saves and at one point junior defenseman Cam Malette cleared a sliding puck inches from the goal line to help Greely hang on for the win.
“Spencer and our defensemen battled hard through those last five minutes or so,” said Coach Barry Mothes. “We had some big saves and a few things go our way with all the scrambling and pressure. Things can happen quickly in this rink with the tighter corners and less space below the goal line. We failed to clear our defensive zone a few times when we had the chance and things like that always feel like they could cost you. Luckily today they didn’t.”
The win was Greely’s 7th in 9 games as they prepare to face two longtime rivals in the last two games of the Covid 19-shortened 2020-21 season. First, Greely faces Cape Elizabeth on March 10 in a 2:20 pm game at Family Ice, a rematch of the last three Class B South Finals (2018, 2019, 2020). Then, on Saturday, March 13, Greely finishes the season with a highly-anticpated Dudley Cup game against Falmouth. Greely and Falmouth played on Feb. 27, with Greely winning 5-3.
Having dropped two of its last three games to Class A opponents Edward Little (4-2) and Lewiston (3-0), Greely jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 27 seconds into Tuesday afternoon’s game vs. Gorham on a goal by Alex Wallace with assists to linemates Ryan Moore and Evan Dutil.
Gorham answered three minutes later however, when senior forward Aidan Enck got in through the Greely defense on the rush and fired a shot to the high chest of sophomore goalie Aidan McAuslin that bounced up and over and into the net. McAuslin was making his first-ever Varsity appearance for Greely.
Gorham briefly took the lead halfway through the first half, but Greely answered 40 seconds later to tie it at 2-2. Senior defenseman Dawson Jowett took a low wrister from the left point while junior forward Gage Cooney was screening well on the play. Jowett’s shot stayed low and went through the pads of Gorham goalie Jasper Crane.
Greely picked up the attack and pressure in the last 10 minutes of the first half and took and extended the lead. First, senior forward Tyler Grasky found open space in the mid-slot on the right wing side and linemate Gage Cooney delivered a crisp pass to him from below the goal line that Grasky collected and fired home to give Greely a 3-2 lead.
Then, with 2:17 to go in the first half, freshman forward Landon Werner, playing hockey for the first game in some 11 days due to quarantine requirements, jammed home a loose puck from the top of the crease area to make it 4-2. Senior forward Elias Leggat-Barr, playing his first year of high school hockey and appearing in his first-ever Varsity hockey game, picked up his first-ever Varsity point with an assist on the play.
A quick exchange of goals three minutes into the second half brought the score to 5-3 in Greely’s favor. First, Gorham cut it to 4-3 with 20:11 to go on a goal by Brady Sawyer. Greely re-established the two-goal lead just 28 seconds later, however, when Gage Cooney collected a quick backhand pass from Luke Stetson that came from below the goal line into the slot and Cooney snapped it home.
Greely appeared to be in control of the game heading into the final 10 minutes of the game, but Gorham and Brady Sawyer struck again with 9:16 to go on a quick pass and shoot play from below the goal line to the low slot and suddenly things got tight.
Gorham got a lift from Sawyer’s goal and put Greely under more sustained pressure than it had faced for most of the game. Several Gorham shots just missed the net or were stopped by Osgood. Then, Greely took a hooking penalty with 1:41 left in the game and Gorham pulled their goalie to play 6-on-4. Greely struggled to get pucks out early in the power play, but fortunately a strong clear with about 30 seconds to go sent the puck to the far end of the ice and Cooney forechecked smartly and kept the puck below the Gorham goal line as the seconds ticked off to the buzzer.