Maine Hockey Journal

Sour memories from a year ago lift Yarmouth to Class B title game

LEWISTON – The Yarmouth Clippers were hungry to get to the Class B State Championship game.

After last year’s 3-2 overtime defeat to the Gorham Rams in the Western Class B regional semifinals, they weren’t going let another lower seed upset them in 2016 for their quest for the State Championship as they dispatched the Gardiner Tigers 5-0 for the Class B South Championship at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee Wednesday night.

“Last year, we had a really good shot at things,” Yarmouth coach David St. Pierre said. “We were playing really well going into the playoffs. Unfortunately, overtime hockey is overtime hockey, and we used that as motivation from day one this year. We came out strong at the beginning of the year, and we kept our focus throughout the whole year. Going into the playoffs, we reminded ourselves what that felt like, losing that tough game.”

The Clippers (16-4-0) were led by Bill Jacobs, who had two second-period goals and Dan Latham’s 24 save performance for the shutout.

“I can’t tell you enough about Dan,” St. Pierre said. “Dan hasn’t seen a game of varsity hockey until this year. He worked his tail off to get himself ready to play. He wanted it more than anything in the world. I am so happy he got the shutout. It goes to show hard work pays off.”

Yarmouth will face Class B North champion Waterville, who dispatched Messalonskee 5-2, in Saturday’s Class B State Championship game at 1 pm in Lewiston at the Colisee.

Gardiner has come from a long way from their 7-11 season in 2014-15 to finishing 15-5-1 in 2015-16 under first-year coach Sam Moore.

“These kids have nothing to be ashamed of, they played their hearts out all year long,” Moore said. “I am super proud of them. I think they play with a lot of confidence now. I am happy how they played, and their confidence was built every game.”

Yarmouth scored the lone goal in the first period as Noah Grondin found the back of the net with 3:54 remaining in the period Christopher Romano and Patrick Grant set the goal up.

Gardiner came out strong in the second period, firing two shots on Dan Latham in the first minute.

The Clippers settled down and started controlling the play and being aggressive. Bill Jacobs created a turnover in the neutral zone and got behind the defense for a 2-on-0 offensive chance. Jacobs fired the puck right past Michael Poirier at the 1:57 mark.

“I think Noah (Grondin) chipped it out,” Bill Jacobs said. “I got it on the boards, and I saw Noah was a little bit behind me, and I always have shot it near-side high. It seemed like it was going in, it was a nice shot.”

Jacobs stretched the lead to 3-0 at the 5:08 mark of the middle period. Cooper May and Patrick Grant notched the assists

The goal came 16 seconds into the power play.

The doors to the penalty box kept opening the rest of the period as the teams combined six penalties.

Gardiner went into the dressing room with 1:17 of power play time carrying over into the third period. Again they got off to a strong start to the period by firing a couple of shots on net, but Yarmouth responded early in the period once more.

“We reminded them the fact Cape (Elizabeth) came back against (Gardiner) in the last game on the power plays,” St. Pierre said of the message in the third period. “We knew we had to kill the power play, and we really stressed getting out of the PK and taking care of business.”

Moore gives all the credit to Yarmouth on killing their momentum early in the periods.

“They made the plays that they had to,” Moore said. “Like I said, I give all the credit in the world. They definitely played their game tonight, and we weren’t physical enough to slow them down. They are a fast team and they played very well.”

Cooper May took the puck and went end-to-end and flipped the puck into the net on the backhand. The goal came 1:35 into the third period.

Joe Truesdale notched the Clippers second power-play goal with 4:47 remaining in the game.

They finished the game with 2-for-6 on the man advantage while Gardiner was scoreless on three chances.

Michael Poirier made 29 saves in the losing effort.

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