The Clippers put forth a strong team effort in front of a big-game goalie to move on to the Class B South Semi-Final against York High School. After a 1-7 slide to end the regular season, Dan Latham rallied his teammates to a decisive 4-1 win over Cape. Latham’s play has been outstanding all year, but the Junior net-minder took it to a new level in the opening round of the playoffs.
In addition to phenomenal goal-tending, playing fundamentally sound hockey was a key difference from the past 8 games. Chris Romano and Tyler Veileux laid out to block shots on a desperate penalty kill at the end of the second period, which preserved the 2-0 lead, and Nate Dealaman played his best game of the season as he physically denied Cape’s forwards quality rebound chances. Although these unselfish plays do not show up on the score-sheet, they were the difference between victory and defeat.
In the opening period, Yarmouth played its best hockey of the year in front of a rabid crowd, but had nothing to show for it and the teams ended the first period in a scoreless tie. In the second period, Yarmouth finally got its offense untracked when Big Dom Morrill rifled a shot past Cape’s Peter Haber. Although Morrill has a skating style that may be described as unorthodox, he also has one of the quickest shot releases of any player in Maine and is a pure goal-scorer.
Yarmouth then extended the lead to two when Cooper May buried a nice tic-tac-toe passing play from Bennett Travers and Chris Romano and the Clippers were firmly in the driver’s seat.
With a two-goal deficit, Cape started to find their groove and untimely penalties put Yarmouth’s lead in jeopardy. However, the Clippers’ penalty kill came to the rescue and Yarmouth escaped the second period with its two-goal lead intact.
Cape came out flying in the third period and the Clippers stopped moving their feet, which gave the Capers some hope as they carried play in the Yarmouth zone. However, Cape’s hopes were soon crushed.
With less than five minutes remaining in the game, Sam Marjersion jumped up to intercept a Cape pass at the blue line and moved the puck low in the offensive zone where Bennett Travers won his battle behind the net to feed Cooper May for his second goal of the game.
With a 3-0 lead, and just over four minutes to play, Yarmouth’s fans were on the edge of their seats in anticipation of the upset, but with 1:31 remaining in the game, Cape’s Ryan Collins’ shot dribbled past Latham to cut the lead back to two. However, May put the game out of reach when he scored an empty-net goal for the hat trick with 32 seconds remaining in the game.
Yarmouth will face York this Friday at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston. Game time is 6 pm.