BANGOR — Ten days ago, the Bangor High School hockey team beat Brunswick 10-2, thanks to six first-period goals.
Tuesday night’s Eastern Maine Class A quarterfinal was much different, as the two teams were tied 1-1 after two periods.
But senior center Alec Coleman-Pray scored 3 minutes, 21 seconds into the third period and set up Nick Graham’s goal 3:13 later to lead the third-seeded Rams to a hard-fought 5-1 triumph over the sixth-seeded Dragons.
Bangor (13-6) will take on second seed Lewiston (13-5-1) in the semifinals at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston on Saturday.
Brunswick concluded an 11-8 campaign.
Ben Crichton and Trevor DeLaite added insurance goals 47 seconds apart late in the final 3:36.
T.J. Sullivan staked the Dragons to a 1-0 lead against the run of play 9:09 into the second period, but Bangor’s Sam Huston equalized 1:24 later.
“We knew the score of the first game wouldn’t dictate how this game would be played,” said Bangor coach Quinn Paradis, whose Rams outshot Brunswick 36-14, including a 28-5 edge over the final two periods.
Senior goalie Devin Allard was outstanding for the Dragons as he made numerous Grade-A, or high-percentage, saves among his 31 total stops and his mates were solid in front of him, clearing rebounds to limit Bangor’s multiple-shot flurries.
“That was an adjustment we made,” Brunswick coach Bill Bodwell said. “We had let up a lot of rebound goals in our first game with them. We had to protect the house better and make sure we covered the slot.”
“This was one of our best games of the year,” Bodwell added. “The guys really battled hard and stayed disciplined.”
Brunswick’s top line of Sullivan, Jacob McGowan and Jared Parent generated some Grade-A opportunities, but the Rams did an effective job defensively and sophomore goalie Derek Fournier came up with some timely saves among his 13.
Coleman-Pray gave the Rams the lead for good, thanks to some good work behind the net by defenseman Brennan Lane, who dug out a loose puck behind the net and pushed it in front to the left of Allard.
“The puck got stuck under his pads so I put it right in,” Coleman-Pray said.
“(Coleman-Pray) pushed me into the net. I don’t know why that was (allowed to be) a goal,” Allard said.
A few minutes later, a good scoring opportunity for the unattended Sullivan in the slot was saved by Fournier, who said Sullivan’s shot “hit me in the head.”
In the ensuing rush, Coleman-Pray and Graham broke down the ice in what became a 2-on-0.
Coleman-Pray slid it over to Graham, and he tucked it between Allard’s pads.
“(Allard) was sliding over, and the five-hole was wide open,” Graham said.
“I almost had that one. I felt it hit my knee, but it snuck through,” Allard said.
Crichton iced it with a nifty stickhandling move in the slot to get open and a rising wrister past Allard’s glove.
DeLaite scored with a tip-in off a Nick Cowperthwaite point shot.
Brunswick had taken the lead when Sullivan pounced on an errant pass and rifled a snap shot past Fournier’s glove.
But Huston answered by keeping the puck in at the point and capitalizing on a screen in front to beat Allard with a low slap shot past the goalie’s left skate.
“We’ve talked all week about responding if we fall behind. I got a chance, and I was able to put it home,” Huston said.
Copied from Bangor Daily News: Written by Larry Mahoney
(PHOTO: Ashley L. Conti | BDN)