GORHAM – Four different MOBsters put up goals against the visiting 26ers on Monday afternoon, Jan. 2. Travis Marsh, Brandon Caron, Cam Roy and Tanner McClure slowly but surely notched points en route to a 4-1 W.
“Last year,” MOB head coach Loren Blair said of the 26ers, “they were hurting for numbers. Talking to the coach, they were able to co-op with Leavitt – which, I guess they got 10 or 12 players, they got a JV program now. Talking to the other coaches in the State, they said they’re a good team, and – even last year, their goalie (Ashton Dozois) was unbelievable; we peppered him. And he played another good game today. We expected a good, physical game.”
“They gave us a heck of a game,” McClure said, “compared to last year. They’re a whole different team. Their goalie stood on his head; he’s having a good season so far. They battled to the end, gave it their all.”
It’s Massabesic/Bonny Eagle/Old Orchard Beach’s first win of the year. The team kicked off their schedule on a bit of a slide, first losing 5-2 to York (undefeated at present, but sixth in a strong B South) then 3-1 to Cony/Hall-Dale/Monmouth (fourth in A North at 3-1) and 7-3 to Kennebunk (first in B South, 5-1).
Those are some respectable opponents, which means the MOB’s shaky start may not reflect their potential. Blair, for one, is happy with how the program – a work-in-progress, these past couple years – is progressing.
“It’s going well,” he said. “We’ve got a JV program this year; they’re playing a full schedule – I think actually more, 16 games. The guys are showing a lot of willingness to be out there, a lot of grit; they’re playing tough. We had a slow start. We played two great teams to start out the season…and, we lost a tough one to Cony. We were leading 1-0 in the second. They got an empty-netter on us. We had our opportunities, but couldn’t score.”
Gray-New Gloucester/Poland/Oak Hill/Leavitt moves to 1-1-1. The 26ers began their winter with a 5-1 trouncing of Noble/Wells (No. 7 in A South at 2-3) before battling to a 3-3 draw vs. South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete (No. 8, 1-3-1).
Marsh earned the first goal of the contest midway through the opening period, scoring on a rebound – with a little help from a screen – after Dozois turned away the initial shot, which came from the point. McClure and Caron both assisted.
McClure and Caron, the MOB’s offensive leaders, both scored during the game, but to the 26ers’ great credit, they defended both boys solidly. “They were definitely marking them,” Blair said. “But that helped open up some other guys. So it helped us out, exposing other people and getting them into the play.”
McClure felt the coverage and adjusted. “They were doing pretty good at shutting me down, so I was feeding my linemates a lot,” he said. “We had different lines this game. Just trying to get some new kids, their numbers, on the scoresheet.”
But both Blair and McClure felt the MOB’s biggest issue on the afternoon wasn’t something the 26ers did, but simple off-target shooting. “We had our chances,” Blair said. “I think Tanner would like to have a couple of them shots back. I think we missed the net just as many times as we hit the net, tonight. That’s been one of our problems, this season. A lot of shots wide, a lot of shots off the glass…We’ve got to bear down, hit the net, and if they make the save, crash the net and get the rebounds.”
“I couldn’t hit the net, for one,” McClure said. “That’s a big issue. You’ve got to hit the net to score.”
The 26ers responded at the end of the first. With mere seconds remaining before the break, Connor Cyr, zooming up the left side of the ice, curled inward on MOB keeper Kyle McKay, but instead of shooting, dished through the crease to teammate Drake Goupil, sailing undefended through the slot. Goupil one-timed the redirect past McKay to balance the board at 1-1.
The goal would be the 26ers’ only of the day; the rest of the offense belonged to the MOB. Caron hashed the go-ahead point roughly three minutes into the second on a breakaway deke. The team then went silent until the 12:18 of the third, when Roy tallied his contribution, whirling in heavy coverage for a determined, successful hack at the puck. Finally, McClure wrapped things up ten minutes later. Cutting right to left through the 26ers’ high slot, he fired back across, through traffic to the top-right corner of Dozois’s net. 4-1 the final.
“I didn’t even see it go in, to be honest,” McClure said of goal. “My assistant coach has been having me work on that type of play in practice, before practice really starts. Coming over the blue line, cut to the middle and shoot from the defender’s legs, using him as a screen. So I didn’t even see it go in. But I saw the net move, and I was like, ‘Let’s go! That’s a big one.’”
Asked who else played well for the MOB, McClure patted his entire team on the back: “They all played well, they all pitched in. It’s a team effort. Hockey’s a team game. We played three lines tonight, and everyone played their part. It came together good in the end.”
The MOB is slated to host Lawrence/Skowhegen (No. 9 in A North at 0-5) on Saturday the 7th at 6:20. The 26ers travel to Lawrence/Skowhegan on Wednesday the 4th, then to Marshwood/Traip/Sanford (also ninth, but in A South, at 1-3) on Saturday.
Alex Demers cuts up-ice for the MOB.
MOBster Brandon Caron puts one past 26ers goalie Ashton Dozois.
Brandon Caron tracks the play vs. the visiting 26ers.
Garrett Haskins drives through the neutral zone for the 26ers in their road loss to the MOB on Monday.
Spencer Shields keeps a stride ahead of a 26ers defender on Monday.
Tanner McClure jets up ice with the puck vs. the visiting 26ers on Monday.
Chandler Doustou unwinds into a pass vs. the 26ers of G-NG/Poland/Oak Hill/Leavitt on Monday.
Cam Roy, head up and surveying the ice, curls through the MOB zone.