Boys Hockey: The MOB blank the Ice Cats

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GORHAM—A trio of MOBsters – Aiden Russell, Brady Cormier and Peyton Oertel – put up a trio of goals when the Ice Cats came to visit on Saturday afternoon, December 15. Oertel and three others kicked in assists as well for a 3-0 final.

“We looked really good,” MOB head coach Loren Blair said. “Our first game, we didn’t play the first period. We played all three periods tonight.”

The MOB dropped their season-opener to Brunswick 2-1 in OT on Monday, Dec. 10.

The team comprises players from Massabesic, Old Orchard Beach and Bonny Eagle – hence the nickname. The Ice Cats, meanwhile, hail from Lake Region, Oak Hill and Fryeburg.

Russell put the MOB’s first point on the board just two minutes into the opening period; Hunter Jellison and Oertel assisted. The team then went silent for the remainder of the stretch, and the better part of the second period, too; Cormier tallied their second notch – assisted by Tayte Harris – with 4:48 to play before the break. Finally, Oertel scored the 3-0 goal midway through the third, with a little help from Chris Westgate.

“They team, they’re young,” Blair said of his boys. “But they’re moving the puck well; our forecheck worked great tonight; they’re hustling – they played fast. We matched up good against [the Ice Cats] on this big rink; on a smaller rink, it would be a little interesting.”

“This rink,” Blair went on, “I knew [the Ice Cats] are a hard-working team, and they like to hit. We’ve got more room out here; we’re fast, we’re small and we’re not big hitters. So, in this rink, we matched up well against them.”

The USM rink is Olympic-sized.

Despite ending in a shutout, the action in the game wasn’t entirely lopsided, and both goalies deserve credit for fending off a good many shots. Ice Cat Graham Payne might’ve let in three over the course of the contest, but he turned away a lot more than that. Meanwhile, MOBster Gavin Sperlich looked particularly sharp when the Ice Cats ratcheted up their pressure as the third wound down.

Sperlich has stepped up in a big way for his team this year.

“Our goalie’s been playing lights-out,” Blair said. “He was a happy surprise. I went from having two goalies coming back, to none. And here’s a freshman from Old Orchard Beach, and he’s the real deal. He’s smart, he’s fast and he’s very coachable…And he’s big.”

One of Blair’s netminders from year, now a junior, opted to play basketball this winter instead. And his other netminder, now a sophomore, transferred to Cheverus.

The sides turned in a penalty-heavy outing, overall: 10 minutes’ worth of box time on the Ice Cats’ side of things, and 15 for the MOB – including a five-minute major for contact to the head that brought with it a game misconduct for Dylan Tozier. (The hit did not look malicious.)

The MOB, now 1-1, travel to South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete on Thursday the 20th; the Ice Cats host Biddeford on Saturday the 22nd.

Adam Birt can be reached at abirt@keepmecurrent.com. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.

Graham Payne turned in a strong performance for the Ice Cats, despite their loss.

Sanjay Tucker dashes ahead for the Ice Cats.

Tayte Harris added an assist for the MOB in their victory over the Ice Cats.

Dylan Tozier digs through the corner for the MOB.

Scott Blanchette works behind the net for the MOB.

Jared Harris attacks for the MOB in their win over the Ice Cats.

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