GORHAM – Windham/Westbrook closed their winter in style at USM Ice Arena on Thursday afternoon, Feb. 23, assembling a huge comeback victory against visiting Marshwood/Traip/Sanford. Tanner Smith and Derek Corbett each posted a pair of goals as W/W battled from down 3-0 late in the first to up 6-4 in the end.
“I’m proud of the way the kids came back,” said W/W head coach Greg Leclair. “Freshman Tanner Smith did a really nice job today, as did sophomore Derek Corbett. But it wasn’t just the scoring that I was pleased with. It was Chandler Chenard backchecking 200 feet to break up a scoring chance for Henry Honkonen when the score was 4-3 in our favor; it was Matt Kelley picking up an assist on the game-winning goal, despite suffering an apparent broken thumb earlier in the game; and it was the fact that we got contributions from up and down the lineup. It was very much a team win.”
W/W got down early on a trio of M/T/S goals: two by Honkonen and one by Jarid Tomblin. W/Wwere seemingly not in the right headspace to begin the game. They looked apathetic as they coasted back and forth across the ice – a state of affairs that did not sit well with Leclair, who called timeout.
“It certainly wasn’t the start we were looking for,” said Leclair. “[M/T/S] scored on three of their first four shots. After the third goal, we called a timeout and had the ‘come to Jesus’ talk. Our level of effort wasn’t where it needed to be, and the kids needed to be challenged. Take nothing away from [M/T/S] – their goals were not soft – but our lack of effort contributed to their lead. To the kids’ credit, they got the message and pulled one back before the end of the first.”
That goal, the one W/W pulled back, belonged to Smith. It was his first career strike as a varsity player, and it came unassisted with a mere 28 seconds remaining in the opening period.
“Once we got into the locker room after the first, we doubled down on the message delivered during the timeout,” Leclair said. “We reminded the kids that six seniors were playing in their last high school game and that, as a team, we owed it to them to send them off with a win.”
W/W successfully carried their momentum into the second, thoroughly controlling the stretch and scoring four times: Corbett added his first, assisted by Smith; Cam Morrison added one, assisted by Anthony Morrison; Jack Gresh added one, assisted by Tommy Lekousi and Dylan Francoeur; and Smith added his second, assisted by Matt Kelley.
“We were flying around all over the rink in the second, and really overwhelmed M/T/S,” Leclair said. “Six minutes in, we tied it up at three and you could feel the game had swung in our favor. The kids played with confidence, got pucks to the net and were rewarded with some dirty goals.”
“We scored in a variety of ways,” Leclair said. He described W/W’s battery of points: “Derek was there to knock in a rebound; Cam took a pass up the seam from Anthony and outraced a defender before dekeing to his backhand for a goal; Tommy made a nice saucer pass to Jack in the slot and Jack fired underneath; and Tanner’s low shot from the point found the far side of the net through traffic.”
Up 5-3 to begin the third, W/W needed only hold on, and they did. The teams traded goals in the downhill minutes – not enough offense for M/T/S to retake the lead, but plenty for W/W to cap their season on a high note. Evan Cole scored for M/T/S just three minutes in, and Corbett scored a powerplay notch on a feed from Keegan Pock with three minutes to play.
W/W completes their regular schedule ranked eighth in A North at 6-12. As only the top six teams reach the bracketing, however, the team now retires till 2017-18.
Adam Birt can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @CurrentSportsME.
Keegan Pock assisted on Derek Corbett’s second goal in W/W’s 6-4 win over M/T/S.
Matt Kelley assisted on Tanner Smith’s second goal vs. M/T/S on Thursday the 23rd.
Assisted by older brother Anthony Morrison, Cam Morrison scored on this breakaway shot vs. M/T/S goalie Ethan Hammond.
Tony Morrison and Derek Corbett celebrate a W/W goal in the team’s comeback victory over M/T/S.
Tanner Smith scored his first – and his second – career varsity goals in W/W’s win over M/T/S.
Dylan Francoeur plays keepaway with a lunging M/T/S opponent.