SCARBOROUGH – The Rams built a substantial lead in the early going at Scarborough on Saturday afternoon, June 10, jumping out 4-0 in the first quarter on goals by Colby Gould, Alex York and others. But the Storm dug deep after that, and battled back to ultimately seize a 6-5 victory.
“The boys never stopped believing in themselves and what their goal was,” said Scarborough head coach Joe Hezlep simply.
Gorham largely controlled the opening 12 minutes. Gould kicked things off, scoring on a York assist, and York followed him up, scoring after Scarborough keeper Dominic Joy lost his stick behind the net. Jake Dupuis added the Rams’ third, then assisted York on their fourth.
One key to the Rams’ impressive start was shutting down Scarborough superstar Sam Neugebauer, a task they failed to accomplish when the teams met at the start of the regular season. Scarborough won that game 15-9, Neugebauer scoring six.
“We came out hot, the first quarter,” said Gorham senior Captain Mat Anderson, among the best defenders in the State. “We locked off Sam, and got in his head really quick – he didn’t even score a goal all game.”
“We were able to shut down Sam which was our main plan in the defensive zone,” said Gorham goalie (and All-American) Carter Landry. “They were definitely rattled early in the game, and we are able to capitalize in the offensive end on this momentum.”
The Storm slowly wrenched the momentum away as the game progressed, however. Marco Manfra made it 4-1 midway through the second, assisted by Drew Cusson; Cam Thibault cut it to 4-2 as the break approached. Manfra tallied two more in the third, the first on a feed from Thibault.
“We started out hot,” said Gorham’s Cam Wright, another senior Captain and a leading scorer, “running the plays we’d been running all year. But after the fourth goal, they figured out what we were doing and adjusted. From then on, we were playing more defense – not giving the defense as much of a break as they needed.”
“Offensively, we ran our plays and they were working,” Anderson said. “We knew they would score, obviously, but our goal was to hold them to as few goals as possible. Second quarter we didn’t get many opportunities offensively and we played a good amount of defense.”
“Most of Scarborough’s goals were in transition,” Landry said, “which was frustrating. At the same time, it was rewarding to know we could beat them in a settled situation. Then they made a key defensive change and shut down our cutters and it was tough for us to run the offense we were used too. Cam was guarded tight by Reese (Lagerquist, Scarborough junior defender), which put a lot of pressure on Alex.”
Headed into the fourth, the rivals were tied. Then, with 10:40 to play, Marc Guerette seized the first Storm lead of the day. A minute and a half later, Wright balanced the board once again, 5-5, but 45 seconds after that, Manfra got the last word of the afternoon, again assisted by Thibault. Though the teams tussled through eight more minutes, 6-5 is where things would conclude.
“We knew they always come out hard in the second half,” Anderson said, “so we would have to play even harder. We just struggled on possessing the ball in the third and fourth quarters and played a lot of defense. They only had a couple goals scored on settled defense and they were one-on-one with Carter because of sliding.”
“Their face off man had some key wins toward the end of the game when we needed them,” Wright added.
“We didn’t test Dom nearly enough,” Landry said. “Our young age definitely showed toward the end of the game.”
Gorham retires for the year at 10-4. Scarborough, 11-2 after dispatching the Rams, moved on to face No. 2 Thornton in the Regional Final, held June 14.
Adam Birt can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME
Gorham’s Cam Wright (left) congratulates teammate Alex York after one of York’s goals.
Scarborough’s Cam Thibault fends off Gorhamite Colby Gould, on the attack.
Mat Anderson dashes upfield for the Rams at Scarborough.
Ryan Hamblen of Gorham covers Scarborough’s Sam Neugebauer. It took a team effort, but the Rams held Neugebauer scoreless in their semifinals matchup on Saturday.