PORTLAND – Gorhamites Chris Tucker and Alex York hooked up again and again at Waynflete on Saturday afternoon, May 13, bludgeoning Flyers netminder Will Armstrong for 13 goals between them. The Rams started slow, but kicked into high gear in the second, running away with the action and cruising to a 19-3 victory.
Gorham head coach Dan Soule was mostly, if not completely, satisfied with his boys’ play. “Not the first quarter. First quarter wasn’t up to potential,” he said. “Two, three, four, we figured it out. Started to play with more enthusiasm and energy.”
“The goal of every game is just to come in, be our best and put the other team into the ground,” said York. “But the past few games, we’ve come off really slow at the start. We did it again today. Our goal for the future has got to be to come out really hot.”
Waynflete actually struck first in the rout, Hank Duvall needing just 77 seconds to put his boys on top 1-0. The Flyers would hold that narrow advantage for roughly four minutes, until Tucker hashed his first of the day, assisted by York. The duo teamed up again less than a minute later to seize the lead 2-1.
With 1:28 to play in the first, Duvall, his team a man up, whipped an underhand shot past Gorham keeper Carter Landry from low on the left side. The score hung even at 2-2 for over a minute. Then, just inside the buzzer, York found Tucker and Tucker found the back of the Waynflete net once again, 3-2.
“16 and 14, they’re very good players,” Soule said of Duvall and teammate Miles Lipton. “I expected them to get a lot of looks against us. But as good as they were, I think our defense stood up and did a good job today, playing those guys.”
“We knew their offense relied on 16,” Landry said; “he was their big gun. And their main offense was iso from up top or get the shorty down low, so we changed to a zone d pretty quick and we shut them down pretty good – or, we shut off Hank, did a good job with that.”
“We started out a little slow, I guess,” Gorham defensive standout Mat Anderson said. “First quarter. But, like Carter said, we knew what they were doing, iso-ing from up top, and from X, and we picked up on it and shut them down from there.”
The Rams would lead for the remainder of the game. Though they were a bit slow to pick up steam in the second, needing almost half the quarter to make it 4-2, they barreled through the final few minutes before the break, scoring five. First, Cam Wright made it 5-2 on a York assist with 3:36 to play; York then made it 6-2 unassisted on an impressive effort at 2:50. Pushing through heavy Flyers defense at the left side of Armstrong’s cage, York lost his balance and one hand slipped off his stick; nevertheless, he somehow managed to get a successful shot off.
Dominic Lorello picked up his first (unassisted) at 2:36, and his second (assisted by Tucker) at :20. Wright slickly won the following faceoff and needed all of eight seconds to dash upfield and convert once more, propelling his boys to a 9-2 upper-hand at the break.
“Second quarter, we just figured out who their main shooters were and tried to neutralize that a little bit,” Soule said of the Rams’ surge. “Defensively, switching up to the zone – you could tell that was a little bit frustrating for [Waynflete.]”
“We got in their heads,” Landry said. “We slid to them quick and played good one-on-one d.”
“We picked ourselves up,” Anderson said. “The morale on the team is very good today. We had a great practice yesterday, and we came into this game prepared, and I think that’s part of the reason we picked it up.”
The Rams likewise dominated through the third and fourth quarters. Though the win came easily to them in the end, it reassured them anyway. They hadn’t been playing up to their own standards – they’d recently dropped a narrow bout to Cheverus, for instance – but were satisfied with the way they came together against the Flyers.
“We wanted to come into the game and really show people who we are,” said Wright. “We’ve been struggling with catching and passing, so we needed to come into this game and make sure we got that down; we had to run through our offenses good, and I think today we really executed on those perfectly.”
Wright elaborated on the troubles the Rams have had with some lax basics, like catching and passing. “We have a young team this year,” he said. “We’ve got a couple sophomores starting. I think everyone just gets a little nerved up in the beginning. We’re working on it, and we’re improving.”
Tucker finished with eight goals on the day, and a pair of assists; York finished with five goals and seven assists. Wright and Lorello each racked up a hat trick and an assist, while Brady Rioux tallied an assist.
“The last couple weeks, mentally, were tough for our guys – losing to Cheverus,” Soule said. “We really didn’t play the first half against Cheverus, then started to click in the second half. We grinded it out, four overtimes and still didn’t come up with the win. They were very disappointed in that, because they knew they had an opportunity to win that game.”
“Last week, they recovered from Cheverus, but still didn’t play up to potential,” Soule said. “Today, we did better in the first half. We’re still playing a lot of young guys that are learning. The process is working, but we’re still in the process. It’s a little over halfway into the season…It’s starting to come together.”
“It’s just slower than what I would like,” Soule added, chuckling.
Soule praised a handful of his players. “I think our defense, across the board, did a really good job against their studs. Offensively, Chris Tucker had a very good game; did a great job cutting. Alex York fed the ball well – very patient, didn’t force anything. Which, it usually goes well for us if he’s patient and does his job well.”
“I think everyone played very well today,” York said. “First quarter, we were all very sloppy; everyone had their mistakes. But after the first quarter, we came out hot. Pass and catch, cut – everything worked really well for us. We’ve been struggling with our offense, but we looked great, and defense is looking fantastic. Good things ahead.”
Saturday’s win bumped Gorham to 6-2. The Rams are approaching the end of their regular schedule, facing Noble on May 16, Westbrook on May 19, Windham on the 24th and Thornton on the 30th. They currently rank second in A South, behind Scarborough, in first at 7-2, but ahead of South Portland, in third at 4-3.
Adam Birt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME
Chris Tucker had quite the day for Gorham at Waynflete on Saturday, heaping eight goals of the Rams’ 19 goals on the Flyers.
Gorham LSM Sam Burghardt, defending, harrasses a Waynflete opponent.
Alex York finished with five goals and seven assists at Waynflete on Saturday.
Cam Wright unwinds into a shot in the Rams’ merciless beatdown of Waynflete on Saturday.
Gorham’s Mat Anderson stuck to his main mark – Waynfleter Hank Duvall – like tattoo on Saturday.
Gorham keeper Carter Landry guards the Rams’ inner sanctum.
Hunter Poitras reverses direction as he watches the action shift.
Rams middie Ben Nault defends.
Gorham defenseman Holden Edwards tracks a Waynflete attacker.