LEWISTON — There were some nerves and an early one-goal deficit Tuesday night.
There was also an ability to shrug off both by the St. Dom’s hockey team.
The Saints stared down an early deficit but overcame that in the first period. St. Dom’s got rolling from there in a 5-1 win over Brunswick in an Eastern A hockey quarterfinal.
“We’ve gotten down in games,” said sophomore defenseman Will Desmarais. “This team is built around working hard and working hard. We’ve been in those situations before and knew what to do with it. It just gave us that kick in the rear that you need.”
The Saints scored twice in first and added another in the second. St. Dom’s then broke it open with three more in the third.
“The first eight minutes I think there were some nerves there for some of our guys,” said St. Dom’s coach Steve Ouellette. “After that, it was a pretty solid game. We moved the puck pretty well and took a lot of shots from different spots on the ice. Finally, guys started hitting the net for a change.”
Desmarais had a goal and two assists for the Saints (13-4-2), which were blanked 5-0 by Thornton Academy in the regular-season finale. Spencer Martin and Alex Parker each had a goal and an assist while netminder Austin Christopher stopped 16 of 17 Brunswick shots.
“I think the defense was better as the game went on,” said Ouellette, whose team held Brunswick to just four shots in the second period. “We just relaxed more. We started getting the puck out of the zone a little quicker, especially in the second and third.”
Brunswick (8-10-1) started off pretty well. The Dragons were solid defensively and patient against the speedy Saints. Just 3:36 into the game, a shot from the point was stopped, but James Waring was there at the left post to pop in the rebound.
“After not playing for 19 days, it was as good a start as we could have had, I thought,” said Brunswick coach Mike Routhier, whose team has 13 underclassmen, including 11 freshmen. “We had good jump. We had good energy. We were getting pucks deep and good forechecks. We got that first one and that energized us.”
The Saints were put on the power play and that led to the tying goal. Martin burst down the middle and fired a quick wrister that snuck under the glove of Brunswick goalie Jason Blier and landed inside the left post.
“Once we got that momentum on our side, we just kept rolling,” said Desmarais. “Once you get the puck in the net, everything clicks. Everyone gets into the game and everyone’s cheering.”
The Saints took the lead with just 39 seconds left in the first. A Ryan Lussier shot from the left side snuck through a crowd and past Blier.
“It was at the end of the period, and it was a puck that snuck through the goalie’s legs,” said Routhier. “It gave them some momentum, but I thought we were competing pretty hard and only gave up one goal in the second period.”
The Dragons had ample opportunity in the second. Brunswick had an early power play and generated some shots. The Dragons later had a two-man advantage late in the period but failed to score.
“We had some chances in the second period,” said Routher, whose team went 0-for-9 on the power play. “We had a five-on-three and couldn’t capitalize there.”
Instead, it was the Saints that scored. With 9:12 left in the period, Desmarais had a blast from the point tipped in front by Chris Finlay for the 3-1 lead.
Then in the third, the Saints struck three times, twice in the first 5:49. Desmarais had the first one at 1:04 with a shot from the point.
“My shots were there,” said Desmarais. “I’d move to the middle of the ice and the forwards kept feeding us all night, and it was just perfect.”
Cody Rodrigue made it 5-1 with 9:11 left from the left post. Then Parker scored shorthanded with 44 seconds left in the game.
“We just had to keep it simple,” said Ouellette. “We’re in the playoffs and the team that makes the least mistakes is usually the one that keeps moving on. So we just needed to keep it simple, get the puck in deep and use our speed.”
Copyright (c) 2011, Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine
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