BREWER — The Old Town hockey team already had suffered two one-goal losses to Hampden Academy this winter.
Now the Coyotes were faced with overtime in their Eastern Maine Class B quarterfinal against the Broncos on Tuesday night after watching a two-goal lead vanish during the final four minutes of the third period.
Rather than dwell on that frustration, Old Town instead pressed the attack and was rewarded when David Wilcox scored from amid a scramble in front of the goal 1:20 into the extra period to lift the Coyotes to a 3-2 victory at the Penobscot Ice Arena.
“We were down, but we knew we had to come back so we got together and came out flying in the overtime,” said Wilcox, a senior center. “We were playing the body well and that ended up getting us the goal and the win.”
The victory advances the 10-8-1 Coyotes to a semifinal Saturday against top-ranked Brewer at Sukee Arena in Winslow. Brewer (17-1) defeated Old Town twice during the regular season, 5-1 on Jan. 14 and 4-1 on Jan. 23.
“Anything can happen on any given night, that’s the way we look at it,” said Old Town coach Brett Hale. “We’ll drop the puck, we’ll play the game, we’re excited about it and we’ll come ready to play.
Hampden finished one of its best seasons in recent years with a 10-9 record.
Old Town held the lead for most of regulation time thanks to the goaltending of sophomore Nathan Colaninno, who made 44 saves.
“I feel personally that he’s the best goalie in the state of Maine for a kid his age,” said Hale. “He’s 15 years old but he’s poised. If he hadn’t made 10 of those top-notch saves right off the bat, we wouldn’t have been in it, but he’s played that way all year for us.”
But Hampden got two goals from senior Kalvin Costa Vogel within a 2:03 span late in the third period to force overtime.
Costa Vogel broke up Colannino’s shutout bid with 3:38 left. Samuel Ward received a pass from Luther Vom Eigen and took a shot from the right point that glanced off the side of the net and then bounced off the boards behind the goal right back to Costa Vogel in front of the net for a point-blank shot.
Costa Vogel scored the equalizer from close range with 1:35 remaining on assists from Kent Reichel and Cooper Williams, but while momentum should have been in the Broncos’ favor, it was Old Town that was the aggressor early in overtime.
That steady offensive pressure led to Wilcox getting off a shot from in front of the net. Hampden goalie Ryan Manning (30 saves) made the initial stop, but Wilcox controlled the rebound and scored on the second chance.
“It was a scrum in front of the net,’ said Wilcox. “I got one shot off and I followed my rebound and poked it in. The last thing I saw was the puck in the net. It was under the goalie’s pad and I gave it one more poke and it went right in.”
Old Town took a 1-0 lead 8:20 into the opening period when Alex Leithiser won a faceoff to the right of Manning and dropped the puck back to Jordan Pinkham, who scored with a quick wrist shot.
“I didn’t even see it go in,’ said Pinkham. “I didn’t know I had a goal until the ref showed me.”
The Coyotes made it 2-0 at 5:38 of the second period when Trevor Francis scored from close range after taking a pass from behind the net from Peter Wilcox.
Colannino protected that lead with 22 saves in the second period alone, including several stops after a Hampden forward had come in alone on him.
“It was quite a few shots, but a lot of them were from the outside,” said Colannino. “I thought our defense played pretty well except for a couple of breakdowns at the end.”