ORONO, Maine — Brewer High senior center Spencer Valley showed why he is one of the state’s elite hockey players Monday night.
He figured in all five goals, scoring a pair and assisting on the other three, to lead the Witches to a 5-3 Eastern Maine Class B victory over Orono at Alfond Arena.
It was his two passes in the third period to linemate and cousin Gabe Valley and to the other member of the line, Gehrig White, that produced goals 19 seconds apart to break a 3-3 tie.
Valley had scored his goals 1:59 apart early in the first period to stake the Witches to a 2-0 lead. The Witches (5-1) could have easily been up by four or five goals after the first period, but Orono goalie Mike Brown made 18 saves to keep the Riots (3-3) within striking distance.
Brewer outshot the lethargic Red Riots 20-3 in that first period.
The Red Riots stunned the Witches with three unanswered second-period goals as senior left wing Trevor Francis’ shorthanded goal and even-strength goal sandwiched a goal by Matt Cloutier.
Francis’ inspirational and physical play also energized the Red Riots.
But White jammed home a Valley rebound from the edge of the crease with less than a second remaining in the middle period to tie it up.
Sophomore Gabe Valley restored the lead for Brewer with 7:51 remaining in regulation.
Spencer Valley muscled the puck along the boards and carried it to the side of the net before dishing it to his cousin in the faceoff circle to Brown’s left and Gabe Valley snapped a quick wrister over Brown’s glove into the far corner.
Gabe Valley said he took a glance and saw that Brown had the short side covered so he shot it to the far side.
“[Brown] was coming over the the short side because Spencer was there,” said Gabe Valley, who was left unattended.
“I wasn’t quick enough getting out. You can’t anticipate against those guys,” said Brown, who couldn’t afford to leave the near post because Spencer Valley may have tried a wrap-around.
NIneteen seconds later, Spencer Valley carried the puck down the left wing before slipping the puck to the White on the inner half of the left faceoff circle and White dispatched it into the far corner.
“I think we let the first period get to our heads in the second period,” said Spencer Valley. “We weren’t skating hard in the second. But we came back in the third.”
“[Spencer Valley] stepped up to the plate when they needed him,” said goalie Brown.
“He was their offense,” said Orono coach Greg Hirsch.
Spencer Valley opened the scoring by swatting home a Brody Valley rebound and he made it 2-0 by cleanly beating an Orono defenseman in a one-on-one and slipping the puck between Brown’s right skate and the post.
Orono was assessed four straight penalties in the second period and were two men short for 43 seconds, but the Riots not only killed them off, Francis scored a shorthanded goal off a breakaway with a nifty move after taking a pass from Einar Loktu.
Cloutier tied it on the power play by dashing out of the corner to Patrick Spaulding’s left and sliding a low shot inside the far post from the right circle.
Francis gave the Riots the lead at the 12:39 mark when he pounced on a Conor McKaig rebound and flipped it into the empty net.
“We were embarrassed by the way we played in the first period, so we came out fired up in the second,” said Francis.
But Brewer tied it when Spencer Valley won a faceoff in the neutral zone, burst down the left wing and fired a 30-foot slap shot that was saved by Brown only to have the alert White whack it home just before the horn went off for the end of the period.
A five-minute major was assessed on an Orono defenseman on the play, but the Riots, who were terrific on the penalty kill all night, stymied the Witches.
“It was a necessary win,” said Brewer coach Dave Shedd.
Hirsch thought his team responded well after a poor first period.
“We settled down and played our game. We panicked in the first period,” said Hirsch.
Spaulding wound up with 14 saves while Brown finished with 46 in an exceptional performance.
Cloutier had an assist to go with his goal and McKaig had two assists.