May 28, 2018
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Closson scores back-to-back goals, rallies Hampden past Orono

By Matt Soucy, Special to the BDN

BREWER, Maine — The fourth-seeded Hampden Academy ice hockey team relied on back-to back goals from Matthew Closson in the third period Tuesday night to edge the fifth-seeded Orono High School Red Riots 5-4 in an Eastern Maine Class B quarterfinal at Penobscot Ice Arena.

With his team trailing 4-3 with 7:38 remaining in the game, Closson gathered the puck in the neutral zone and flew up the left boards, firing a wrist shot at the outer left hash mark that beat Orono goalie Michael Brown to tie the game at 4-4.

Less than two minutes later at the 9:16 mark of the third, Closson pushed the Broncos ahead of the Riots 5-4.

Closson gathered a perfectly placed two-line pass by Michael Ward on the right boards in the neutral zone and took off into Orono’s end, cutting left at the top of the right faceoff circle as he unleashed a wrist shot through a defender’s legs and into the upper left corner of the net to give Hampden Academy a lead it didn’t relinquish.

“Mike gave me a great pass in the neutral zone,” said Closson. “I just fired it and let it go, and it went in.”

Ward and Luther Vom Eigen each chipped in assists on the goal.

“We just never gave up,” said Closson. “We grinded it out, it was a good effort.”

The Riots outshot the Broncos 27-23.

Hampden advanced to a Saturday semifinal against No. 1 Messalonskee of Oakland at Sukee Arena in Winslow.

In other quarterfinal action on Tuesday night, second-ranked John Bapst beat No. 7 Lawrence of Fairfield 4-1. John Bapst will face No. 6 Presque in a Saturday semifinal at Sukee.

Vom Eigen and Closson paced the Broncos offense as they each tallied two goals. Matt Cloutier led the Riots as he tallied three goals for the hat trick.

Ryan Manning turned away 23 of the 27 shot he faced for the Broncos. Michael Brown stopped 18 of 23 shots for the Red Riots.

Joshua Kocik staked the Broncos to a 1-0 lead at the 4:19 mark of the first period as he gathered a pass from Ward at the point and fired a slap shot through traffic in the slot, beating Brown to his right side.

Ward earned the assist on the goal, as he finished with a goal and two assists.

Orono responded at the 10:50 mark of the first as Cloutier snuck behind Hampden’s last defender and gathered a nicely played pass up the boards from Zach Williams and attacked the slot area, firing a shot through Manning’s five-hole to even the score at 1-1.

The score remained locked at 1-1 as teams headed to the first intermission.

Cloutier’s second goal of the game at the 2:06 mark of the second period pushed the Riots to a 2-1 lead as he finished a breakaway with a deke and a finish to Manning’s right side.

Ward tied the game at 2-2 with a shorthanded goal at the 8:18 mark of the second as Vom Eigen skated into the offensive zone and shut down at the top of the left faceoff circle, feeding a pass into the slot that an open Ward hammered into the net.

Cloutier finished the hat trick at the 9:21 mark of the second and provided Orono with a 3-2 lead as he banged a rebound home in the crease following the initial shot by Trevor Francis.

Dylan Cray tied the game at 3-3 at the 12:03 mark of the second on assists from Jordan Dysart and Samuel Ward.

Play headed into the second intermission tied 3-3, and an Orono goal by Seamus McKaig provided the Riots with a 4-3 lead at the 4:18 mark of the final period as Nash Allan Rahill and Michael Fowler each chipped in an assist.

John Bapst 4, Lawrence 1

At Sawyer Arena in Bangor, Hunter Pate scored two goals to lead the second-ranked Crusaders by the No. 7 Bulldogs of Lawrence.

Seth Yachanin chipped in with a goal and an assist for the 13-5-1 Crusaders. Kurt Massey contributed with a goal while Jonathan Cheff added two assists and Alex LaFrance notched one. Jaron Leonard finished with 19 saves.

Adam Littlefield recorded the goal for the 6-13 Bulldogs while Jack Flynn and Jordan Nutting each notched an assist. Kyle McLain made 25 saves.

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