BREWER, Maine — After sophomore right winger Alex Michaud scored in overtime to give Presque Isle its 7-6 overtime win over Brewer in their Eastern Maine Class B hockey quarterfinal at the Penobscot Ice Arena on Tuesday night, Presque Isle coach Carl Flynn said he had to turn around and put his head on the railing behind the bench.
“I had tears in my eyes. I had to compose myself. I didn’t want the kids to see me crying,” said Flynn.
The eight-year head coach had never beaten Brewer.
“We were 0-for-16 and they had outscored us 89-31,” said Flynn. “And they had embarrassed us in two Eastern Maine championship games [8-0, 8-1].”
The Wildcats, seeded sixth for the tournament, had come close during the regular season this year, losing 3-1 in Brewer and 5-4 in Presque Isle.
“This is probably the biggest win the program has ever had other than winning the Eastern Maine championship three years ago,” said Flynn.
He said it matched the 4-2 upset win over a powerhouse Orono team in the playoffs seven years ago.
Flynn said the team couldn’t have scripted a better scenario that led to the end of the losing streak to third-seeded Brewer.
Presque Isle led 4-1 after one and Flynn told his players between periods, “If we can get one more goal, we can bury them. I could tell by [Brewer’s] body language they were frustrated.”
But Brewer rallied in the second period and sliced the margin to 5-4 entering the final 15 minutes.
“I read them the riot act after the second period,” said Flynn, who also tore into his son, Adam Flynn, one of the team captains.
“I said somebody has to step up,” said Flynn.
When Brewer goalie Patrick Spaulding saved Colin McKay’s penalty shot in the third period and, moments later, Brewer tied it, he thought his team’s prospects were cloudy.
Andrew Michaud gave PI the lead 6-5 with 1:47 remaining, but Brewer’s Spencer Valley tied it with the extra attacker on the ice.
“I thought we were in trouble,” said Flynn.
But Alex Michaud brought tears to his eyes.
“A couple of times we were on the brink of disaster. But the kids never gave up,” said Flynn, whose Wildcats will now face No. 2 John Bapst of Bangor in Saturday’s 7:15 p.m. semifinal at Sukee Arena in Winslow.
Eastern B schedule changed
The Eastern Maine Class B semifinals have been rearranged.
Normally, the team that travels the farthest has the earlier of the two games.
That would have meant Presque Isle and John Bapst would have played the first game, which was scheduled for 5 p.m., and Hampden Academy and Messalonskee of Oakland would play the second game at 8.
However, Hampden Academy administrators asked to play the early game so their fans could attend both the hockey game and the state Class A boys basketball game between their Broncos and South Portland at the Augusta Civic Center at 7.
MPA assistant director Mike Burnham, the MPA staff member who is responsible for hockey, said that the MPA also asks each school to provide at least five adult supervisors at hockey playoff games.
So after the situation was discussed among Burnham, the athletic directors of the four schools and Sukee rink manager Sandy McCabe, it was decided to allow Hampden to play the early game at 4:45 with the Presque Isle-John Bapst game to follow at 7:15.
Burnham said Sukee was booked up, so they couldn’t move the games to the afternoon.
“[McCabe] penciled us in the earliest she could. We moved the start of the first game up from 5 to 4:45,” said Burnham. “And we reduced the time between games so the Presque Isle people could get home at a more reasonable time.”
Burnham praised the cooperation of the athletic directors, Hampden’s Mike Bisson, John Bapst’s Rick Sinclair, Messalonskee’s Tommy Hill and Presque Isle’s Mark White, as well as McCabe.
“Everyone was very accommodating,” said Burnham.
The Presque Isle fans also will have the option of a two-game weekend as their girls basketball team faces Lake Region of Bridgton for the state Class B championship at 7:05 Friday night at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland.