BANGOR, Maine — There are turning points in every game and during Bangor High School’s entertaining 5-3 Eastern Maine Class A victory over St. Dominic of Auburn on Friday night at Sawyer Arena, it occurred during the final 45 seconds of the second period.
Bangor junior center Jordan Tracy gave Bangor a two-goal cushion with 45 seconds left and, 30 seconds later, senior goalie Rye Powell made a terrific pad save off a Saints two-on-one to preserve the two-goal lead.
The Rams did an impressive job protecting the 5-3 lead in the third period, limiting the swift-skating and skillful Saints to just six shots on goal while generating nine.
Bangor is now 5-1 after posting its fifth straight victory while the Saints fell to 2-3.
It was a game of contrasting styles, as the Rams used their size advantage to control the puck and effectively forecheck the Saints. But the Saints parlayed their quickness into good transition opportunities.
After Bangor’s Nick Graham and the Saints’ Caleb Labrie swapped goals 1:20 apart early in the first period, Sam Kenney and Andrew Elston provided Bangor with a 3-1 lead later in the period before Brad Berube answered nine seconds after the Elston goal.
Justin Courtney’s power-play goal 4:15 into the middle period again provided the Rams with a two-goal lead, but Austin Roy responded on the power play 2:55 later.
Late in the period, the Rams were able to sustain a forecheck as the line of Tracy, Nick Graham and Nate Bach penned the Saints in their own end.
The puck popped out to the top of the right faceoff circle, where Tracy did a 180-degree spin and fired the puck past Caleb Dostie.
“Nick and Nate worked hard, the puck came out to the top of the circle, I threw it on net and it happened to go in,” said Tracy, who was a constant threat throughout the game.
“I overslid. I overcompensated on the shot and it went in far post,” said Dostie.
Seconds later, the dynamic Berube created a two-on-one and put a precise cross-ice pass on the stick of the unattended Dillon Pratt. But Powell slid across to smother the shot.
“They had been going back-door on the two-on-ones all night so I anticipated the pass and got my pad down,” said Powell.
“I just didn’t shoot it high enough,” said Pratt.
“Jordan’s goal gave us the two-goal lead and Rye shut the door at the end. That was key,” said Bangor senior defenseman Courtney.
“Their goalie made a couple extra saves and that was the biggest difference tonight,” said St. Dominic coach Steve Ouellette, whose Saints were without injured defensemen Brian Bonenfant and Jonathan Sturgis.
“We played pretty well,” said Tracy. “We had a lot of energy. We wanted to have a good forecheck and be aggressive. And Rye played phenomenal.”
“They’re fast and highly skilled so we didn’t want to give them any time or space with the puck,” said Courtney. “We wanted to get the puck deep and put pressure on their defense. We were looking to create turnovers and capitalize on them. It was a big win.”
Graham scored 1:23 into the game with a wrister from the left circle but Labrie drew the Saints level by converting Berube’s backhand pass from the middle of the slot.
Kenney beat Dostie with a low 20-foot wrister before Elston expanded the lead by capitalizing off a two-on-two rush. But Labrie fed Berube nicely and he had a clear lane to the net before beating Powell to the glove side.
Courtney’s screened wrister from the point sailed past the helpless Dostie’s blocker but Roy answered by deflecting Cam Stewart’s waist-high wrister past Powell.
“We played really well but we made some little mistakes. We had some two-on-ones. We just didn’t capitalize,” said the Saints’ Berube.
Powell finished with 21 saves and Dostie wound up with 22.
Bangor (5-1) 3-2-0 — 5
St. Dom’s (2-3) 2-1-0 — 3
First period – 1. Ban, Graham (Bach, Tracy), 1:23; 2. SD, Labrie (Berube), 2:43; 3. Banm, Kenney (Delaite), 4:27; 4. Ban, Elston (Delaite), 12:32; 5. SD, Berube (Labrie), 12:41.
Second period – 6. Ban, Courtney (Elston), 4:15 (pp); 7. SD, Roy (Cam Stewart), 7:10; 8. Ban, Tracy (Graham, Bach), 14:15.
Third period – No scoring.
Shots on goal: Bangor 7-11-9 — 27; St. Dom’s 6-12-6 — 24
Goaltenders: Bangor, Powell (24 shots-21 saves), St. Dom’s, Dostie (27-22)
Power plays: Bangor 1-5, St. Dom’s 1-5
Penalties/minutes: Bangor 5-10; St. Dom’s 5-10