LEWISTON, Maine — A little cooperation among rivals can produce amazing results.
Don’t believe it? Ask Jake Dubay of Old Town High School and Ben Allan-Rahill of Orono High School.
The two seniors, fellow captains on the schools’ joint ice hockey team, will forever be remembered as teammates of the highest order. Allan-Rahill’s goal at 3:52 of overtime off a Dubay pass lifted the Old Town-Orono Black Bears to a dramatic 3-2 victory over Greely of Cumberland Center on Saturday in the Class B state championship match at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
“There’s always been that rivalry between the two schools and it’s incredible to be that bridge,” said Allan-Rahill.
Old Town-Orono rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to cap off a 20-1 season and become the first cooperative team to win a state championship in boys ice hockey.
“I have so many brothers in Orono now,” said Dubay. “When we were younger every year we played against each other and fought hard against each other, we didn’t want the other guys to win. Then eventually we combined and we’ve loved each other ever since.”
Allan-Rahill’s game-winner came suddenly amid a succession of quality scoring bids for both teams early in the eight-minute overtime.
Sophomore forward Nate Young had the puck near center ice when he passed it to Dubay, who was building up speed along the right boards in the neutral zone. Just as Dubay crossed the blue line he was checked and went to one knee but stood back up before crossing the puck to his left.
“I was going to cut inside on the guy and then I thought I’d beat him outside if I hesitated for a minute,” said Dubay. “He got a little bit of a body on me but in my mind I said I had to get up and I had to throw it out front. I couldn’t stop there.
“I was just praying that someone would be trailing. We’ve been working on that all year.”
Not only was Allan-Rahill trailing the play, he was all alone. The senior forward gained control of the puck in the left circle and took an uncontested shot that Greely goalie Karsten Bourgoine blocked but could not control.
The rebound came right back to Allan-Rahill, and this time he found an open spot high in the far corner of the net.
“At the beginning of overtime I was like, ‘Jake, this is the universe designed for you,’” said Allan-Rahill. “I thought he was going to go out and score it, and for him to give me the pass … then the puck came back to me and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this is the chance.’
“I put it in and I have no clue what happened after that.”
What happened was a celebration that began on Lewiston ice but was sure to continue back home at two schools and one united hockey community.
“We’re all Old Town-Orono. No splits. We’re all one team,” said Old Town-Orono sophomore forward Tyler McCannell, who scored the Black Bears’ first two goals.
Old Town-Orono finished with a 37-30 advantage in shots on goal, with Black Bears’ goalie Kohle Parker stopping 28 shots to preserve the victory while Bourgoine made 34 shots in defeat.
Greely (17-3-1) struck on goals from Jake MacDonald and Andrew Moore within a 31-second span to take a 2-0 lead just 5:09 into the match.
“As soon as that second goal popped in it popped in my head, ‘No more,’” said Dubay. “We can’t let them get any more. We’ve got to battle through this and just smarten up and play with heart.”
Old Town-Orono broke through late in the period as McCannell scored on a second-chance shot.
Dubay made a rush down the right wing before wristing a shot off Bourgoine’s chest that caromed right to McCannell, who was charging toward the net from between the circles. He one-timed home the rebound to cut the deficit to 2-1 at 12:55.
Old Town-Orono then gained a two-man advantage for 53 seconds late in the opening period — the second penalty a five-minute major for boarding against Moore — but was unable to cash in before the intermission.
The Rangers then stymied the Black Bears on a 5-on-4 advantage of more than four minutes to open the second period.
“I looked at one of the coaches and said, ‘Boy, we missed out on a great opportunity and this may come back to haunt us,” said Old Town-Orono coach Denis Collins. “But the kids didn’t give up.”
Old Town-Orono had more success on a subsequent power play with a shot from the blue line by Austin Soucy testing Bourgoine as McCannell tried to poke at a potential rebound.
The Black Bears outshot Greely 6-4 in the second period.
“We had a plan of one period at a time,” said Collins. “When we came back in after the second period we said we tied the second period and lost the first, let’s take the third and if we can score a goal then the momentum should go our way.”
Old Town finally got the equalizer 5:32 into the third period off a faceoff. McCannell got the puck from Young just outside the right circle and rocketed a shot just inside the near post.
“Before that two guys got kicked out of the faceoff circle so I had to take it,” said Young. “The plan was to just move it forward so we did that and it just bounced back to Tyler and he put it in.”
The goal served to wake up both teams, which combined for 21 shots over the final 10 minutes of regulation only to have Parker and Bourgoine come up big on multiple occasions to send the match into overtime.