ORONO, Maine — The Brewer High School Witches spent two seasons in Class A after winning the state Class B hockey championship in 2007.
They will try to claim another Class B crown on Saturday at the Colisee in Lewiston after an impressive 8-1 victory over Presque Isle in Tuesday night’s Eastern Maine final at Alfond Arena.
Top seed Brewer is now 18-1-1 after winning its 14th straight. Third seed Presque Isle, the defending Eastern Maine B champ, finished up at 15-5, including three losses to Brewer.
Brewer will play the winner of Wednesday’s York-Yarmouth Western Maine final in Saturday’s 1 p.m. title game.
The Witches were much faster and much deeper and dominated all aspects of the game, giving the Wildcats limited time and space with the puck while spending the vast majority of the game in the offensive zone.
Brewer outshot Presque Isle 46-15 and received goals from seven different players.
“We’re deep. We have three lines that can all score,” said Brewer senior right wing and tri-captain Nick Risser.
Freshman left wing Spencer Valley had a pair of goals and an assist. He has five goals in Brewer’s two playoff wins.
Valley and the other three players who divide time on the third line combined for four goals and four assists as Lucas Lamond and Joey Fowler also had goals and Kyle Alexander had three assists.
“Our [third] line did well for the second game in a row,” said Spencer Valley. “We came through at the end of the season, which is good.”
Tyler White, Brody Valley, Evan Nadeau and Jamie Williamson had the other Brewer goals.
“They kept coming. Their offense was just too powerful,” said Presque Isle senior defenseman and co-captain Steve Ford.
“They were on top of their game. They put five great players out there all the time,” said Presque Isle senior center Brennen Shaw, who scored his 99th career goal and 35th of the season for the Wildcats’ only tally despite not having an edge on his left skate for two periods before getting his skate sharpened between the second and third periods.
“I was tickled with the backchecking. It was phenomenal,” said Brewer coach Dave Shedd. “There were times when I saw three skaters [on the puck].”
Presque Isle junior goalie Josh MacFarline kept the Wildcats within striking distance through two periods by making 23 saves as Brewer led 3-1. He finished with 38 stops.
“He played a wonderful game. I was very impressed with him,” said Risser.
But the Witches received third-period goals exactly four minutes apart from Fowler, Nadeau and Lamond to punch their ticket to the state-title game. Williamson and Spencer Valley added late goals.
“They’re a good team. They deserved it. They outplayed us,” said MacFarline.
Fowler scored at the 1:56 mark after MacFarline had made a point-blank stop.
“[MacFarline] made a save off [Alexander] and it bounced up into my chest. It was sitting there at the far post and I tapped it in,” said Fowler.
Nadeau converted on the power play after MacFarline had made a save on Chris Lopez’s point shot and a few more off the ensuing scramble.
The puck landed in the crease and Nadeau steered it home.
Lamond capped the flurry with a wrister from the middle of the slot.
Presque Isle opened the scoring against the run of play as Shaw had a nice chest-high deflection against the grain off a Mitchell Davis shot.
But Tyler White answered 1:56 later when he poked the puck away from Shaw, drove down the left side and fired a wrist shot under the cross bar into the far corner.
The Witches caught a break in the second period to take a 2-1 lead.
Alexander’s indirect pass off the boards was chased down by Spencer Valley at the offensive blue line and his centering pass glanced off the skate of Presque Isle defenseman Jason Martin and into the net.
“It was lucky deflection,” said Spencer Valley.
Brody Valley, Spencer’s cousin, expanded the lead just 25 seconds later when he took a chest-high slap shot from the left point that glanced in off MacFarline’s body.
“I just shot it on net and hoped for the best,” said Brody Valley.
“It hit me under my [left] arm and dropped down. I didn’t see it. I thought I had it in my equipment,” said MacFarline.
The Witches held Presque Isle without a shot on goal in the middle period until Zac Campbell’s flip-in from center ice with 3:30 remaining.
Brewer outshot Presque Isle 18-6 in the first period but MacFarline was superb as he made 17 saves, including several gems.
Senior goalie Eric White finished with 14 saves for the Witches.
“We focused on the little things and when you do that, good things happen,” said Brewer senior defenseman Lopez.