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After suffering an 8-0 drubbing at the hands of Greely in last year’s Class B state final, the Old Town-Orono Black Bears wanted a measure of revenge in Monday afternoon’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day regular-season contest.
And they got it.
Senior left wing Tyler McCannell notched two goals and an assist, junior center Tanner Evans added a goal and two assists and sophomore goalie Aidan Rand made 25 saves as Old Town-Orono posted a 4-2 victory in an entertaining affair at Alfond Arena in Orono.
Old Town-Orono had beaten Greely 3-2 in overtime in the Class B state final two years ago.
The Black Bears went 3-for-4 on the power play.
“The guys were hungry,” Old Town-Orono coach Chris Thurlow said. “Hockey is a game of mistakes and this is the fewest mistakes we’ve made in a game all year long. They got the puck in deep [into the offensive zone] and they bought in on the backcheck after not backchecking very well against Presque Isle on Saturday night [in a 4-2 loss].
“The power play has been phenomenal this year. They have great patience, they get the puck to the point, get shots to the front of the net and get rebounds,” he added.
Sophomore right wing Evan Dutil staked Greely to a 1-0 lead in the first period with a power-play goal, but McCannell tied the contest on the power play with 5:13 left in the second period and senior right wing Gabe Talon gave Old Town-Orono the lead for good just 1:41 later.
“We were jacked up for this game,” said Evans. “This was definitely our best game of the year.”
“On a scale of 1-to-10, it was a 9.8,” McCannell said.
McCannell and Evans expanded the lead with power-play goals in the third period before Dutil scored his second of the game.
“Give credit to them. They converted on the power play and that had a big impact on the game,” said Greely coach Barry Mothes. “I was a little disappointed. We didn’t mark up and execute on a couple of those. And we’ve been struggling offensively.”
McCannell tied it when he redirected Nate Young’s wrist shot from the left point past goalie Jared Swisher for his 10th goal of the season.
“It was off the bottom of my blade. I was two or three feet out and it went in short side,” McCannell said.
Talon gave the 7-3-1 Black Bears the lead for good, off assists from McCannell and Evans, with his third of the year.
They cycled the puck in the Greely zone and the puck sat momentarily in the low slot where the alert Talon wristed it between Swisher’s pads.
“I just wanted to get it on net and it found a hole,” Talon said.
McCannell’s second goal came 6:06 into the third period when Evans’ shot glanced into the short side off his skate.
“[Henderson] won the faceoff and Tanner rolled out to his shooting side,” McCannell said. “He got the puck to my feet and I angled it in [with my skate].”
Evans’ important insurance goal 2:55 later came off the rebound of a Dylan Street shot that hit Henderson in front. Evans lifted it into the short-side corner for his sixth of the year.
Dutil made things interesting by deflecting a Brennan Rawnsley shot past Rand but the Black Bears held on.
Swisher finished with 19 saves for the 6-2-1 Rangers.
Old Town-Orono was playing its second game in three days after losing to Presque Isle while Greely was playing its first game in 11 days.
But neither team showed any ill effects in the fast-paced game.
Dutil scored his ninth goal of the season at the 8:23 mark of the period when his low one-timer from the midpoint, off a diagonal pass from Andy Moore, sailed by Rand’s left skate.
“They’re always a great team,” dynamic Greely senior center Moore said. “It’s always a battle when we play them and credit them with having a good game tonight.”