On Saturday night, the Noble/Wells Knights completed their season, losing to Cheverus in the regional semifinal game at the Lewiston Colisee. The Knights had a great season finishing with the best record the program has ever seen and successfully meeting the preseason player set season goal of making it back to the regional semifinal game at the Colisee. Congrats on a great season Knights!
Team banquet scheduled for Monday March 9, 6:00pm @ Noble High School.
Noble/Wells forward Dean Pratt, left, celebrates a goal in front of the student cheering section before he is mobbed by teammates during Western Maine Class A quarterfinal action against South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete on Tuesday at Rochester Arena. (Doyle/Democrat photo)
ROCHESTER — Noble/Wells has played its best hockey in the third period all season long. That was the case again on Tuesday night in the Knights’ postseason opener.
Third-seeded Noble/Wells scored thrice in the third to turn a tight game into a rout, en route to a 6-3 win over No. 6 South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete (South Portland herein) in the Western Maine Class A high school hockey quarterfinals.
“We come out strong in the first period, and for some reason we usually come out flat-footed in the second,” said Noble junior forward Dean Pratt, who notched a hat trick to add to his region-leading goal total. “But in the third, that’s usually when we pick it up, and I think that’s what happened here tonight. We came out strong and put it to them.”
With the win, Noble/Wells (16-3) earned a return trip to the regional semifinals, where they will face either No. 2 Cheverus (12-5-2) or No. 7 Lake Region/Fryeburg/Oxford Hills (10-6) Saturday (time TBD) at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston. Those two teams face off tonight.
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Doyle/Democrat photo Noble/Wells forward Ryan Marsh, center, slaps away at a loose puck in front of the South Portland net during Western Maine Class A quarterfinal action on Tuesday at Rochester Arena.
South Portland’s season is over at 9-9.
“They hung in there with us,” said Noble/Wells coach Keith St. Cyr. “First period we had a lot of pressure on them but we didn’t really see the shots. Second period we were all over them and their goalie kept them in the game. In the third, they started cracking and the penalties came. We just imposed our will on them in the third.”
The Knights led 3-1 after two periods, but saw their lead cut in half by South Portland’s Max Winson, whose goal 90 seconds into the final frame made it a 3-2 game. Edward Hellier and Kyle Halvorsen assisted on the goal.
It didn’t take long for Noble/Wells to reassert itself. A South Portland defender took an unfortunate and unforced spill in his defensive zone, and Pratt was right there to pick up the loose puck and fire it into the net unassisted for his second goal of the night at 2:13. Noble reestablished its two-goal cushion and never looked back.
“In the first period we missed a breakaway, missed an open net, missed another opportunity out front,” South Portland coach Joe Robinson said. “In these big games, you have to take advantage of those opportunities. (The) problem with our D is that they’re so young, they tend to focus on the puck instead of the body.”
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Dean Pratt, right, of Noble/Wells tries to keep the puck away from South Portland’s Harrison Johnson during Western Maine Class A quarterfinal action on Tuesday at Rochester Arena. (Doyle/Democrat photo)
Noble/Wells outshot the Red Riots by a 42-19 margin.
The teams skated to a 1-1 tie in the first period, with Noble’s Noah Pease opening the scoring at 6:15 of the frame, assisted by Pratt and Ryan Marsh. South Portland’s top scorer, Andrew Whipple, got into the act when his slap shot from the right faceoff circle beat Noble goalie Wyatt Ricker for the equalizer at 9:43.
Pratt put Noble back in front at 5:13 of the second period with his first of the night. After a scrum in front of the net, Pratt poked in a puck that appeared to deflect off of South Portland goalie Joe Grant to make it 2-1. Nathan DeWolf made it 3-1 in favor of the Knights when he buried a rebound of an Evan Whitten shot on a 2-on-1 break at 12:56. Noble/Wells took a 3-1 lead into the third period.
Any hope of a South Portland comeback in the third period took a hit when Whipple (along with Noble’s Kadin Lessard) was sent to the box at 7:38 for an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty with his team trailing 4-2. Shortly thereafter, with Noble on a power play, Pratt scored his second of the night to put the game out of reach at 9:20.
South Portland’s Aidan Schifano scored at 12:03 to make it 5-3, but Pratt put the exclamation point on the win and made his hat trick complete with an unassisted tally just 49 seconds later. Pratt now has 53 goals on the season.
The Knights wrapped up their regular season with a week of wins grasping 3rd place in the Maine Class A West Division.
Finishing 15-3-0, a regular season program record!
Tuesday the Knights will face-off against the South Portland Red Riots for the 3rd time this year in their home playoff opener! Come out and support the team as they try to make a return trip to the Lewiston Coliseum!
Over the holiday break the Knights went undefeated in the Annual Brian Doucette Memorial Christmas Tournament at Rochester Ice Arena. The Knights finished the tournament 3-0 bringing the glory and trophy back to Brian's school!
This past Saturday the Knights faced the York Wildcats in what was surely a scoring thriller for attending fans. The game ended with the Knights outscoring the Wildcats 10-8 with an open net goal from Captain Dean Pratt in the final minute of play. This was a big win for the team.
The Knights have a full week of practice to prepare for the Thornton Academy Trojans, one of their toughest challenges of the year.