The Star-Herald

PI hockey team uses big third period to down Hampden

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The Wildcat hockey team moved into second place in the Class B North Heal Point standings with an impressive performance at home on Saturday.

Presque Isle utilized its offensive depth and outscored the Hampden Academy Broncos 4-0 in the final period to break open a close game and go on to a 7-2 victory.

“We’re one of the few teams in this league that plays three lines, and in the second period, their top line only came off the ice twice,” said Wildcat coach Carl Flynn. “We knew they would be gassed in the third period and thought we’d be able to give it to them, so we had our guys make contact with their two top threats to try to tire them out and slow them down.

“We knew they’d start turning the puck over and they did,” he added.

Hampden went into the game as the No. 4 team in the division, but fell to 10-4. The Wildcats improved their record to 11-4. The teams will meet again this Saturday, Feb. 17, this one hosted by the Broncos at Penobscot Ice Arena in Brewer.

The Wildcats held a 3-0 lead midway through the second period before the visitors broke through for a pair of goals to cut the deficit to one. Hampden’s second goal, scored by Marcus Dunn off a Cooper Leland assist, came with just 21 seconds left in the period.

Presque Isle answered after the intermission. Junior forward Thomas Patenaude got things going three minutes into the third by nestling a high shot past Bronco goalie Cooper Ryan into the net, with junior Jake Stevens picking up the assist.

Freshman Colby Carlisle notched a power play goal with 4:48 to play before the tandem of Patenaude and Stevens connected for the prettiest goal of the afternoon by cashing in on a 2-on-1 opportunity 25 seconds later. Patenaude took a pass from defenseman Tanner Smith and bolted down the right side, then made a pass across the goal mouth and Stevens drove the puck in.

“Two on ones are something you practice all the time, but in games they happen but never seem to get executed the way you practice them,” Flynn said, “but that was textbook execution.”

Gage LeTourneau, another freshman, closed out the third-period flurry off a Carlisle assist with 2:22 to play.

“We wanted to come out strong and forecheck hard in the third period because we didn’t want to blow the lead,” Patenaude said.

PI outshot Hampden in the third period 13-5 after the Broncos held the edge in that department over the first two periods by a 23-16 margin.

But Presque Isle scored goals on three of its first five shots on goal. Rhylee Kinney and LeTourneau turned in unassisted goals in the first period before Connor DeMerchant gave the Wildcats the 3-0 lead 2:09 into the second.

Seth Shawley finally broke through for Hampden with 8:05 remaining in the period on the power play and besides Dunn’s goal later in the second, the Broncos were unable to solve the PI defense and goalie Andre Daigle.

“We needed this one to have a chance to finish in the top two and get a bye into the semifinals, so it was important,” Patenaude said.

The Wildcats play the Blackhawks in Houlton Tuesday and after the Hampden game close out the regular season Monday, Feb. 19, with a home game against Lawrence/Skowhegan/MCI at 1 p.m.

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