Wyatt Grondin played the role of hero.
The Scarborough freshman redirected a point shot from Jack Matthews in the slot that beat Thornton Academy goalie Gage Tarbox-Belanger to clinch the Class A State Championship in double overtime.
“Coach said to stand in front (of the net) to screen and get rebounds, but I tipped Matthews’ shot,” Grondin said. “I couldn’t see it, but I thought (the shot) was going to go wide and I just wanted to redirect it to the net.”
That was Grondin’s third overtime winner of the playoffs.
“He’s really a smart (heads-up) player,” Scarborough coach Eric Wirsing said. “He knows where to get to the empty spaces and find the back of the net. He reads the play well and he puts himself in good positions. That’s what it is; he’s a really smart hockey player.”
Rumelhart was confident going into the overtime sessions.
“We are comfortable together and we knew coming in the locker room, we knew it was going to end in that second overtime,” Rumelhart said. “We knew we were going to score, or they were going to score.”
This is the second time the Red Storm (13-8-1) has won the Class A state championship; the first time was back in 2015 against St. Dominic Academy. They also won a Class B state championship in 1995.
After defeating the 10-seed Portland/Deering in the preliminary round, the seventh-seeded Red Storm rattle off three wins against higher seeds.
Fifth-seeded Thornton Academy (15-6-0) was gunning for its third Class A state title. The Golden Trojans went back-to-back in 2011 and 2012.
“I thanked the seniors for everything they have done,” Thornton Academy coach Jamie Gagnon said. “They laid the foundation for our program going forward the next few years because of the way they played and how they led. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Will Fallona’s shot from the top of the crease squirted through Thornton goalie Gage Tarbox-Belanger to give the Red Storm a 1-0, just before the three-minute mark of the opening period. Rumelhart had the assist.
“I pass to someone they have to score,” Rumelhart said. “Working with my teammates and them putting it in (the goal) is awesome.”
The Red Storm kept the pressure on for the majority of the first period.
The Golden Trojans made a late push in the opening period firing seven of their eight shots in the final two minutes, but Scarborough’s Keegan Weed stopped them all.
“That (sequence) helped me,” Weed said. “That got me used to them shooting, but I knew we could be in a little trouble; they were starting to heat up.”
Weed kept the game at 1-0 in the second period, stopping all seven shots he faced in the middle frame.
“The second period on, I thought we were the much better hockey team, we were defending, I thought we were tight in the first,” Gagnon said. “Then in the second period, we started to establish our game, we didn’t dominate the who game, but we played much better and played our game as opposed to sitting on our heels.”
Tarbox-Belanger also stopped eight shots.
Evan Beaudette tied the game at the 9:18 mark of the third period when Colby Bilodeau shot was stopped by Weed, but Evan Beaudette fired the rebound through Weed’s five-hole.
“It was going to take something that wasn’t going to be a straight shot for sure,” Gagnon said. “We knew we had to get traffic, get a deflection or a rebound and attack the net.”
Less than a minute later, Scarborough went on the game’s only power-play, and Tarbox-Belanger made two saves to keep the game 1-1.
Rumelhart had a late rush, but Tarbox-Belanger (30 saves) gloved down his shot attempt at the buzzer at the end of the third period.
Thornton jumped out to start the first overtime session getting a couple of shots on goal in the first minute.
Weed (27 saves) had to make six saves in the first OT.
“It was a real experience in overtime; they kept getting shots on net,” Weed said. “Everybody was going back and forth; we just came out on top.
Late in the first overtime, Thornton Academy called its timeout with 1:40 remaining with the ensuing faceoff in their own zone. The Golden Trojans were able to clear the zone.
The Red Storm had three shots on goal in the first OT.
“We did some little things: blocking shots, getting sticks on sticks, just some little things,” Wirsing said. “Even though we weren’t playing our best hockey at that moment, we did some little things to help us get to a point where we can win,”