ORONO – After surviving a nerve-wracking four-hour bus trip that involved a disintegrated driver’s side windshield wiper blade, the Presque Isle High School hockey team faced a do-or-die game against Brewer on Saturday evening here.
Senior goalie Dan Namur kicked aside 20 shots, including Jason Seavey’s second-period breakaway and Chris O’Donnell’s point-blank opportunity seconds later, and senior right wing Owen McMahon scored the game-winner as the Wildcats nipped the Witches 3-1.
Joel Duncan’s empty net goal sewed up the win for Eastern Maine Class B playoff bound Presque Isle, which snapped a four-game losing streak and improved its record to 8-7-2 entering a Monday finale against Lawrence of Fairfield. Brewer will take an 11-8-1 record into the playoffs.
“This was the Dan Namur show as far as I’m concerned,” said Presque Isle Coach Rod MacIntosh. “He played an excellent game of hockey.”
“We figured out every combination of Heal points and if we didn’t beat Brewer, we weren’t going to make the playoffs,” said the 5-foot-8, 150-pound Namur. “This was one of my stronger games.
“I felt real confident and when I feel good and confident, I come way out and don’t give them anything to shoot at. It makes them screw up more than it makes me do anything,” added Namur.
“He played pretty well,” said his Brewer counterpart, junior Shawn Murphy. “He seemed to be on top of his game. More than me anyway.”
Murphy was victimized by a soft goal by Mike Gallagher that broke a scoreless tie 37 seconds into the second period.
Following a face-off just outside the Brewer blue line, Gallagher took a seemingly harmless 55-foot wrist shot that sneaked through the pads of Murphy.
“I knew Doug (Carlisle) was rushing the net so even if it didn’t go in, you can count on Doug being there to put it in,” said sophomore left wing Gallagher.
“I was looking up. I think Carlisle was coming down on me. It was one of those stupid things you do,” said Murphy, who had 15 stops.
Murphy couldn’t be faulted on McMahon’s game-winner 2:18 later.
Murphy saved Jason Straetz’s wraparound but the rebound came to McMahon at the far post.
“I had the open net and I tucked it in,” said McMahon.
Brewer junior center O’Donnell scored the only goal for the Witches with 2:52 left in the middle period when he chipped home the rebound of a Ben Ellis shot.
The Witches had a two-man advantage for 1:35 spanning the end of the second period into the third period but senior defenseman Tim Belden anchored a very effective kill for PI.
Wildcats 3, Witches 1 Presque Isle 0 2 1 – 3 Brewer 0 1 0 – 1
First period – No scoring. Penalties – Brewer, Ellis, interference, 7:59; Brewer, Blaine, hitting from behind, 9:24; Brewer, Seavey, high sticking, 11:24; PI, T. Folsom, roughing, 12:46.
Second period – 1. PI, Gallagher (Carlisle, Duncan), :37; 2. PI, McMahon (Straetz), 2:55; 3. Brewer, O’Donnell (Ellis, Seavey), 12:08. Penalties – PI, Straetz, roughing, 5:49; Brewer, Schwartz, roughing, 5:49; Brewer, Ellis, interference, 7:01; PI, Carlisle, tripping, 14:09; PI, McMahon, hitting from behind, 14:34.
Third period – 4. PI, Duncan (unassisted), 14:43, (en). Penalties – Brewer, O’Donnell, high sticking, 11:28.
Shots on goal – Presque Isle 3-8-7 – 18; Brewer 6-11-4 – 21
Goaltenders – Presque Isle, Dan Namur; Brewer, Shawn Murphy
Power plays – Presque Isle 0-5; Brewer 0-3