HS hockey: Witches triumphant in return to Class B

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LEWISTON —David Figlioli’s hands shot toward the rafters.

The York senior captain thought for certain he’d netted the game’s first goal, on a rebound to the right side of the cage, while Brewer senior keeper Eric White lay prone to the left.

White had other ideas. He lunged to his left and opened his catching glove. Figlioli’s shot smacked the padding and White held on as the York sniper’s hands quickly fell from the sky to cover his head. He knew he’d missed a golden opportunity.

“That one was more luck than anything,” White said. “I just stuck my glove out and luckily (Figlioli) shot it right into my glove.”

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 “He’s phenomenal,” Brewer coach David Shedd said. “He’s not bad for a kid who, hockey’s not even his No. 1 sport. Baseball is, but we’ll take him, and the way he played. He had a great game.”

White and his Brewer’s teammates recovered. Three different players scored and White finished with 24 saves on 25 shots as the Witches earned their second Class B state crown in four years with a 3-1 victory over York.

Saturday’s game was just the third this season in which Brewer (19-1-1) was held to three goals or less, the second against Class B competition, and the first time in 2010.

York (17-4) controlled the play early, and maintained its grip for most of the opening frame.

“We knew we were ready for a game like this,” York coach Michael Vessey said. “We’ve been playing such a tough schedule, against some of the top teams in Class A, all season, and by the end of the year, we were dominating Class B pretty well. We knew we could be right there with Brewer all game, and we were. The kids never quit.”

The Witches got on the board first at 11:44 of the opening stanza when Alec Pacheco slid into the low slot and ripped a wrister high glove over York keeper Alex Ahrikenchikh on a feed from Kyle Alexander.

The Wildcats finally converted all of that momentum into a goal early in the second period.

Paddy Murphy, who twice missed point-blank chances in the opening period, buried a one-timer from the left side to even the game at 1-1.

“We knew they were favored, we knew we were the underdogs,” Murphy said, “but we had the adrenaline pumping hard. I think he was expecting a full wrap-around and he left that short side open, and I tucked it in.”

Brewer answered back when Lucas Lamond buried a rebound on the right side.

In the third, Brewer had a pair of golden opportunities to add to its lead, but a pair of point-blank chances into an empty cage sailed well high of the mark.

The Witches did draw a penalty on the sequence, though, and another shortly thereafter. On the two-man advantage, Nick Risser slipped a wrister through Ahrikenchikh short side as he cut to the middle from the left boards.

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