LEWISTON – The Maine Gladiators Tier I Pee Wee hockey team made a surprising run to a second-place finish in the recently completed state tournament.

After finishing fourth place during the regular season, the Gladiators went 3-1 to finish pool play in second and earn a spot in the state championship game against top-seeded and undefeated Casco Bay.

The title game was played at Androscoggin Bank Colisee, where Casco Bay scored a pair of power-play goals in a 4-0 win. Casco Bay heads to Connecticut for the Tier I regional from March 7-9.

Despite the loss, the Gladiators qualified for the Tier II regional at Sukee Arena in Winslow, also March 7-9. The Gladiators face New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island in pool play the first two days.

Goaltender Spencer Simoneau made 23 saves for the Gladiators in the title game. The Gladiators were done in by penalties, yielding Casco Bay seven power plays throughout the contest.

The Gladiators rebounded from a 7-0 loss to Casco Bay at the start of pool play to capture the next three games.

Coleman Morency, Tyler Hutchinson, Kyle Lemelin and Bryan Hall each scored in a 4-2 win over the Maine Hurricanes. Lemelin, Morency, Eddie Emerson and Kile Conn earned assists. Simoneau made 18 saves.

Lemelin scored a power-play goal in the second period to break a scoreless tie and send the Gladiators to a 4-1 win over the Southern Maine Breakers. Emerson, Morency and Hall scored for the Gladiators. Hutchinson registered two assists, with Morency, Conn and Evan Gosselin picking up one each. Zach O’Connor made 20 saves to post the win in goal.

The Gladiators and Maine Freeze met in the final game of pool play. The Freeze needed a win as opposed to a tie in order to advance, so they pulled their goaltender with the game tied, 3-3. Hutchinson forced the puck out of a pile and sent it the length of the ice into the open cage for the 4-3 win.

Hutchinson also scored a power-play goal, with Lemelin and Hall completing the scoring. Lemelin had two assists to go along with one each for Logan McGuire, Nathan Tozier, Emerson, Morency and Conn. Simoneau was solid again with 17 saves.

Valley League play resumes for the Gladiators this weekend with games against Dover and Arlington in Lawrence, Mass.


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