AUBURN — Poland/Gray-New Gloucester took an important step as a hockey program this season, earning its first-ever home playoff contest.

The Patriotic Knights’ first playoff win will have to wait at least another season.

Phil Frost netted a goal and added a pair of assists, four other Bangor skaters scored goals and keeper Chris Howatt stopped all 18 shots he faced, leading the No. 6 Rams to a 5-0 victory over No. 3 Poland/Gray-New Gloucester at a frigid and jam-packed Ingersoll Arena on Tuesday in the teams’ Eastern Class A quarterfinal.

“It’s like the beginning of the season, we started off with a bang,” Bangor coach Denis Collins said. “We seem to be coming back to that. We needed this game to roll into Saturday.”

Bangor advances to face No. 2 St. Dom’s at the Colisee in Lewiston on Saturday in one Eastern Class A semifinal. Waterville, a 3-2 overtime winner over MHW on Tuesday, will face Lewiston.

Bangor and Poland/Gray-New Gloucester never met in the regular season, but Bangor played an arguably tougher schedule. With fewer victories, the Rams skated into the playoffs a lower seed.


“We really had to keep our heads in the game, stay focused and just play hockey,” Frost said.

Poland/Gray-New Gloucester added another notch to the growing list of team accomplishments. What the Patriotic Knights couldn’t add to the list, though, was a 47th win in four years.

“These seniors, this was a great group for us,” Poland/Gray-New Gloucester coach Aaron Rand said. “They’ve gotten better each year and really set a precedent for the younger kids. They played hard tonight, they all did.”

The Rams got on the board first later in the first on a broken play-turned-good.

Zach Papsadora tried to find Frost cutting up the left boards, but missed and the puck caromed into the Poland/Gray-NG zone. Frost chased it down behind the cage, curled to the right corner and centered the puck into a crowd. The puck pinballed at the top of the blue paint, and Adam King batted it past a scrambling Matt Ouellette for the early 1-0 advantage.

The Patriotic Knights nearly responded. Arnold had his second quality scoring chance of the period 1:30 later. Busting up the left boards, he cut to the center behind the Bangor defenseman and tried to stuff the puck five-hole through Howatt, who closed his pads too quickly, thwarting the attempt.


“I just put one pad down, held the post tight,” Howatt said. “He took the shot instead of going across.”

Howatt stood tall in the opening frame, while the rest of the players got their legs underneath them.

“His rebounds were to the side today, they were not up the middle,” Collins said. “I was given a few secrets today that they were going to clog up the middle, so we told him, the rebounds have to go to the sides.”

“I was tracking the puck really well,” Howatt said.

That first period turned out to the the Knights’ best.

“For the first seven or eight minutes, we had great momentum, great pressure,” Rand said. “They held us back and then kind of took the game over. They’re big, fast, and they played well.”


The Rams opened things up in the second, outshooting the Patriotic Knights 15-3 in the frame. More importantly, Bangor tacked on three more goals to take firm hold of the contest.

Frost collected his team’s second score 2:37 into the period on a steal in the center zone. He streaked up the right side boards, cut to the middle and popped a second chance shot through Howatt.

“After coming out of the locker room, we knew we had to pick up the pace,” Frost said. “Their defenseman tried to pass it on the blue line, I got a stick on it, beat their defenseman to the puck and had a 1-on-0 on the goalie.”

Tom Bearor made it 3-0 on a rebound at the left post at 4:13.

“You could see on the kids’ faces, they weren’t ready for that,” Rand said.

Carl Farnham did the same from the bottom of the right circle at 12:28 to push the lead to four.

“The second period has always been a bad period for us,” Collins said. “Today, it was a good period for us. The kids were having fun, they were talking on the bench. They started to play together, started to gel.”

Adam Toth-Javor capped the scoring with a tip-in tally late in the third on a point shot by Zach Papsadora.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: