Players to Watch: Sr. F Patrick Grant, Yarmouth; Sr. D Walter Conrad, Yarmouth; Jr. F Tristan Hebert, Gardiner; Jr. g Michael Poirier, Gardiner; Sr. F Matt Deveaux, Brunswick; Sop. F Thomas Carr, York; Sr. F James Ross, Kennebunk; Sr. D Donovan Connor, Kennebunk; Sr. G Grant Rusk, Cape Elizabeth; Sr. F Carl Bear, Gorham.

Favorites: Yarmouth, Gardiner

The top two seeds hope to have better postseasons than last year. The No. 1 Clippers were upset by eventual regional champion Gorham in the semifinals. The No. 2 Tigers stayed home with a 7-11 record. Yarmouth jumped from 10 wins to 14 this year, and looked every bit the part of being the region’s best team. Two of the Clippers’ four losses came to Class B North top seed Waterville and Class A South No. 2 seed Falmouth. The others were at B South No. 4 seed Brunswick and against No. 6 seed Cape Elizabeth to end the season. The Tigers started with losses to Yarmouth and Gorham, then lost just two more tiems the rest of the way.

Yarmouth has a potent one-two offensive punch with forward Grant and defensemen Conrad, who each scored 13 goals and combined for 73 points. Junior Bill Jacobs added 12 goals, and sophomore goalie Dan Latham was solid in net.

The Tigers have a brick wall between the pipes in Poirier, who let in less than two goals per game. Hebert scored 17 goals in 17 games.

Darkhorses: Kennebunk, Cape Elizabeth

The Rams were the top seed and on their way to the state championship game before a late rally by Gorham to take the regional final. Kennebunk returns a lot of that roster, save for standout goalie Mike LeBlanc and some other top players, and head into this postseason as Class B South’s No. 5 seed. Right behind the Rams is No. 6 Cape Elizabeth, which has five Class b state titles to its name. Both these teams will start the playoffs on the road, but experience against top competition and talent could lift them both to upsets in the tournament.

Kennebunk might not have LeBlanc in net anymore, but seniors Ross, Connor, Pat Gassman and Bo Beveridge provide offensive punch and experience on the ice. The Rams showed flashes on inconsistency, but did play some good Class A and Class B teams tough.

The Capers’ upset hopes begin in net with Rusk, who allowed just 1.88 goals per game. Cape Elizabeth doesn’t flash with offensive firepower, but can play the type of wear-down hockey that wins in the playoffs. Besides the win over Yarmouth, the Capers played four Class A teams tough.

Fun Facts: Conrad had a remarkable 13 goals and 22 assists from the blue line for Yarmouth, and led the team with a plus-33 plus/minus. … Gardiner reeled off an 11-game unbeaten streak after opening the season with a pair of losses, including beating five Class A teams. … York, which doesn’t have any seniors on its team, started the season 7-0. … Seniors scored 42 of Kennebunk’s 60 goals.

Overview: Some of Class B South’s perennial contenders are underdogs heading into this postseason. Kennebunk, Cape Elizabeth and Gorham will all go on the road for the quarterfinals. Multiple-time state champion Greely is staying home. The top-ranked Clippers will have plenty of motivation after bowing out in the quarterfinals as the No. 2 seed a year ago, and Yarmouth has enough talent and exprience to take advantage of that motivation. Gardiner has just one senior (Logan Peacock) on a team that open its postseason against defending regional champ Gorham. Peacock was second on the team in goals (14) and third in points (19). His leadership might be more valuable than his statistics in the playoffs if the Tigers want to make a run.

Prediction: Yarmouth


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