LEWISTON — Having one good goalie is necessary to make it this far in the high school hockey tournament.
Having a pair of them is a luxury.
Saturday, it was Grant Carrier’s turn to shine for Saint Dominic High School. The sophomore goalie stopped all 17 shots he saw and Kyle Holtet, Dakota Keene and Cody Rodrigue provided all the offense the Saints needed as they skated past a speedy, physical Bangor squad in a 3-0 Eastern Class A semifinal victory at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
“We have two great goalies, and they both do a good job,” St. Dom’s coach Steve Ouellette said. “To pitch a shutout, that was just huge for Carrier. Both of those guys (Carrier and Austin Christopher) come to the rink and work hard every day, and I hope that’s catchy to the rest of the guys on the team.”
“The defense did a good job of keeping them to the outside tonight,” Carrier said. “It was easier, being able to watch the puck.”
Carrier was good early, and made perhaps the save of the game with his team enjoying a 1-0 lead in the second period, sliding from his left to right to make a pad stop.
The Rams, meanwhile, leaned on a solid goalie of their own in Chris Howat, who stopped 23 of 26 in the loss.
“If somebody bought a ticket, it was worth it,” said Bangor coach Denis Collins.
Having played the Saints twice this season, Bangor did its homework, and worked hard to stymie the Saints early.
“We knew what we had to do to shut them down,” Collins said. “They’re a good team, they’re a skilled team and obviously they have improved this season.
“Their breakout, off the boards, we prepared for that, too,” Collins continued. “We did a very good job with that and that’s probably why we stuck with them for that long. They’re very quick.”
The Saints did some adjusting of their own, and ultimately figured out a way to push through for the win.
“That was very nerve wracking,” Ouellette said. “I thought Bangor played a great game. They made some adjustments that we hadn’t seen yet, and we had to change some things up.”
In a fast-paced first period, neither team found much in the way of offense. The Saints had the better chances, and enjoyed a 6-3 edge in shots, but couldn’t solve Howat.
The Saints pressured early, and rattled off the game’s first five shots in the opening five minutes of play. As they cooled, the Rams found their footing. After getting their initial shot on Carrier 9:25 into the contest, they managed two more quick ones before again falling to a defensive frame of mind.
The teams jostled back and forth again in the second. Bangor tested Carrier a few more times, to no avail. The Saints, meanwhile, finally solved Howat. Holtet was the sparkplug for the Saints. Chris Finlay initially slowed a Will Desmarais shot with a tip attempt before Holtet gathered it and roofed it over Howat’s glove hand to put the Saints in front by one.
“It was Finlay that actually tipped it first,” Holtet said. “It basically landed right on my stick … I kind of whiffed on it, but it went in anyway.”
Keene added a short-side tally unassisted later in the third to expand the Saints’ advantage to two, and Rodrigue put the icing on the cake with 1:06 to play, banging home a rebound in front.
The Saints advance to the Eastern Class A state title game Tuesday at the Colisee at 7 p.m., where they will face No. 1 Lewiston.