WINSLOW — Neither an early deficit nor a hot goaltender could keep the Winslow boys hockey team from a postseason rematch with cross-town rival Waterville.

The Black Raiders were frustrated throughout Tuesday night by a 40-save performance from Hamdpen Academy goalie Cole Benner, but persistence paid off as Jacob Trask’s goal with 2 minutes, 51 seconds remaining gave Winslow a 3-2 win at Sukee Arena in the Eastern B quarterfinals.

The win sets up a semifinal matchup between Winslow and Waterville on Saturday at Sukee for the right to go to the Eastern B finals.

“I’ve been coaching for over 20 years and I’ve never been more proud of a hockey team,” Winslow coach Andy Dube said. “A lot of grit coming back, playing hard through all three periods but again, I’ve never been more proud of a hockey team that I’ve coached.”

Winslow faced an uphill battle throughout the night as Marcus Dunn’s goal with 3:20 to play in the first period gave Hampden a lead that it would hold throughout the better part of the night. The Black Raiders got great scoring chances throughout the first two periods, yet each time Benner was in position to make as many saves as it took to keep his team on top.

“He’s a great player. He’s a big goalie and he’s really fast, which you don’t see much,” Trask said. “He’s kind of got everything going for him. He really stumped us for the first couple periods.

The Broncos dealt Winslow a potentially crushing blow when Dylan Cray extended Hampden’s advantage to 2-0 with 30 seconds remaining in the second period, but the Black Raiders responded with the kind of resiliency that would ultimately carry them to a victory Tuesday night.

With just seconds remaining in the period Alex Berard fired a shot low on net from the far end of the right circle that trickled past Benner. The goal provided hope in what would have otherwise been a dire situation for Winslow.

“That was a big one. That was probably the key goal of the night,” Dube said. “It gave us momentum to build on, it kept us within range and that was probably the turning point of the game.”

Even after the goal momentum still lingered on the Broncos’ side, as Benner continued his strong play to keep Hampden in front. That would not last though, as Grenier — like Berard before him — found an opening low to get a shot past Benner to tie the game up with 7:04 remaining.

While the Black Raiders found their scoring touch, goaltender Andrew Beals continued his strong play. Dunn got a clear opportunity on the junior goalie with about 4:30 to play that Beals turned away for one of his 28 saves to keep Winslow in front.

“I came out, did my normal routine and they scored first, but we weren’t stopping there,” Beals said. “We had a lot for redemption after losing to them big time up there. We came back, we weren’t going to let down and we weren’t individuals out there on the ice. We worked as a team.”

Winslow’s go-ahead goal was every bit of a team goal. Fowler’s initial shot was stopped by Benner but he could not cover it up, thanks in large part to Grenier’s work in front of the net. The puck remained loose until it found its way to Trask.

“At first I couldn’t really believe it went in,” Trask said of the goal. “I just kind of pushed it on net and it somehow snuck through. I was just really happy — I was happy for everyone.”From that point forward the Black Raiders’ defense held and prevented Hampden from getting any solid scoring opportunities.

Evan Crawley – 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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