HALLOWELL — The Gardiner hockey team wrapped up the home portion of its schedule Wednesday against Brunswick in a rare afternoon matinée.

But an Ice Vault farewell this likely was not, after the Tigers inched closer to securing a Class B South home playoff game with a 3-2 squeaker over the Dragons.

“A barn-burner,” Gardiner coach Sam Moore said. “Just a huge win for us. It’s looking pretty good for us right now. We still have to take care of some business but we control our own destiny. I like where we’re at.”

And with good reason.

Gardiner (11-3-1) maintained its grip on second place in B South Heal points and, with just three regular season games remaining, is all but assured of reaching the postseason for the first time in seven years.

Logan Peacock, Jake Folsom and Tristan Hebert scored for the Tigers, which led 2-0 after two periods and then withstood a late Brunswick (8-6-1) flurry to pull out the victory.

Gardiner goalie Michael Poirier was steady throughout, finishing with 18 saves.

“I can’t say enough about him,” Moore said. “He’s the backbone of this team. Any time they got a good shot off, he just shut them down.”

Hebert scored what would be the game-winning goal with 2:06 left in the third period when he beat Brunswick goalie Gabe Palizay (20 saves) from out front to the blocker side.

“I think their D messed up and I was lucky enough to get it in,” he said. “I was going blocker side.”

The goal made it 3-1 Tigers but the Dragons, who sit third in Heal points, responded when Jared Hummer scored 20 seconds later.

“We made it interesting,” Brunswick coach Bill Bodwell said. “It was a wild last minute.”

Indeed, Poirier came up with two big stops in the final 45 seconds to preserve the victory.

“I got a lot of help from the people in front of me,” he said. “I felt really ready to play (Wednesday), though. This was a good win. We needed it.”

Peacock opened the scoring 5:16 into the game when he came down the left side, received a drop pass from Folsom and beat Palizay to the blocker side.

“He just got me the puck and I buried it,” Peacock said.

The Tigers extended the lead when Folsom converted a breakaway with 1:07 left in the second period.

“I kind of misfired on the shot but it trickled through the pads,” he said. “It went five-hole, where I wanted it to go.”

It stayed 2-0 until Brunswick senior Matthew Deveaux scored from out 5:04 into the third period.

“We knew this was going to be a tough game,” Moore said. “We expected a physical, one-goal game, and that’s what we got.”

Added Peacock: “We’ve come a long way. This is the first time we’re going to the playoffs in a very long time. That’s the goal anyway. We also want a home playoff game. I think we’re in good shape but we still have some work to do.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5618

[email protected]

Twitter: @billstewartMTM


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