LEWISTON — A season few outside of Gardiner thought possible at the beginning of the year finally came to an end Wednesday night at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

The second-seeded Tigers — who have more freshmen (three) than seniors (two) — met their match Wednesday in a 5-0 loss to No. 1 Yarmouth (16-4-0) in the Class B South boys hockey championship.

“You’ve got to prove you belong here before people accept you and we’ve been out of the picture for a long time,” Gardiner coach Sam Moore said. “Teams have kind of gotten used to kicking Gardiner around and counting them as a win on their schedule before they get there. We turned some heads this year and some guys should notice.

“…The kids will be coming back next year believing. They’ll be coming back with a lot of confidence and believing in what they can accomplish.”

The Clippers — who beat Gardiner 2-0 in the season opener for both teams — will face Class B North champ Waterville (18-1-1) for the state title Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Colisee.

“It was a tough game with them, 2-0, they played us really tough so I stayed up spending a lot of time watching some tape of them from that first game trying to figure out what we could do with game planning,” Yarmouth coach David St. Pierre said. “We forechecked really, really well (Wednesday). I thought we bottled them up when we had to. We forced them into some turnovers that I don’t think that they wanted.”

After taking a 1-0 lead late in the first period on a goal from Noah Grondin, Yarmouth and junior forward Bill Jacobs pulled away in the second.

The Clippers halted a Gardiner (15-5-1) rush to open the period and cleared the puck into the neutral zone, where Jacobs chipped the puck to himself past an oncoming Tiger defender. The poke sprung himself and Grondin free for a breakaway. Moments later, Jacobs kept the puck himself and finished with a shot over Gardiner goalie Michael Poirier’s left shoulder to make it 2-0 1:57 into the period.

It was just 3:11 after Jacobs’ goal that Gardiner’s Cam Bigelow was whistled for holding, and the Clippers wasted little time in taking advantage. Yarmouth won a faceoff in the Tigers’ defensive zone, got a shot on Poirier (29 saves) and ultimately its third goal when Jacobs swooped in for the rebound just 16 seconds into the power play.

“Yarmouth, they deserved to win that game,” Moore said. “They beat us to the puck, they won the one on one battles and they scored some nice goals. My hat’s off to them. They deserved it.”

The Tigers got a pair of power plays between the end of the second and start of the third periods, yet each proved fruitless. The Clippers squelched any thought of a Gardiner comeback just 1:35 into the third when Yarmouth’s Cooper May beat Tristan Hebert to a loose puck along the Tigers’ blue line and finished the breakaway with a backhand goal on Poirier.

“They outplayed us, plain and simple,” Gardiner senior Logan Peacock said. “They deserve that win.”

While Wednesday’s loss marked the last game for Peacock and Reid Cotnoir, the two seniors were confident that the Tigers’ best days still lay ahead.

“I wish them the best of luck. They’re a great group of kids, they work hard and I think they can do it next year,” Peacock said. “It feels good to be a part of the program.”

Evan Crawley –621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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