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Thornton Academy junior Cameron Houde sends Cheverus junior Michael Hatch flying during the Golden Trojans’ 16-7 victory Friday.
Joe Carpine / 365digitalphotography.com photos.
More photos below.
TA- 3 5 5 3- 16
C- 3 0 1 3- 7
11:18 C Cawley (unassisted)
10:51 TA LeBlanc (Edborg)
8:05 C Pierce (Cawley)
7:11 C St. John (unassisted)
4:30 TA Labreck (Pike) (MAN-UP)
3:51 TA Levasseur (unassisted) (TWO-MEN UP)
7:33 TA Giroux (unassisted)
5:00 TA Labreck (Levasseur)
2:57 TA LeBlanc (Giroux)
46.3 TA LeBlanc (Levasseur)
25.1 TA Giroux (unassisted)
6:16 TA Giroux (unassisted)
3:39 C Pierce (Cawley)
2:13 TA Giroux (Edborg)
1:27 TA Camire (Labreck) (TWO-MEN UP)
17.9 TA Weeks (Giroux)
2.4 TA Giroux (Weeks)
11:16 TA Camire (unassisted)
9:01 C Coffin (Smith)
8:17 C Anton (Coffin) (MAN-UP)
7:32 TA Pike (Labreck)
5:59 TA Giroux (Edborg)
1:54 C Anton (Coffin)
TA-Giroux 6, LeBlanc 3, Camire, Labreck 2, Levasseur, Pike, Weeks 1
C- Anton, Pierce 2, Cawley, Coffin, St. John 1
TA- Edborg 3, Giroux, Labreck, Levasseur 2, Pike, Weeks 1
C- Cawley, Coffin 2, Smith 1
Shots on cage
TA (Patry) 14
C (Walsh) 13
PORTLAND—Cheverus’ boys’ lacrosse team was highly touted in the preseason.
Thornton Academy’s was not.
And Friday’s rainy regular season opener between the squads just goes to show how much attention you should pay to the pundits.
The Stags “hosted” the Golden Trojans at Fitzpatrick Stadium and got out to a fast 3-1 start, but Thornton Academy rallied to tie the score after one period and was just getting warmed up.
Thanks to the dominance in the faceoff circle of freshman Samuel Edborg, the Golden Trojans were able to enjoy a big edge in possession and they took the lead for good when senior John Giroux scored his first goal with 7:33 to go in the first half. Thornton Academy added four more scores before the break to take control.
The Golden Trojans were able to make it eight straight goals before Cheverus finally ended a 27-minute-plus drought.
The Stags were never able to make a serious run, however, and Thornton Academy pulled away to prevail, 16-7.
The Golden Trojans were led by six goals from Giroux, 18 faceoff victories by Edborg and started their season in style by beating Cheverus in the opener for the second year in a row.
“We had a long dry spell and we made some mental mistakes that really hurt us, some passes that led to goals,” said Stags coach Bill Bodwell. “I didn’t expect we’d do that.”
Cheverus and Thornton Academy have been consistent contenders in recent seasons and that should be the case again this spring.
The Stags got to the Class A North semifinals a year ago before dropping an agonizing one-goal decision to eventual regional champion Brunswick.
The Golden Trojans were upset by South Portland in the Class A South quarterfinals and are chasing defending state champion Scarborough this spring.
Last year, Thornton Academy beat Cheverus, 11-6, in the opener at Saco.
Friday’s game was scheduled to be played on campus at Cheverus, but chilly, rainy weather moved it to Fitzpatrick Stadium, where the Golden Trojans, after taking a few minutes to hit their stride, made themselves at home.
The Stags struck first, as junior Finn Cawley scored unassisted 42 seconds in, but Thornton Academy countered 27 seconds later, as junior Wyatt LeBlanc took a feed from junior Noah Edborg and beat Cheverus senior goalie Sean Walsh to tie the score.
Cheverus went back on top with 8:05 to play in the 12-minute first quarter, as in transition, Cawley set up junior Jesse Pierce for a goal.
Fifty-four seconds later, Stags junior Chris St. John weaved through three defenders before sending a shot past Golden Trojans sophomore goalie Ean Patry for a 3-1 lead, but little did anyone suspect that it would be well into the second half before Cheverus would tickle the twine again.
Thornton Academy rallied later in the first period, thanks in large part to Stags’ penalties.
With 4:30 to go, the Golden Trojans scored man-up, as junior Thomas Pike set up sophomore C.J. Labreck.
Then, with two Cheverus players kneeling on the sidelines, Thornton Academy tied it up at 3-3 as sophomore Thomas Levasseur pounced on a loose ball and beat Walsh point blank.
Giroux almost put the Golden Trojans ahead in the final second, but his shot rang off the post.
Giroux would get another chance and Thornton Academy would seize control of the game in the second period.
With 7:33 left in the first half, after intercepting a Walsh clear, Giroux scored easily to put the Golden Trojans on top to stay.
At the 5 minute mark, Levasseur set up Labreck for a 5-3 lead.
With 2:57 to go, Giroux set up LeBlanc for a 6-3 advantage.
Then, in the final minute before halftime, Levasseur fed LeBlanc for a goal with 46.3 seconds showing and with 25.1 seconds to go, after another costly turnover, Giroux finished again to make it 8-3 at the break.
In the first half, Thornton Academy won 10 of 13 faceoffs and enjoyed a 23-13 shots advantage.
Little changed in the third quarter, other than Cheverus finally getting its offense going again.
The Stags had chances to get back in the game as neither team scored for almost six minutes, but they couldn’t convert and with 6:16 left in the frame, Giroux scored in transition for a 9-3 lead.
Finally, with 3:39 to go in the third, in transition, Cawley set up Pierce for a goal which snapped the Golden Trojans’ 8-0 run and a backbreaking 27 minute, 32 second drought.
Sophomore Colby Anton hoped to draw Cheverus closer, but he hit the post and at the other end, Giroux finished a feed from Noah Edborg for a 10-4 lead with 2:13 remaining.
With 1:27 left and two Cheverus players on the sidelines with a penalty (including Walsh), Labreck set up senior Jon Camire for Thornton Academy’s 11th goal.
The Golden Trojans would get two more goals late in the third, as with 17.9 seconds to go, Giroux fed junior Tucker Weeks, and with 2.4 seconds showing, Weeks returned the favor, setting up Giroux for a 13-4 advantage.
When Camire scored unassisted 44 seconds into the fourth quarter, Thornton Academy’s lead was 10 goals, but junior Max Coffin (from senior Alex Smith) and Anton (from Coffin, man-up) answered to cut the deficit to 14-6.
Thornton Academy retook a 10-g0al lead, as Labreck set up Pike and Noah Edborg fed Giroux for his final goal.
With 1:54 remaining, Anton took a pass from Coffin and scored the final goal of the game, which accounted for the 16-7 final score.
“We had a good start, but Thornton’s a good program,” Bodwell said. “They play great defense, they always play hard. They have that great zone. They make you work hard for your goals.”
The Golden Trojans were paced by six goals and two assists from Giroux.
“We just got the ball around and our fast breaks really got us going,” Giroux said. “We kept our heads in it and worked. We have a really good defense. I think we can go far. We’re not going to look back.”
LeBlanc added three goals, Camire and Labreck had two each and Levasseur, Pike and Weeks had one apiece.
Noah Edborg finished with three assists, Labreck and Levasseur had two apiece and Pike and Weeks each added one.
Samuel Edborg won 18 of 27 faceoffs, Thornton Academy had a 40-34 shots advantage (29-21 on cage) and got 14 saves from Patry.
Cheverus was paced by two goals apiece from Anton and Pierce. Cawley, Coffin and St. John had one apiece. Cawley and Coffin both had two assists and Smith added one. Walsh made 13 saves.
Thornton Academy is back in action Tuesday at Marshwood, then plays its first home game April 29 when Waynflete pays a visit.
Cheverus hopes to get back on track when it visits Deering in a playoff rematch Tuesday. The Stags then go to Kennebunk April 29, so things won’t get any easier.
“We’ll bounce back,” Bodwell said. “It’s a good thing to play again soon. We played Deering twice last year. They’ll probably play that same zone we saw today.”
Cheverus junior Finn Cawley unleashes a shot as Thornton Academy senior Taylor Jipson defends.
Cheverus junior Jesse Pierce possesses the ball.
Cheverus senior goalie Sean Walsh makes a save.
Cheverus senior George Conzelman loses possession of the ball.
Cheverus junior Finn Cawley, left, congratulates classmate Jesse Pierce after a first half goal.