Cheverus returns to form with decisive win at Deering

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Cheverus junior Max Coffin (2) is congratulated after scoring one of his four goals in Tuesday’s 11-3 win at Deering.

Joe Carpine / 365digitalphotography.com photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Cheverus 11 Deering 3

C- 5 3 2 1- 11
D- 1 1 1 0- 3

First quarter
9:35 D Harvey (Richards)
7:16 C Pierce (Cawley)
3:42 C Pierce (unassisted)
3:13 C Coffin (unassisted)
1:08 C Hatch (Cawley)
28.9 C Coffin (Pierce (MAN-UP) 

Second quarter 
11:30 C Anton (St. John)
8:50 D Contreras (Peterson) 
3:48. C St. John (Coffin)
42.9 C Pierce (Coffin) 

Third quarter
8:50 D Harvey (James)
5:14 C Coffin (Pierce)
1:11 C Hatch (Pierce) (MAN-UP) 

Fourth quarter
7:12 C Coffin (unassisted) 

Goals:
C- Coffin 4, Pierce 3, Hatch 2, Anton, St. John 1
D- Harvey 2, Contreras 1

Assists:
C- Pierce 4, Cawley, Coffin 2, St. John 1
D- James, Peterson, Richards 1

Faceoffs:
C- 7
D- 11

Turnovers:
C- 26
D- 27 

Shots:
C- 30
D- 25

Shots on cage
C- 18
D- 14

Saves:
C (Walsh) 11 
D (Nussinow) 7 

PORTLAND—It’s not if you lose, it’s how you respond when you do.

Cheverus’ boys’ lacrosse team responded in the affirmative Tuesday afternoon in the rain at Deering’s Memorial Field, as three days after a nine-goal loss in its season opener, the Stags showed why they were so highly touted in the preseason, handing rival Deering a gutcheck loss of its own.

The Rams, who won decisively in their opener, took a 1-0 lead early on a goal from junior Zach Harvey, but the next six goals went to Cheverus, which seized control before the first period was over.

Junior Jesse Pierce scored consecutive goals to put the Stags ahead to stay and after junior Michael Hatch tickled the twine, junior Max Coffin had a pair of goals to make it 5-1 Cheverus after 12 minutes.

Deering was never able to recover.

The Stags got a sixth goal 30 seconds into the second quarter, as sophomore Colby Anton scored. After the Rams ended a 12-plus-minute scoreless streak on a goal from junior Omar Contreras, junior Chris St. John and Pierce both scored to make it 8-2 Cheverus at the half.

Harvey scored his second goal early in the third period, but Coffin and Hatch answered to make it 10-3 heading to the fourth quarter and there, Coffin scored his final goal to bring the curtain down on Cheverus’ emphatic and impressive 11-3 victory.

Coffin had four goals, Pierce finished with three and Hatch scored twice as the Stags continued their recent dominance over the Rams, evened their record at 1-1 and dropped Deering to 1-1 in the process.

“After (our last) game, we had a group talk and talked about what we had to learn from that loss,” Coffin said. “We were very sloppy. We’ve worked on our stick skills and shooting. It was a whole team effort today.”

Rematch

Last season, Cheverus and Deering squared off in a tightly contested Class A North quarterfinal, which the Stags won, 11-9, behind five goals from then-sophomore Marco Giancotti and 15 saves from then-junior goalie Sean Walsh. Andrew Johnson scored four times for the Rams.

That victory was the Stags’ sixth straight in the series (see sidebar, below).

Both teams believe they have what it takes to dethrone Brunswick in the region this season.

Deering opened by handling host Westbrook, 20-9.

Cheverus, which lost to the Dragons in last year’s semifinal round, lost to Thornton Academy in its first game Saturday, 16-7, in a contest played at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

“TA has always been a tough first game for us,” said Cheverus coach Bill Bodwell. “Last year, we bounced back and had a good season and hopefully we can do the same this year.”

Tuesday, the Rams sought their first win over the Stags since a 4-2 victory at Cheverus April 13, 2012, but instead, the Stags prevailed again.

Early in the game, it appeared another close contest was in store, as Deering grabbed a 1-0 lead 2 minutes, 25 seconds in, as senior standout Nate Richards set up Harvey, whose shot eluded Walsh for a 1-0 lead and a little over two minutes later, off a long clear from junior Finn Cawley, Pierce raced in and beat Rams senior goalie Tanner Nussinow to tie it.

The scored remained tied for the next three-plus minutes before Pierce scored unassisted with 3:42 left in the frame to put the Stags ahead for good.

A mere 29 seconds later, Coffin scored his first goal, unassisted, and the lead was 3-1.

Cheverus kept the pressure on and with 1:08 left int he first, Cawley set up Hatch.

After a Deering penalty, the Stags got a fifth goal with 28.9 seconds to go, as Pierce fed Coffin man-up to make it 5-1.

Cheverus then got possession to start the second quarter and 30 seconds in, St. John set up Anton to make it 6-1.

The Rams finally snapped a 12 minute, 45 second drought and the Stags’ 6-0 run when junior Jonah Peterson set up Contreras with 8:50 to play in the half, but Deering couldn’t draw any closer and its comeback hopes were dashed later in the quarter, as Coffin set up St. John for a transition goal with 3:48 remaining and with 42.9 seconds showing, Coffin set up Pierce for a goal and an 8-2 halftime lead.

In the first half, the Rams had a 7-5 edge in faceoffs, but they turned the ball over 11 times and that helped the Stags enjoy a 19-11 shots advantage (10-6 on cage).

Like it did to start the game, Deering scored first in the second half, as junior Nick James set up Harvey for a goal with 8:50 to play in the third quarter, but the Rams wouldn’t score again.

With 5:14 left, Pierce set up Coffin for a goal and with 1:11 left, playing man-up, Cheverus took a 10-3 lead, as Pierce set up Hatch.

The only goal of the final stanza came with 7:12 to go, as Coffin buried a shot up top. 

The Stags’ defense and Walsh slammed the door from there and Cheverus prevailed, 11-3.

“Every time we play them, it seems to be a two- or a three-goal game, so we weren’t expecting a huge win,” Coffin said. “We worked on a new offense this whole week against a zone defense and it paid off.”

“We made some adjustments,” Bodwell said. “You only see so many zones during the season. We had a few things we tried and they were successful. We have a lot of scorers. We cleared well today. We’ve generally been a good clearing team, but we struggled against TA.”

Coffin scored four times and had two assists. Pierce added three goals and four assists. Hatch scored twice, while Anton and St. John each tickled the twine once. 

Cawley had two assists and St. John finished with one.

Walsh made 11 saves.

The Stags overcame 26 turnovers and had a 30-25 edge in shots (18-14 on cage).

Deering got two goals from Harvey and one from Contreras. James, Peterson and Richards all finished with assists. Nuissnow made seven saves.

The Rams had an 11-7 edge in faceoffs, but turned the ball over 27 times. 

“We didn’t click today,” said Deering coach Jon Dubois. “We didn’t do a very good job of catching the ball. We threw it around a lot. We had a few opportunities, but give Cheverus credit. They played a great game. They beat us on transition a lot. We didn’t communicate well against them. They’re a great program. We haven’t beaten them since 2012.  Our defense settled down in the second half, but they got two man-up goals, a bunch of fastbreak goals. If we could have played settled 6-on-6, we’d have a better chance. Maybe we’ll get another shot at them. That’s the plan.”

Improvement needed

Deering is back in action Saturday when it hosts Maranacook in a crossover game. Tuesday, the Rams go to rival Portland.

“It doesn’t get any easier,” Dubois said. “Our schedule is tough up front, then it thins out in the middle and we come back with South Portland and we go from there.”

Cheverus has another tough test Saturday when it plays at always-tough Kennebunk. The Stags return home Tuesday to host dangerous South Portland.

“This is a step in the right direction,” Coffin said. “We’re looking to keep getting better and to have a good season.”

“We have a tough game against Kennebunk Saturday,” Bodwell said. “It’ll be a good test for us. I like playing tough games. Our schedule is loaded in the front end. We’ve just got to be ready.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Cheverus sophomore Ian Haines and Deering senior Chase Walter meet in the faceoff circle.

Cheverus junior Michael Hatch fires a shot for one of his two goals as Deering junior Zach Harvey arrives to late.

Cheverus junior Max Coffin fires a shot past Deering senior goalie Tanner Nussinow.

Deering junior Zach Harvey sends a shot on goal.

Cheverus senior goalie Sean Walsh makes one of his 11 saves.

Cheverus sophomore Ian Haines locks down Deering junior Nick James.

Recent Cheverus-Deering results

2016
@ Cheverus 8 Deering 6
Class A North quarterfinal
@ Cheverus 11 Deering 9 

2015
Cheverus 18 @ Deering 4 

2014
@ Cheverus 17 Deering 7 

2013
Cheverus 12 @ Deering 6

2012
Deering 4 @ Cheverus 2
Eastern A Final
Cheverus 4 @ Deering 2

2009
Cheverus 11 @ Deering 7

2008
Deering 9 @ Cheverus 8
Cheverus 12 @ Deering 5

2007
@ Deering 7 Cheverus 5

2006
Deering 8 @ Cheverus 6

2005
@ Deering 8 Cheverus 3

2004
@ Cheverus 13 Deering 8

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.