Sat, Dec 20, 2014 ●
BathHarpswellTopshamBrunswickCumberlandNorth YarmouthFalmouthFreeportPortlandCape ElizabethScarboroughSouth PortlandChebeague IslandYarmouth

Deering improves to 2-0 by holding off TA

Sports

Deering improves to 2-0 by holding off TA

PORTLAND—While its prolific offense failed to materialize for most of Wednesday's contest, the Deering boys' lacrosse team showed it can grind out a victory as it battled its way to a 9-6 home win over Thornton Academy at Memorial Field.

The Rams went over 17 minutes without a goal in one stretch and found themselves tied, 5-5, with the Golden Trojans starting the fourth period, but in the final stanza, Anthony Verville's two goals sparked a four-goal uprising and Deering went on to a 9-6 win to improve to 2-0 on the young season.

"We have a lot of guys who can finish," said Deering coach Bob Rothbart. "It's going to be guys no one knows who put the goals in for us."

Top contender

Deering was a playoff team a year ago (a 3-0 Eastern A quarterfinal round loss to Lewiston left the Rams 7-6), but it has propelled itself into the upper echelon this year, thanks to a year of seasoning, the return from injury of senior standout Carleton Allen and the addition of senior transfer Zach Poulin.

Allen and Poulin had three goals apiece in a season-opening 10-4 victory at Marshwood. Wednesday, on a damp and dreary day, Deering showed its team depth as it found a way to pull out the win.

The Rams broke the scoring ice with 8:44 to go in the 12-minute first period when Allen took a pass from senior Cody Marcroft and beat Thornton Academy junior goalie Brett Levasseur.

The Golden Trojans tied the score with 5:42 to go when senior Nate Colpitts (from sophomore Parker Roma) fired a shot past Deering goalie John Deloach, who was filling in for the unavailable Nick Holton.

Forty seconds later, the Rams demonstrated their explosiveness as Marcroft scored (from Allen) and just 17 seconds after that goal, Marcroft scored again (this time assisted by Poulin) to make it 3-1.

Deering got a gift in the waning seconds when an unforced turnover wound up on the stick of junior Matt Flaherty, who cashed in and beat Levasseur to make it 4-1.

The Rams wouldn't score again, however, until well into the second half.

Late in the first period, Thornton Academy made it a one-goal game as junior Cody Forbes intercepted a clearing pass, raced in and scored and with 10.8 seconds to go, Colpitts scored unassisted to make it 4-3.

"We got the assist on that (second) goal," lamented Rothbart. "We gave one away to them. They beat us near the end of the half. Instead of 4-3, it could have easily been 6-1."

When senior Chris Dolewa scored unassisted just 15 seconds into the second half, the visitors had rallied to tie the score at 4-4.

Deering retook the lead with 6:45 left in the third period when Allen set up Poulin, ending a 17 minute, 20 second drought, but with just 1.7 seconds showing, senior Cory Dion (from freshman Dan Giroux) scored for Thornton Academy and it was a 5-5 contest heading for the fourth.

There, the Rams finally finished the job.

With 9:07 to play, Verville scored the eventual winner, eluding a defender before scoring an unassisted goal to give Deering a 6-5 advantage.

"Anthony set the kid up nicely and had a nice dodge," said Rothbart.

With 6:34 showing, Allen's high pass was grabbed beautifully by Poulin, who then beat Levasseur with a shot for a 7-5 lead.

Two goals in 13 seconds with just over three minutes to go put it away.

First, Marcroft set up Verville to make it 8-5. Then, Verville returned the favor, assisting on a Marcroft goal for a 9-5 bulge. A Thornton Academy man-up goal (sophomore Thomas Abbott, from Roma) with 43.9 seconds remaining accounted for the 9-6 final tally.

"We put it all together," Verville said. "We passed the ball around and worked as a team. We stayed focused. We couldn't really catch the ball in the first half. We kept dropping passes. We pulled it together in the third and fourth quarters."

"We had a lot of opportunities," Rothbart added. "I don't know how many shots we took.  Our defense looked good. Our goalie made some big saves. Overall, I was happy. I was psyched in the fourth. It's still early in the season. Thornton's a good team. They have some good players. They play that stingy zone. You have to be patient with it. They started pushing out on Zach and Carleton and that opened up the other guys."

Deering was paced by three goals and two assists from Marcroft. Poulin and Verville both scored twice and added an assist. Allen (three assists) and Flaherty also scored. Deloach made seven saves.

"Our rookie goalie did well," Verville said. "He faced a lot of shots and stood on his head."

For Thornton Academy, Colpitts had two goals, Abbott, Dion, Dolewa and Forbes once apiece. Roma had two assists, Giroux one. Levasseur stopped 12 shots

The Rams won 14 of the 19 faceoffs (Poulin did most of the damage there, getting the better of Dolewa). Deering forced 34 Thornton Academy turnovers, while giving the ball away 29 times. Deering had a 36-19 edge in shots (21-13 in shots on frame) and grabbed 70 ground balls (Allen had a game-high 15, Flaherty nine and Poulin and junior defensive standout Karl Rickett seven each) to 50 for the Golden Trojans.

Season just beginning

Deering is back in action Saturday at home versus South Portland (1-1 after Wednesday's 7-6 double overtime win over Cheverus).

The Rams have the potential to be very good, but still have a long way to go and can't buy into the hype.

"We have to work on keeping (the guys) in check," Rothbart said. "It's a long season. We have 10 more games in the regular season and go from there. We have to get better.

"We try to stay focused on the game as much as we can and work hard in practice," Verville added. "I think we're pretty good. We're 2-0, but we have a long way to go. Hopefully we can throw some goals in (against South Portland). They beat us last year."

            Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net and followed on Twitter @foresports