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The Cheverus and Portland/Deering boys’ hockey teams saw their seasons come to an end last week after frustrating losses.
The Stags went 12-6 in the regular season and earned the No. 4 seed in Western Class A. Last Wednesday, Cheverus hosted two-time defending state champion Thornton Academy in the quarterfinals and eked out a thrilling 4-3 double-overtime victory.
The Stags beat the Golden Trojans in both regular season meetings, 6-2 in Saco and 3-2 in Portland and made it three in a row, although it wasn’t easy.
Trailing 1-0 entering the second period, Liam Fitzpatrick hinted at a big night to come when he tied the score, but the Golden Trojans took a 2-1 lead to the third period. There, Cam McLain scored a 5-on-3 goal to tie it and Fitzpatrick put the Stags up, 3-2, but Thornton Academy drew even and forced overtime. One OT wasn’t enough and it took a second session before Fitzpatrick ended it and gave Cheverus its first quarterfinal round win in seven seasons.
Saturday, the Stags appeared in a playoff game at the Colisee in Lewiston for the first time since winning the 2006 state championship. Facing top-ranked Scarborough, a team it lost to twice, 5-0 away and 5-3 at home, Cheverus pushed for an upset, but fell just short.
Scarborough dominated the first frame of the semifinal on every level, as the Red Storm had many more shots, more scoring chances and plenty of time in the offensive zone.
Every level, that is, but the scoreboard.
James Hannigan gave the underdog Stags the lead with a goal against the flow of play at the 9:20 mark of the opening period, on a feed from Andrew MacGillivray.
In the second period, bolstered by a bevy of ill-timed Cheverus penalties, Scarborough finally started to bury its chances.
Two cross-checking penalties 15 seconds apart, left the Red Storm with a two-man advantage less than three minutes into the second. Nick Bagley played give-and-go at his own blue line with teammate Cam Brochu and sped up the left side of the ice. He beat one defender and lofted a shot high over Cheverus junior goalie Jason Blier’s glove hand to knot the game at 1-1.
Another power play opportunity gave the Storm a chance to take the lead. This time, Brochu was on the receiving end from Bagley, and he, too, beat Blier high glove, this time giving his top-seeded team the lead, 2-1.
The Stags began the third frame trailing by a goal, but just 4:05 in, caught the Scarborough defenders napping as Fitzpatrick toed the goal line and converted a feed from behind the cage by McLain into a goal to knot things up at 2-2.
Things took a turn in Scarborough’s favor just past the midway point of the third when officials tossed MacGillivray from the game for a hit from behind along the boards, an infraction that carries an automatic five-minute major.
After squandering the first half of that chance, the Storm struck at 10:16 of the period as Jake Gross pounded the puck past Blier for a 3-2 Scarborough lead.
Jack Rousselle added another for the Red Storm at 12:44 as the power play continued, putting the game just out of the Stags’ reach.
Cheverus was unsuccessful on five power play attempts on the game, including one in the final two minutes. Scarborough ultimately outshot Cheverus, 46-16. Blier stopped 42 shots.
The Stags finished the year 13-7.
As for Portland/Deering, seeded sixth after a solid 14-4 regular season, it had to go to No. 3 Gorham last Tuesday in the quarterfinals. The Bulldogs lost the regular season meeting to the Rams, 6-5, in overtime, Jan. 19. Portland hung tough again in the rematch, but again fell just short.
After a scoreless first period, Gorham got two second period goals and added a third with just over 10 minutes to play, but the Bulldogs stormed back, getting goals from Chris Eye and Antonio DiPietro to make it 3-2 with 9:05 still to play. Portland never could get the equalizer, however, and lost, 3-2, finishing the season 14-5.
Sun Journal sports editor Justin Pelletier contributed to this story.