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The three hockey teams from our coverage area will take part in the postseason next week.
In Western Class A, Scarborough came from being on the brink of being out of the playoffs to soaring all the way to seventh place in the final Heal Points standings.
The Red Storm began the year 2-6 and were 5-9 after a 4-0 loss at Lewiston Feb. 9, but won their final four games, capped by wins at Cheverus (6-1), South Portland (4-0) and at home over Portland (8-1) to wind up 9-9. Jordan Bathe had two goals versus the Stags. Jake Gross had three in the finale.
In the win over Cheverus, Scarborough coach Norm Gagne, in his 37th year behind the bench, won his 617th career game, moving him into fourth place in the nation (if the Red Storm win the state title, he’ll tie for third). Gagne has won six state championships and has coached for Gardiner, Waterville, Gorham, Lewiston and Scarborough.
Scarborough will go to No. 2 Thornton Academy (13-5) in the quarterfinals Tuesday at the Biddeford Ice Arena. In the regular season, the Red Storm lost twice to the Golden Trojans, 5-2, at home Dec. 16 and 5-0 in Biddeford on Jan. 22. The teams last met in the playoffs in the preliminary round three years ago, a 6-3 Scarborough triumph.
The winner will play either No. 3 Marshwood/Traip (16-2) or No. 6 Cheverus (10-8) in the semifinals Saturday, March 5, in Lewiston.
South Portland faced its toughest schedule to date this winter and wound up 6-10-2, good for the eighth and final postseason berth. The Red Riots were blanked in their final three outings, 10-0, at home to Thornton Academy, 4-0, at home to Scarborough and 5-0, at Biddeford.
South Portland, which made it to the semifinals for the first time ever a year ago, will have to go through undefeated, defending Class A champion Biddeford (15-0-3) in the quarterfinals Tuesday. The Tigers also beat the Red Riots this year, 6-4, on Feb. 12. Last year, in the semifinals, Biddeford beat South Portland, 7-2.
Looking ahead, the Western A Final is Tuesday, March 8, in Lewiston. The Class A Final is Saturday, March 12, also in Lewiston. The puck drops at 6 p.m.
In Western B, Cape Elizabeth, after an 0-3 start, won 13 of its last 15 games, to earn the No. 3 seed. The Capers closed with a 7-1 home win over Gardiner and a 6-3 triumph at Leavitt. Vinny Dell’Aquila had three goals versus the Tigers and had three more against the Hornets.
The Capers are idle until Saturday, March 5, when they’ll face defending regional champion, No. 2 York (13-5), in the semifinals at Portland Ice Arena. Cape Elizabeth lost 1-0 at York way back on Dec. 15 and fell at home to the Wildcats on Jan. 13, 5-3. The teams last played in the postseason in the 2006 semifinals (a 7-1 win for the Capers).
The Western B Final is Wednesday, March 9, in Lewiston. The Class B state game is Saturday, March 12, in Lewiston, beginning at 1 p.m.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @foresports