BIDDEFORD—The Scarborough boys’ hockey team had no answers, losing to No. 2 Thornton Academy, 6-0, Tuesday in the Western Class A quarterfinals at Biddeford Ice Arena.
“My bag of tricks, I only have so much,” Scarborough coach Norm Gagne said. “I kept trying.”
Gagne’s bag of tricks is deep, he’s won over 600 games, including six state championships, in his 37 years of coaching, but he couldn’t make up for his team’s youth against the deep and experienced Golden Trojans.
Thornton Academy used a steady and balanced attack, pounding Scarborough goalie Doug Pitts with 58 shots to the Red Storm’s 18. The Golden Trojans had five different goal scorers and a goal in every period, including three in the first.
“We knew it was an uphill battle,” Gagne said. “They have a great team. They have a lot of seniors and juniors on that team. I have a young group of kids. The inexperience shows when you are playing nine kids that have never played varsity before.”
Thornton Academy got on the board with a power-play goal by Nicholas Chen 8:16 into the opening period. Two minutes later C.J. Maksut made it 2-0 and Brett Levasseur made it 3-0 before the first period was done.
“They are so quick and so fast,” Gagne said. “ Those forwards put a lot of pressure on. We didn’t have an answer. We tried everything.”
While young, the Red Storm (9-10) have faced adversity this season. They lost six of their first eight regular season games, which included 5-2 and 5-0 losses to Thornton Academy (14-5). They also had a three-game losing streak late in the season. Still, they battled and made the playoffs, something many Western Class A teams, including the likes of Portland, Deering and Kennebunk, cannot say.
“I told the kids I am proud we made the playoffs,” Gagne said. “It was looking bad for awhile and we had to put a string of wins together. I am proud of the senior leadership we had. We couldn’t have done it without them and we couldn’t have done it without the young guys who had to come up and step up their game. There are a lot of positives”
“No one likes to lose,” Gagne added, “but when you’re playing a team like Thornton, you aren’t going to battle with the same ammunition.”
The onslaught continued in the final two periods. Maksut added his second goal of the game 9:42 into the second period while Robert Downing and Alex Fallon each scored in the third.
“I was hoping to keep it close,” Gagne said. “Our game plan to start was to try and put pressure on their defensemen, but we just couldn’t slow them up. I tried the 1-3-1 and they had an answer for that too…I went to the 2-3 and that generated offense for us. I think I should have done that a little earlier. We might have gotten a goal or two.”
The bag of tricks was empty. Scarborough finished 0-for-3 on the power play and Thornton Academy goalie Jay Finch made 18 saves for the shutout. It was the Golden Trojans fourth straight game without allowing a goal.
“We battled,” Gagne said. “I was proud of the fact we battled all the way. We got what we got. We don’t have a lot of skill. We have a lot of grit, but not a lot of skill. We’ll come back a better and stronger team.”
Thornton moves on to face Marshwood/Traip Academy Saturday at the Colisee in Lewiston in the semifnals.