Scarborough wins slugfest at Cheverus

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Scarborough juniors Marc Guerette, left, and Sam Neugebauer celebrate a goal during the Red Storm’s 14-13, come-from-behind win at Cheverus Tuesday.

Chris Lambert photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Scarborough 14 Cheverus 13

S- 3 4 4 3- 14
C- 1 7 4 1- 13

First quarter
10:27 C Cawley (Nason)
9:23 S Neugebauer (Manfra)
3:14 S Neugebauer (unassisted)
2:41 S Manfra (unassisted) 

Second quarter
11:37 C Curran (Cawley) (TWO MEN-UP)
10:46 C Cawley (unassisted)
10:29 S Nigro (Neugebauer)
9:07 C Hatch (unassisted)
7:20 C Nason (unassisted)
6:17 C Cawley (unassisted)
5:46 S Nigro (Neugebauer)
4:49 S Guerette (unassisted)
2:50 C Nason (Curran (MAN-UP)
2:22 S Guerette (Nigro)
1:10 C Coffin (unassisted) 

Third quarter
11:52 S Guerette (Manfra)
9:32 C Coffin (unassisted)
6:00 C Pierce (unassisted)
5:39 S Manfra (Hayward)
4:52 C Cawley (Nason)
3:06 S Neugebauer (unassisted)
37.4 S Neugebauer (Nigro)
18.7 C Curran (unassisted) 

Fourth quarter
8:53 S Neugebauer (unassisted)
7:55 C Nason (unassisted)
7:28 S Thibault (Nigro)
2:47 S Guerette (unassisted) 

Goals:
S- Neugebauer 5, Guerette 4, Manfra, Nigro 2, Thibault 1
C- Cawley 4, Nason 3, Coffin, Curran 2, Hatch, Pierce 1

Assists:
S- Nigro 3, Manfra, Neugebauer 2, Hayward 1
C- Nason 2, Cawley, Curran 1

Faceoffs (Scarborough, 16-14)
S- Nigro 9 of 17, Jepson 4 of 7, Granzier 2 of 5, Lagerquist 1 of 1
C- Nason 12 of 22, Haines 2 of 8

Ground balls (Scarborough, 46-39)
S- Nigro 11, Manfra 6, Lagerquist, Murray, Thibault 4, Guerette 3, Cusson, Granzier, Jepson, Neugebauer, Quirk, Tanner 2, Joy, Worthing 1
C- Hoglund, Nason 7, Conzelman 4, Cawley, Coffin, Griffin, Ly, Walsh 3, Curran, Hatch 2, Baker, Haines 1

Turnovers:
S- 24
C- 27

Shots:
S- 44
C- 36

Shots on cage
S- 29
C- 25

Saves:
S (Joy) 12 
C (Walsh) 15 

PORTLAND—If Tuesday’s Scarborough-Cheverus boys’ lacrosse thriller at Boulos Stadium was a Class A state championship game preview, nobody is going to want to miss the rematch.

That’s because the teams, two of Class A’s best, put on a 48-minute show full of twists and turns which produced more questions than answers as the end of the regular season draws near.

The game began calmly enough and was tied 1-1 until late in the first quarter, where the Red Storm got goals from junior Sam Neugebauer and sophomore Marco Manfra for a 3-1 advantage.

The Stags then roared to life, scoring seven second period goals, as senior Alex Nason and sophomore Finn Cawley both tickled the twine twice to help produce an 8-7 halftime lead.

There would be little separation in the second half, as Scarborough tied the game eight seconds into the third period, but Cheverus went back ahead by two and after the Red Storm tied the game again, 11-11, an unassisted tally from senior Frankie Curran put the Stags up, 12-11, heading for the final stanza.

There, Neugebauer tied the score, but with 7:55 remaining, Nason’s unassisted goal gave Cheverus the lead again.

The Stags couldn’t hold it, however, as junior Cam Thibault tied the game 27 seconds to go and with 2:57 left, junior Marc Guerette had a shot saved, but the deflection took a crazy hop off a Cheverus defender and went into the goal.

That proved to be the difference, as Scarborough junior goalie Dominic Joy made a big save and got some help from the post down the stretch and the Red Storm held on to prevail, 14-13.

Neugebauer scored five times, Guerette added four goals and Joy made a dozen saves as Scarborough improved to 7-3 and dropped the hard-luck Stags to 5-3 in the process.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Red Storm coach Joe Hezlep. “Playing at beautiful Boulos Stadium on a great day. Coming out on top. It worked out pretty well. Cheverus is so tough. They play as hard as anyone we’ve seen. They made it tough to do anything.” 

State game preview?

In a year devoid of a Class A favorite, both Cheverus and Scarborough are very much in the championship mix.

The Red Storm opened 2016 with a 9-8 double-overtime home loss to Gorham, but bounced back to win at Biddeford, 10-3, then downed visiting South Portland, the two-time defending regional champion, 13-10, and gave Hezlep his 100th victory with a 16-9 triumph at Westbrook, before falling at Cape Elizabeth by a humbling 10-0 margin. Scarborough returned to form with a 14-11 home victory over Thornton Academy, then rolled at Portland (13-1) and outscored visiting Deering, 18-10, before falling at home to three-time defending Class B champion Yarmouth in a crossover battle Saturday, 16-11.

The Stags lost their opener, 11-6, at Thornton Academy, then came to life, winning five straight. Cheverus held off visiting Deering (8-6) and Kennebunk (9-7), posted an impressive 11-4 victory at South Portland, downed previously unbeaten host Gorham, 9-5, and rolled at home over Bonny Eagle, 15-1. Saturday, the Stags let a three-goal second half lead slip away in an 11-9 loss at Greely in a crossover.

Entering play Tuesday, since the start of the 2004 season, Scarborough had won eight of 12 meetings (see sidebar, below), including victories in the 2012 (9-4) and 2013 (15-4) Class A state finals.

Last year, the Red Storm won at home, 10-9.

Tuesday, Cheverus sought just its second win over Scarborough since 2008, but the Red Storm bounced back from Saturday’s loss in a game with virtually no separation.

The Stags scored first, 93 seconds in, when Nason set up Cawley, but with 9:23 to play in the first quarter, Manfra fed Neugebauer for the first of nine ties on the day.

Neither team scored for over six minutes before Scarborough closed the period strong.

With 3:14 remaining, after a turnover, Neugebauer charged in on Cheverus junior goalie Sean Walsh and finished and 33 seconds later, Manfra pounced on a rebound and finished to make it 3-1 Red Storm.

The Stags started the second period two men up and quickly cut into the deficit as their offense caught fire.

Just 23 seconds in, Cawley fed Curran for a goal to cut the deficit to 3-2.

With 10:46 left in the half, Cawley’s unassisted tally tied the game.

Scarborough retook the lead, 4-3, when Neugebauer set up senior Cam Nigro 17 seconds later, but Cheverus got the next three goals.

With 9:07 remaining in the half, sophomore Michael Hatch scored unassisted.

Nason then beat Joy top shelf with 7:29 to go and with 6:17 left, Cawley finished unassisted for a 6-4 lead.

Back came the Red Storm, as Neugebauer set up Nigro 31 seconds later and with 4:49 to go before the break, Guerette’s first goal, unassisted, made it 6-6.

The Stags retook the lead man-up with 2:50 showing, when Curran set up Nason, but 28 seconds later, in transition, Nigro fed Guerette, who tied the score.

Cheverus managed to take an 8-7 lead to halftime, courtesy an unassisted tally from sophomore Max Coffin, who finished after a nice move with 1:10 remaining.

in the first half, faceoffs were even, 8-8, ground balls were nearly deadlocked (23-22 in favor of Scarborough) and shots on goal were 13-12 in the Red Storm’s favor.

Not much changed in the second half.

Nigro won the faceoff the start to third quarter, got the ground ball, passed to Manfra and Manfra set up Guerette on the doorstep to instantly forge yet another tie, 8-8.

Nobody moves the ball like the Red Storm when they’re clicking and that sudden goal was a perfect example.

“We work every practice on ball movement,” Guerette said. “We do a good job moving it around.”

The Stags went back on top with 9:32 left in the third, when Coffin beat Joy with a blast over his head and with exactly 6 minutes showing, sophomore Jesse Pierce’s unassisted tally put Cheverus ahead, 10-8, but Scarborough wouldn’t be denied and rose off the deck again.

After Manfra (from senior Colin Hayward in transition) and Cawley (on a bounce shot set up by Nason) traded goals, Neugebauer somehow released a shot over a defender and got it past Walsh into the net, then Neugebauer finished a feed from Nigro to make it 11-1 with 37.4 seconds to play in the frame.

It took all over 19 seconds for the Stags to go ahead again, as Curran bulled through the Red Storm defense before beating Joy to give his team a 12-11 lead heading for the fourth quarter.

Scarborough evened the score with 8:53 left, when Neugebauer fought through the defense before finishing.

After Neugebauer hit the post, the Stags went back on top, as Nason scored unassisted with 7:55 to go, but the hosts wouldn’t score again.

The Red Storm quickly answered, as Nigro set up Thibault for a goal which made it 13-13 with 7:28 showing.

After Nason was denied by Joy, Joy robbed Curran and Cawley shot wide.

That set the stage for Scarborough to take its first lead since the score was 4-3 in the second period.

With 2:57 to go, Guerette had a good look, but Walsh got in front of the ball and deflected it away.

The problem for the Stags was that the ball bounced off a defender in front and the ricochet eluded Walsh and went into the goal. Guerette was credited for the tally and the Red Storm were on top, 14-13.

“Walsh made a save and got in front of it with the body and it happened to go off him and hit the defender and went in,” Guerette said. “It’s better to be lucky than good.” 

Scarborough was ahead, but victory wasn’t secured.

With 1:51 to play, Coffin had a great look, but shot just wide.

Then, with 1:01 to go, Coffin rifled a shot off the post.

Cheverus then turned the ball over as Red Storm sophomore Drew Cusson collected a crucial ground ball.

Hezlep called timeout with 29.3 seconds left and after Scarborough got the ball across midfield, Hezlep called timeout again.

The Red Storm had a chance to run out the clock, but Nigro went for the kill, only to be denied by Walsh with 14.3 seconds showing.

The Stags had a chance to force overtime, but Scarborough senior defenseman Wyatt Tanner forced a turnover and while the Red Storm threw the ball out of bounds with 2.1 seconds to play, a last-ditch desperation heave by Cheverus landed in Thibault’s stick and after nearly two hours of palpitating lacrosse, Scarborough eked out a 14-13 win.

“Coach gave us a good speech at halftime,” Guerette said. “He told us to keep our heads up and stay in the game. We finished strong. We’re a really good second half team and we did a good job coming back. It means a lot. We knew Cheverus would be good. We didn’t play our best, but we came out with a victory. We hope to see them again.”

“After halftime, we emphasized more on playing the body defensively,” Joy said. “People were getting through our sticks and getting open shots right in the middle. We wanted to keep them outside, low angle shots.”

“We talked at halftime about worrying about us and that’s what we did in the second half and it turned out alright,” Hezlep added. “The defense matured in the fourth quarter.” 

Scarborough’s offense was paced by Neugebauer’s five goals, Guerette scored four times, Manfra and Nigro had two goals apiece and Thibault had the other tally. Nigro had three assists, Manfra and Neugebauer added two apiece and Hayward finished with one.

Joy made 12 key saves.

“You have to have a short term memory as a goalie,” Joy said. “You can’t hang your head too much and you have to bounce back.”

“We stopped putting ourselves in positions where Dom couldn’t be successful,” Hezlep said. “That’s when we’re good. When he can see the ball, we do well. When we make it tough on him, it’s tough to be a goalie in lacrosse when you don’t get help in front of you.” 

The Red Storm won 16 of 30 faceoffs, had a 46-39 advantage in ground balls (Nigro had a game-high 11), outshot the Stags, 44-36 (29-25 on cage) and overcame 24 turnovers by forcing 27.

Cheverus got four goals from Cawley, three from Nason, two apiece from Coffin and Curran and one each from Hatch and Pierce. Nason assisted on two goals, while Cawley and Curran had one assist each. Nason and senior Mackenzie Hoglund had seven ground balls apiece and Walsh made 15 saves.

“We had some looks at the end,” Stags coach Bill Bodwell said. “Both teams played great. Lacrosse has runs. We had some runs, they had some runs. It’s the name of the game. It was good lacrosse. Two good teams going at it.”

Almost done

Cheverus (which is tied with Lewiston and Windham for second place in the Class A North Heal Points standings at press time) hopes to bounce back Friday at Noble. After playing at Westbrook, the Stags close at home versus Portland and Marshwood.

“It would be fun to see (Scarborough) again, but we have a lot of work to do,” Bodwell said. “We’ve always been a traveling team in the playoffs. We don’t get to play the KVAC teams, so we don’t get the Heal Points, but we’ll show up.” 

Scarborough (second to Gorham in Class A South at press time) only has two games remaining, Friday at home versus undefeated Windham on Senior Night and Tuesday of next week at Marshwood. 

“We have to work more on team play than individual skills,” Joy said.

“I don’t think there’s any team in the state that can’t find something they can’t do better,” Hezlep said. “The good thing is we still have a lot of practice time to work on things.”

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

Scarborough junior Sam Neugebauer fires a shot for one of his five goals.

Cheverus senior Mackenzie Hoglund scoops up a ground ball as Scarborough sophomore Marco Manfra looms.

Scarborough junior Cam Thibault is defended by Cheverus junior Kieran Conley.

Cheverus senior Frankie Curran fires past Scarborough junior goalie Dominic Joy.

Scarborough sophomore Marco Manfra is tailed by Cheverus junior George Conzelman.

Cheverus sophomore Finn Cawley shoots over Scarborough sophomore Reece Lagerquist and past junior goalie Dominic Joy for one of his four goals Tuesday.

Recent Scarborough-Cheverus results

2015
@ Scarborough 10 Cheverus 9 

2014
@ Cheverus 13 Scarborough 8 

2013
Class A Final
Scarborough 15 Cheverus 4 

2012
Class A Final
Scarborough 9 Cheverus 4 

2011
Scarborough 4 @ Cheverus 1 

2010
@ Scarborough 8 Cheverus 7 (OT) 

2009
Scarborough 12 @ Cheverus 4 

2008 
Cheverus 8 @ Scarborough 7 

2007
Scarborough 13 @ Cheverus 3

2006
@ Scarborough 11 Cheverus 2 

2005
@ Cheverus 12 Scarborough 9 

2004
Cheverus 12 @ Scarborough 5

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