Top-seeded Biddeford High begins its quest for a third state title in four years when it plays a Western Class A quarterfinal today at 5:30 p.m. at Biddeford Ice Arena.

A No. 1 seed typically faces a very beatable opponent in the first round, but the Tigers (15-2-1) host No. 8 Scarborough.

”What a treat,” joked Biddeford Coach Rich Reissfelder.

Reissfelder is not fooled by the Red Storm’s 6-10-2 record. Scarborough played a difficult schedule, most of its losses coming against the state’s best teams.

So the Biddeford-Scarborough game appears to be the best of the three quarterfinals tonight.

No. 2 Thornton Academy (15-2-1) is a heavy favorite against No. 7 Deering (10-5-3), and No. 3 Falmouth (12-4-2) is expected to top No. 6 Noble (13-5).

The other quarterfinal was Saturday. No. 4 South Portland beat No. 5 Portland, 3-2.

South Portland (15-4) will meet the Biddeford-Scarborough winner in the semifinals on Saturday at the Colisee in Lewiston. The other quarterfinal winners also meet Saturday in Lewiston.

The seeds may not be entirely accurate because of the tier system the Western Class A teams use in scheduling to promote parity and competitive games.

Only five teams played a Tier I schedule: Biddeford, Thornton, Falmouth, Scarborough and Kennebunk, which finished 5-13.

South Portland and Portland played Tier II schedules that included a handful of Tier I teams. Noble and Deering played Tier III schedules, with no Tier I teams on it.

So Scarborough’s record is misleading. The Red Storm were upset twice, by Cheverus and Cape Elizabeth, but their other losses came against Waterville, St. Dominic, Lewiston (twice), Thornton (twice) and Biddeford (twice).

The losses to Biddeford were hardly lopsided. In the season opener, the Tigers scored with 51 seconds left to win 4-3. In the next game on Jan. 6, Scarborough led 2-1 early in the third period before Biddeford broke out with four goals for a 5-2 win.

”They have players who just work and work, constantly attacking,” Reissfelder said, naming specifically forwards Trevor Hoxsie (14 goals, 9 assists) and Andrew Nigro (11, 9).

Biddeford’s strength remains its top line of Trevor and Brady Fleurent and Craig Anton. They have combined for 51 goals, 28 by Trevor Fleurent.

The Tigers were cruising along at 10-0 before a 2-2-1 stretch, with losses to Falmouth and Thornton and a tie with Lewiston. Biddeford has won three games since.

”We’re playing better in our own zone, showing more commitment to our system,” Reissfelder said.

Scarborough was 1-5 in its final six games. The Red Storm enjoyed some success in December and early January, with a win and tie against Falmouth.

Thornton enters the postseason on a six-game winning streak that includes a 5-3 victory over Biddeford on Feb. 3.

Deering has turned around its program after going 2-16 last year. The Rams are led by forwards Travis Wade (12 goals, 33 assists), Connor Petropoulos (27, 16) and Ben Rodick (20, 20).

Falmouth went 7-1 in its final eight games, splitting two games with St. Dominic. The Yachtsmen reached the Western final last year before losing to St. Dominic, which has moved to the East this year.

Noble enters with a three-game winning streak. The Knights are led by forward Jesse Cotty (19, 21) and goalie Ben Haskell (2.39 goals-against average).

 

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at: [email protected]