BIDDEFORD — Thornton Academy can now take a breath.

The second-seeded Trojans were heavy favorites Tuesday night in their Western Class A boys’ hockey quarterfinal against seventh-ranked Deering but could take nothing for granted.

Thornton stormed to a three-goal first-period lead and went on to rout the Rams 7-0 at the Biddeford Ice Arena.

Jon Pate had two goals and three assists. Alex Howard put in two goals and an assist.

The Trojans (16-2-1) advanced to the semifinals Saturday for another battle of the brothers. Thornton, coached by Shawn Rousseau, will take on third-seeded Falmouth and its coach, Scott Rousseau. The game will be at the Colisee in Lewiston, the time to be announced.

Deering ended its turnaround season with an 11-6-3 record.

No Thornton team had advanced past the quarterfinals since the regional format began in 2001.

Last year was painful. The Trojans were the No. 2 seed and lost in the quarterfinals in four overtimes, 2-1 to Kennebunk.

”Last week we actually watched the overtime (loss) as a team,” Shawn Rousseau said. ”It was certainly an experience we didn’t want again. We came in with a lot of intensity.”

Pate scored 45 seconds into the game.

Other contributors, besides Pate and Howard, included Bryan Dallaire (goal, two assists), Brett Levasseur (goal) and Nicholas Chen (goal). Goalie Rick Hebb made 19 saves.

The Trojans did play without their leading scorer, C.J. Maksut, who is out with a shoulder injury.

Deering was led by goalie Jackson Stevens, who recorded 34 saves.

The Rams, guided for the first season by veteran coach Jack Lowry, reached the playoffs after finishing 2-16 last year.

”I’m really proud of the way the kids played,” Lowry said. ”We wanted these kids to bring respectability back to the program. They did a nice job.”

The Trojans can now prepare for Falmouth.

Thornton is 1-0-1 against the Yachtsmen, winning 4-1 on Dec. 10, and battling to a 1-1 tie on Jan. 20. That second game more accurately reflects the two teams.

”I have every expectation that Saturday’s game is going to be really tight,” Rousseau said. ”I think we have a good club here that has potential to do something. It feels good to get beyond this night.

 

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at:

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