When Cheverus High celebrated an undefeated state championship girls’ hockey season last February, no one was talking dynasty. Six of the 10 regulars were seniors, including four All-State players.

Let the rebuilding begin.

But the Stags beat Biddeford 6-0 last week and are now 3-0 heading into a key game against Scarborough on Saturday.

Cheverus Coach J.P. Lavoie retooled the Stags. He had three returning regular forwards, and he moved two of them — Emily Sawchuck and Anna McDonough — to defense.

“I was open-minded about it,” McDonough said, but admitted, “I really didn’t have a choice. You don’t tell the coach, ‘No.’

“It’s a completely different mindset and, so far, I like it.”

And it is working. McDonough, Sawchuck and returning defenseman Sarah LaQuerre make up a trio that not only can defend, but also push the puck from end to end.

Behind them is senior goalie Taylor Witham, who backed up All-State goalie Saundrine Lanouette last year.

“She could have played for a lot of teams but had the misfortune of playing behind Saundrine,” Lavoie said.

Witham is proving to be solid.

Sophomore Katie Roy returns as a forward and already has seven goals in three games.

Three other forwards — Dana Maloney, Alexandra Swallow and Kelsy McDonald, are back. Maloney now centers the second line.

And, like other schools, Cheverus welcomed athletes who had not played hockey before but are trying to assimilate quickly. Among the pool of soccer, field hockey and basketball players are Deirdre and Julia Lambert, Emily Rodrigue, Gabi Cardona, Paige Lucas and Laura Bither. Ali Stephens, Annie Dilisio and Ali Saxton add depth.

“A lot of our players are new to the game,” Lavoie said. “They’re adjusting, but they have a lot to learn.”

They’re learning while winning, so far.

THE BOYS’ SEASON begins this weekend. Bonny Eagle plays host to Windham-Sacopee Valley on Friday night, and there are several games Saturday.

Among the highlighted games Saturday will be Lewiston vs. Thornton Academy at 6 p.m. at the Biddeford Ice Arena. Thornton is strong, but Lewiston may be the team to beat this year.

The Blue Devils beat Thornton 2-1 in an exhibition last week.

“They are every bit as good as we’re hearing,” said Thornton Coach Shawn Rousseau.

Lewiston has nearly every player back from last year’s team, which was the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Class A playoffs, including All-State goalie Cam Poussard. Plus, Lewiston has added senior forward Colt Steele, who had played for North Yarmouth Academy and the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs in previous seasons.

OLD FACES ARE in new uniforms this year as transfers have affected a few teams.

Massabesic lost its top two returning forwards as Gregory Lodge now skates for Thornton, and Steve Comar for Biddeford.

Thornton also lost a player to Biddeford as All-State defenseman Bryan Dallaire is now with the Tigers. He may play some forward with Biddeford.

PORTLAND HIGH opens its season Saturday and, for once, Bulldogs Coach Andy Gildart does not have to teach kids how to skate.

“I’ve got 20 guys and they’ve all played hockey before,” Gildart said. “It’s like an early Christmas present.”

Portland plays Deering Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in the second annual City Cup.

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

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