SACO – As problems go, it’s a good one to have. After winning 10 games in a row by an average of 7-1, you figure a boys’ hockey team might have a little trouble focusing from start to finish.
“We definitely get complacent and we have to get out of that mindset,” said Scarborough forward Trevor Murray. “The first thing Coach (Norm Gagne) said afterward was, ‘Let that be a lesson.’ “
It’s a lesson Scarborough very nearly learned the hard way, as the Red Storm gave up two goals 28 seconds apart in the final 1:21 of the game, but managed to hold off Thornton Academy 4-3 Monday afternoon in a Western Class A game at the MHG Ice Centre.
“I’ve told the kids before, it’s never over until it’s over,” Gagne said. “You’ve got to say in the moment. That’s so important. This one was a lot closer than it should have been.”
Jack Rousselle had two goals and an assist to lead the Red Storm (12-1) to an 11th straight win.
Scarborough built a 3-0 lead after one period and led 4-0 four minutes into a second period that bore a strong resemblance to a special-teams clinic.
“I don’t believe we’ve had a period where somebody has someone in the box the whole time,” Rousselle said. “It’s just part of the adversity you face and you just have to battle through it.”
Scarborough was called for five penalties in the period, including a 5-minute major and a game misconduct for a hit from behind. Thornton was called for three penalties in the period.
“All those penalties keep either team from finding any kind of flow, and it got real sloppy,” Gagne said. “It was pretty sloppy in the third as well. Credit to Thornton for winning those faceoffs when they needed them.”
Alex Fallon was at the heart of Thornton Academy’s attack, setting up panic-inducing goals by Tyler Lapointe (13:19 of the third) and Owen Lemoine (13:47) as the Trojans (6-5) came within one point-blank save by Dalton Finley (25 saves) on Alex Lambert at the buzzer from sending it into overtime.
“Hopefully that type of effort, playing right to the very last second, will catapult us into the second half of the season,” Thornton Academy Coach Jamie Gag-non said. “That kind of effort says a lot about what kind of team we have.”
Scarborough opened with tremendous promise, as Rousselle opened a 1-0 lead at 3:09 of the first period on the Red Storm’s second shot on net. He collected a pass from Ryan Bailer and snapped a shot past Andrew Huot (30 saves) into the upper right corner. Rousselle struck again at 8:43, tucking the rebound of Cam Loiselle’s long shot from the right boards.
“We work on that quite a bit, getting low shots to the far pad,” Rousselle said. “(Loiselle) had a real nice shot, I picked up the rebound and had a wide-open net.”
Murray pushed the lead to 3-0 with a one-on-one created by terrific hustle, skating in and knocking a shot off Huot’s stick and into the goal at 14:12.
At 3:38 of the second, Garrett McDonald finished off a clever behind-the-back pass from a spinning Rousselle to beat the goalie from the slot for a short-handed goal that made it 4-0.
Fallon scored during the Trojans’ five-minute power play in the second to cut Scarborough’s lead to 4-1.
Then came the third period.
“That third period was crazy,” Murray said. “They definitely had the momentum. This was a good lesson for us. We need to learn from it, grow from it and hopefully never do it again.”