PORTLAND – Patience and a shade of good luck were the difference Wednesday night as Cheverus held off Thornton Academy for a 7-3 victory in an SMAA boys’ lacrosse game at Deering’s Memorial Field.

Down 3-0 at halftime, Thornton Academy seized momentum with three straight goals by Taylor Browne, Zach Bryant and Jason Cyr in the third quarter to make it 3-3.

That’s when Cheverus’ Jack Sutton wound up and rifled the ball in from about 15 yards. It glanced off the stick of Warren Murray and slipped inside the left post with 1:46 left. Sutton got the goal, his second of the game, and Cheverus took the lead, 4-3.

“(Murray) was kind of screening and I was looking for a feed,” Sutton said. “It worked out a little bit like hockey, the ball tipped off his stick and the goalie just didn’t see it.”

“That was a big-time momentum shift,” Murray said. “They’d scored three in a row and were really pumped up. We had to shut that down.”

A minute later, Murray took a pass from a rolling Patrick Sullivan and shot low to give Cheverus a two-goal lead in the back-and-forth game.

“Jack gave us the lead but it felt more solid when we had two on the board, and then we just kept going after that,” said Murray.

Nick Schleh and Hilmar Smith added goals in the fourth quarter to put the game away.

Thornton goalkeeper Chris Camire and Cheverus’ Jamey Biegel each finished with eight saves.

In the first half, the Stags (2-0) built a methodical 3-0 lead over the Trojans (1-1) on goals by Sutton, Tom Lawson and Schleh.

“We really struggled in the first half to connect passes,” said Thornton Academy Coach Ryan Hersey.

“We turned the ball over 8, 10 times (on unforced turnovers.) We’re going to have to do a much better job of not turning the ball over in the second half.”

The Trojans turned it around in the third.

“We were just able to hit each other’s sticks,” Hersey said. “That was the major difference. Hopefully that (quarter) can inspire us to work a little harder on the simple things, because that’s where we lost this one, on the simple things.”

The new Cheverus coach, Bill Bodwell, was pleased with his team’s resilience.

“That was a tough go,” Bodwell said. “They got those three goals in the third but I was just proud of the fact that we got those two at the end (of the quarter). That made us feel a little bit better about ourselves.

“Like I’ve said, we’re just getting to know each other. When you have a hard victory like this, it just helps with the camaraderie.”

And after rolling to a 12-6 win over Deering in their opener Friday, it taught the Stags another way to win.

“We learned perseverance,” Murray said. “Against Deering we scored in (the opening minute). This game was a little more frustrating. We showed patience and pushed through a good defensive team. We kept our heads cool.

“We got down and we got back up.”