BIDDEFORD — Fittingly, the clock read :24.7 when Taylor Browne ended an exhausting and exhilirating comeback for the Thornton Academy boys’ hockey team Wednesday night.
It sure felt like the Trojans and Cheverus had put in a full week’s worth of work in one game before Thornton won 4-3 in overtime.
Twice, Thornton Academy trailed by two. Alex Fallon scored a short-handed goal for the Trojans to swing momentum late in the second period, then inadvertently kicked the puck into his net to give the Stags a short-handed goal of their own.
It was a cruel twist of fate for Fallon, who was hustling back to help his goaltender and ended up with the puck at his skates.
But all hope was not lost.
In the final five minutes, Thornton Academy skated with a man advantage after Cheverus forward James Hannigan was banished for running a Trojan into the boards. Thornton scored twice to force overtime, then the teams, clearly drained, played for an additional 7:36. A tie appeared imminent.
But the contest ended suddenly after a Drew Lavigne pass barely eluded a Cheverus defender and put Browne skating in alone on goaltender Jason Blier. Browne whistled a shot from the right circle into the net to unleash pandemonium at Biddeford Arena.
“I was hoping we’d have a chance, but deep down inside it started looking like it was going to be a tie,” Browne said. “Drew made a nice little pass and I shot it low glove and it snuck in. I was deciding whether to shoot or take it in but I took the shot. I missed a lot of net earlier in the game. That one felt good.”
The stunning rally had the Trojan locker room pulsating with music and laughter. Coach Jamie Gagnon hoped it would be a catalyst for his 6-4-1 team.
“The biggest thing for me is the effort,” he said of his team’s play. “It can galvanize a group and hopefully that’s what it does. You can hear the atmosphere in the locker room.”
The mood was decidedly more somber for Cheverus (6-4-1), which saw a game it thought was in hand slip away. Coach Dan Lucas said he sensed trouble heading into the five-minute power play.
“I could tell they were getting a little stronger in that third period,” he said. “And then five minutes, it doesn’t matter who’s out there, they’re going to wear you down. We just made a couple of mistakes. We gave the puck up and you can’t do that.”
Trojan forward Jimmy Remmes took the puck from the left board and skated in on Blier, firing a shot that seemed to go through him with three minutes remaining. Thornton never even pulled its goaltender, Andrew Huot, instead waiting patiently until Eric Profenno tied the score with 54 seconds left when he swept in his own rebound from the right circle.
In overtime, both teams appeared sluggish and Cheverus managed only one shot on goal.
“I think they were a little slower to get to the puck and move it, and that’s what allowed them to get in deeper and deeper,” Lucas said of his defensive corps.
Blier made a couple of key saves but couldn’t foil Browne.
“It was crazy,” Fallon said. “That’s the way hockey goes, though. A bounce here and there, and you end up getting a good shot, and Brownie finished it off.”
Mark Emmert can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: