Friday, December 6, 2013
By GREG REID Special to the Press Herald
PORTLAND - It's a story we know well, the one about the plucky, short-handed gang like the Marshwood-Traip Academy boys' hockey team that plays its heart out but comes up short.
Peter Lajeunesse, left, and Nick Deveau of Marshwood-Traip Academy celebrate Lajeunesse’s first-period goal Wednesday night in the 5-3 victory against Cheverus in a Western Class A boys’ hockey quarterfinal at the Portland Ice Arena.
Photos by Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer
Kyle Hichens, the goalie for Marshwood-Traip Academy, made 38 saves to help preserve the victory. The Hawks will meet top-ranked Thornton Academy in the semifinals.
In the end, superior numbers just prove too much.
On Wednesday night, the Hawks tossed that script to the wind.
Linemates Peter Lajeunesse and Corey Wright each had two goals and two assists to lead fifth-seeded Marshwood-Traip to a hard-hitting 5-3 victory over fourth-seeded Cheverus in a Western Class A quarterfinal at the Portland Ice Arena.
"We rolled two lines pretty much most of the year so conditioning shouldn't be a problem," said Marshwood-Traip Coach Eric Royal. "For the most part we bore down, got to where we needed to be and we played well enough to win."
The Hawks (14-5) moved on to the regional semifinals, where they'll take on top seed and defending state champion Thornton Academy (17-1-1) at the Colisee in Lewiston on Saturday. The Stags ended the season 13-6.
Marshwood-Traip dressed 16 players. Cheverus dressed 20, though the Hawks' three-goal first period shortened the Stags' bench as well.
"I wanted to play our third line a bit more," said Cheverus Coach Dan Lucas, "but the fact is we needed goals."
The Hawks came out hard, playing a physical game that sent the Stags flying and both teams heading to the penalty box. For the game, Marshwood went 2 of 4 on the power play, Cheverus 2 of 7.
"Hockey is a contact sport," Royal said. "You want to make people hurt, don't want them skating around. If you lay a good body check on them, they start thinking, 'Do I want to go in there next time?' There's a cumulative effect that wears them down."
Wright gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead at 4:59 and Lajeunesse and Ryan Tobey scored power-play goals in the final two minutes of the period to push the Hawks' edge to 3-0.
That didn't last. The Stags responded with a three-goal second period as Liam Fitzpatrick beat Hawks goalie Kyle Hichens (38 saves) on a power play from in close just 39 seconds in, and Cameron McLain scored on the power play (3:02) and short-handed (12:50).
"They were bumping us off the puck," Lucas said. "We had a couple of opportunities but we didn't connect on them. That can give a team some life."
As did the winning goal. Lajeunesse blitzed a sprawling Mike Haas-Zanghi (25 saves) and tucked the puck under the crossbar to make it 4-2.
McLain's short-handed goal narrowed it to a one-goal game until goal-hungry Cheverus pulled Haas-Zanghi for an extra skater with 1:23 to play. Wright beat a defenseman to a loose puck at the blue line and snapped in an empty-net goal to make it 5-3.
Now it's off to Lewiston for a rematch with the Trojans, who beat the Hawks 8-1 on Feb. 8 in Biddeford.
"We've got to play them like we did the first period (on Feb. 8), which ended with us down 2-1," said Wright.
"We just need to hold down the penalties and try to hold them down defensively."