SACO – Tom Lawson noticed early that something was quite different with his Cheverus High lacrosse teammates Wednesday.

“We just lost to Deering on Friday but it seems like we’re a totally different team now,” Lawson said.

He was part of the difference. Lawson had two goals and an assist, helping the Stags to a 5-2 victory against Thornton Academy in a Southern Maine Activities Association game at Hill Stadium.

“We have more movement in our game and we’re more unified because we worked on some team-building stuff,” said Lawson. “It’s totally different.”

Lawson, a freshman, and his teammates took the season-opening 4-2 loss personally and bounced back against Thornton (1-1).

The Stags (1-1) carried most of the play and picked apart the defense in sending 31 shots on goal.

“When I stepped on the bus after the Deering game, it was absolutely silent,” Cheverus Coach Deke Andrew said. “That was not anyone’s decision; that was simply where they were at emotionally. I think that loss stung and I think they were anxious to step out of that. Hopefully this will do that.”

Cheverus opened the scoring midway through the second quarter when Lawson bounced a low shot past Brett Levasseur.

Less than three minutes later, Thornton tied it when Parker Roma found a lane and charged to the front of the goal. His shot made it 1-1.

The Stags took over in the third quarter, scoring twice for a 3-1 lead. Lawson set up Spencer Amberson — his first of two assists — on a pretty feed from behind the goal to break the tie. Jack Sutton, with his third goal in two games, then connected from long distance in the final minute of the period.

The Trojans had a chance to get back into the game in the opening minute of the fourth quarter with back-to-back quality chances. But Cheverus goalie Colm Pusey, who finished with 16 saves, turned aside close-in opportunities by Scott Benson and Greg Lodge.

On the ensuing possession, Lawson registered his second assist of the game, setting up Pat O’Hanlon to make it 4-1.

“Lawson’s skill level is outstanding and that’s a tribute to his coaches when he started playing the game,” said Andrew. “He’s doesn’t view himself as a freshman and he doesn’t play like a freshman. He’s physical. He’s big. He’s a nice player.”

Benson scored the other Thornton goal.

“We just didn’t execute the fundamentals,” said Thornton Coach Ryan Hersey, who estimated Cheverus had possession for at least 70 percent of the game. “We gave them way too many opportunities to get a good shot on goal and we didn’t give ourselves enough by trying to force passes.”