LEWISTON — For the third time this season Thornton Academy faced off against Scarborough in a boys hockey game, and for the third time the result didn’t go in favor of the Trojans, as the Red Storm scored three goals in the first six minutes en route to a 7-1 victory in a Western Class A semifinal at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston on Saturday.

The Trojans lost 8-4 and 7-1 to the Red Storm in the teams’ two regular season matchups, and things went south for Thornton early in the third meeting. Drew Lavigne went to the penalty box 2:15 into the game, and Owen Lemoine joined him 1:05 later after being called for tripping while trying to kill off the penalty.

It took the Red Storm just 21 seconds of the 5-on-3 to get on the scoreboard, as Sean McGovern had an easy put-back at the right post on a shot by Ian McKenna.

Scarborough scored again 16 seconds later with a man-advantage, with Jake Gross scoring on a rebound at the left post.

“A team like this, the last thing you can do is be battling uphill. And taking those two penalties early, and getting behind, it changed our game entirely,” said Thornton head coach Jamie Gagnon. “The bottom line is you can’t be successful with fewer guys on the ice than this team, and we found that out early tonight.”

The Trojans got their own power play opportunity 5:37 into the opening period, but it was the Red Storm who took advantage. Matt Henderson stole the puck along the right boards and went the other way before beating Thornton goalie Oliwer Hogberg-Karlsson between the legs for a short-handed goal six minutes in.

The Trojans didn’t put a shot on goal during the power play, and didn’t get their first shot on goal of the game until the Red Storm already had 10 of its own.

The Trojans nearly got on the board with 4:30 left in the first period, but a shot from between the circles by Jacob Verreault rang off the inside of the right post and back onto the ice.

“One goal and the momentum would have been back on our side, and we couldn’t find that; (we) hit a couple posts, and didn’t have many shots,” said Verreault.

Thornton started the second period with 1:57 of power play, but wasn’t able to seize opportunity of the man-advantage.

“We thought that might have been it. We thought to be able to get it to 3-1, we thought we’d have an opportunity there to get back into the game,” Gagnon said about starting the period with a power play. “Ultimately we had some good chances, but we didn’t get enough shots to the net. And that was disappointing.”

The Trojans struggled to get the puck out of their own zone for much of the second period, as the Scarborough forecheck suffocated them at the blue line. Thornton was held to just three shots on goal through the first two periods.

“They play really good defense. They’ve got some big, strong guys. They really did shut us down this game, and I give them props for doing that,” said Verreault. “That’s some of the reason we couldn’t capitalize on the power play and get that many shots to the net.”

The lead stayed at 3-0 for much of the second period, but the Red Storm lit the lamp again with 2:27 left, as Matthew Caron fed Eric Grantz on a 2-on-1 and Grantz easily beat Hogberg-Karlsson for the goal.

Scarborough put two more goals on the scoreboard early in the third period, as Cameron Nigro and Cam Brochu scored 46 seconds part, putting the Red Storm up 6-0.

“They absolutely played an entire complete game,” Gagnon said of Scarborough. “We were battling from behind early, and couldn’t find the offense to be able to battle back into the game.”

Taylor Browne finally ended the shutout with seven minutes to play, as he sent a shot from the left circle past Scarborough goalie Ben Bragg in a 4-on-3 situation.

Grantz rounded out the scoring with a power play goal in the final five minutes as the Red Storm punched its ticket to the regional final for the second year in a row.

For Thornton, it’s a disappointing finish to a up-and-down year, and another early exit for a senior class that won state championships its first two years.

“It was certainly a tough night, but given all that, and the body of work for the seniors and this group, I couldn’t be more proud of their efforts to get us here. We had a tough schedule this year and still, through their efforts, we were allowed to at least get here, and give them a shot,” said Gagnon. “I tried to stress in (the locker room) that it’s about a body of work. This game will leave a bad taste in your mouth ”¦ but ultimately what they’ve done in their four-year career, and what they’ve done for this program and this team, is something immeasurable, and I couldn’t be more appreciative.”

Staff Writer Wil Kramlich can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 323 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @WilTalkSports.



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