BIDDEFORD — Several minutes into Thornton Academy’s boys’ hockey practice at Biddeford Ice Arena, Coach Jamie Gagnon pounded his stick on the ice and called out, “Let’s go.”

Gagnon was simply getting his players’ attention, but his call could have reflected the Trojans’ urgency this season.

A one-time powerhouse, Thornton Academy hit the skids last year with a 2-16 record. Now the Trojans hope to begin their ascension. The high school boys’ hockey season is underway, and Thornton opens its schedule Wednesday night with a home game against Bonny Eagle/Massabesic/Old Orchard Beach.

For the Trojans, a repeat of 2014-15 is not acceptable.

“Looking back at that record, it’s frowned upon,” said Zach Foss, one of three Thornton senior captains. “We have higher standards than that. We need to be up higher.”

While the obvious hope is that Thornton can turn the page on last year, Gagnon is not letting his players forget. He wants last season’s results to fuel this season’s charge.

“One of the first things we did was put the record on the board and tell them this is one of the things we have to get better at,” Gagnon said.

This is Gagnon’s fifth season at Thornton, after spending the previous eight years as an assistant coach at both Biddeford High and the University of New England. When Gagnon came to Thornton, he inherited a Class A state champion team.

Gagnon coached the Trojans to a second straight title in 2012.

Among the fans watching that Thornton team celebrate was an eighth-grader named Tanner McFarren.

“I was thinking ‘I want to be that person. I want to be on that team,'” said McFarren, now one of the Trojans’ captains.

Thornton Academy made the playoffs the next two years, reaching the regional quarterfinals in 2013 and the semifinals in 2014.

Then came last season.

“We had the competitiveness,” McFarren said. “But I felt like last year, if the other team scored, our whole team put their head down.”

That’s because the Trojans had trouble scoring. Any deficit was trouble.

“We’d work hard in practice and then we’d come out and couldn’t put in goals,” said the third captain, Owen Elliott. “That was the frustrating part. We’d be in a game – it was just in reach – but we wouldn’t get it.”

Thornton played some close games, like going into the third period against Scarborough tied 1-1 (losing 3-1). And there were one-goal losses, including a 3-2 defeat to rival Biddeford.

“We have to finish games,” Gagnon said. “We have to play a complete 45-minute game. At times, we played a solid 35-40 minutes. But for those five minutes, we go down two goals and it’s a tough battle.”

Thus, Gagnon’s emphasis on last year’s record – and the need to fix it.

“There are a few things you can tell about a team in the preseason and one of those things is their willingness to work,” Gagnon said. “We have a strong group of leaders.”

Gagnon could have lobbied for a softer schedule, based on last year’s record, but The Trojans are playing Lewiston and Falmouth, plus two games apiece with Scarborough, Biddeford, St. Dom’s and Cheverus.

“Ultimately we looked at the way we played (last year) and we felt we had a chance to continue to compete against the top teams in the state, and that’s our goal,” Gagnon said.

Thornton will be more experienced, although the Trojans are breaking in a freshman (Seth Dube) as their starting goalie. How well they protect their goalie – while improving their offense – will determine how far the Trojans can rise.