Thornton Academy’s Ian McKenna (9) and Noah Logan (14) celebrate after McKenna scored a goal in the third period of Tuesday’s Class A South quarterfinal game against Noble/Wells.

Thornton Academy’s Ian McKenna (9) and Noah Logan (14) celebrate after McKenna scored a goal in the third period of Tuesday’s Class A South quarterfinal game against Noble/Wells.

BIDDEFORD — The visiting Noble/Wells Knights were able to hang with Thornton Academy through one period in Tuesday night’s Class A South quarterfinal hockey clash, but the Trojans would score three goals in the first five minutes of the second period on their way to a 6-1 win.

No. 3 Thornton Academy got on the board first when Luke Chessie took a pass from Owen Elliott and scored with 11:36 left in the first period.

Thornton Academy’s Luke Chessie chases down the puck during Tuesday night’s Class A South quarterfinal game against Noble/Wells. Chessie was one of six players to score in the Trojans’ 6-1 win.

Thornton Academy’s Luke Chessie chases down the puck during Tuesday night’s Class A South quarterfinal game against Noble/Wells. Chessie was one of six players to score in the Trojans’ 6-1 win.

Noble/Wells, which came in as the sixth seed, was able to answer with just 2:44 left in the opening period when Kyle Wiswell scored on a long-distance shot.

TA coach Jamie Gagnon knew that his team needed to stay calm after a hard-fought, back-and-forth first period.

“I think the message was to just stay patient. We knew that they had some guys that can play and I think our mindset was to continue to stay patient throughout the game and do what we wanted to do,” said Gagnon.

Thornton Academy’s Owen Elliott tries to chase down Noble/Wells’ Noah Pease during Tuesday night’s Class A South quarterfinal game.

Thornton Academy’s Owen Elliott tries to chase down Noble/Wells’ Noah Pease during Tuesday night’s Class A South quarterfinal game.

Gagnon felt that the goals would come for his team – and freshman goalie Seth Dube would respond after giving up the late, first-period goal.

“I thought we got some good looks in the first period, but (Noble/Wells goalie Nate Paul) played pretty well. They got that kind of fluke goal off a deflection, so they were in the game, but ultimately I thought we did what we wanted to do in the first period and we just had to stay patient and eventually (the goals) would come,” said Gagnon.

TA took the lead back early in the second when Reagan Wintle scored off assists from Chandler Bilodeau and Zach Foss to make it 2-1 at the 12:22 mark.

The lead would quickly balloon to 3-1 when Nolan Millett scored at the 10:05 mark and, just 22 seconds later, Chase Wescott beat the Noble/Wells goalie to make it 4-1.

“I thought the first period was kind of slow for us. We didn’t come to compete, we didn’t have the hunger in the first period, but in the second we came alive and our third line sparked everything,” said Foss, who finished with two assists.

Noble/Wells had a chance to get back into it late in the second when the Trojans had two players sent to the penalty box, which gave the Knights a 5-on- 3 advantage for just under two minutes.

Dube would step up with several saves and the TA defenders were able to hold the Knights to long-distance shots.

“Our defense definitely kept the puck from being close to the zone, close to the net, and kept them out back,” said Dube, who finished with 27 saves.

Dube was thrilled when his teammates gave him a three-goal cushion, but he also knew the Knights would keep fighting.

“I could relax a little bit, but I couldn’t fully relax because I knew they could come back at any moment and I had to stay ready,” said Dube.

Dube would continue to play well in the third period as he held the Knights scoreless – and the Trojans would add a couple insurance goals.

Bilodeau scored at the 11:03 mark of the third and Ian McKenna added the exclamation point with a goal with 9:35 left.

Gagnon was impressed – but not surprised – with his freshman goalie’s performance.

“He’s fearless,” said Gagnon of Dube. “That’s exactly what we are looking for, especially when you get a freshman in this type of situation, with the crowd that we had tonight, a playoff atmosphere and his first playoff game … to come out and play like that is exactly what he’s done all year long, and that’s what he did again tonight.”

The TA coach also wasn’t surprised to see his team’s six goals come from six different players.

“All year long we’ve relied on contributions up and down the lineup and we really rely on all three lines,” said Gagnon. “The offense has been spread out all year long. I think every single one of the guys in the room has a goal this year and you never know who is going to come alive on any given night.”

Foss gave credit to the TA student section for helping the Trojans get fired up in the second period.

“It was pretty crazy. The atmosphere was just nuts for everybody, both sides, the fans were in it and that’s kind of what gave us momentum,” said Foss.

Thornton Academy will now face No. 2 Falmouth in the Class A South semifinals on Saturday.

Gagnon knows the Trojans, who dropped a 5-1 decision to Falmouth on Jan. 30, will have to be on top of their game to get past the Yachtsmen.

“I thought for two periods we played pretty well with them and then we got into some penalty trouble and that hurt us,” said Gagnon of the first meeting with Falmouth. “We certainly have a challenge in front of us and we have to go to work this week and see what we can do.”

The Trojans will be fired up and ready to go against Falmouth, according to Foss.

“I think it’s time to get revenge on them,” said Foss.

Sports Editor Pat McDonald can be reached at [email protected] or at 282-1535 ext. 322. Follow the Journal Tribune Sports Department on Twitter @JournalTsports.


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