Entering the postseason, Thornton Academy’s boys’ hockey team wasn’t viewed as a championship threat in Class A South.

But the Golden Trojans have other ideas.

Seeded fifth in a deep field, Thornton made an impressive statement in its playoff opener Wednesday evening at Troubh Ice Arena, answering every surge from fourth-seeded Portland/Deering as it advanced to the semifinals.

A hat trick from Chandler Bilodeau, two goals and two assists from Owen Dubois, and an empty-net goal and three assists from Reagan Wintle propelled the Golden Trojans to a 6-3 victory, setting up a semifinal at 2 p.m. Saturday against top-seeded Cheverus at the Colisee in Lewiston.

“We knew it would be a tough game, but we have good leadership in the locker room,” said Thornton Coach Michael Roux. “The boys had to match their intensity and we did.”

Portland/Deering struck first, as Jake Luce put the rebound of Miki Silva’s shot past Seth Dube at 5:32 of the first period.

Thornton (12-7) scored twice in the final two minutes of the period to go on top, however. Bilodeau got an unassisted goal at 13:08 and Wintle set up Dubois for a blast that eluded Portland/Deering goalie Ben McCallum at 14:19.

Just 2:26 into the second period, Dubois made it 3-1, assisted by Christopher Balzano and Wintle.

Portland/Deering regained momentum with 31.1 seconds to go in the period when Silva grabbed the puck out of midair, dropped it, then fired it past Dube. Cam King and Walter Lewandowski were credited with assists.

The Bulldogs then tied it with 6:43 remaining, as Whit Steele steered the rebound of his own shot past Dube. Just 22 seconds later, Thornton regained the lead when Bilodeau fired a shot that McCallum slowed before the puck got past him and rolled over the goal line.

Bilodeau completed his hat trick at 9:44.

“We kept working hard and we didn’t let off the gas,” said Bilodeau. “This was a big game for us. A hat trick was great.”

Wintle clinched it with an empty-netter with 53.4 seconds on the clock.

“Our goal was to have a winning season, to win a playoff game and to get to Lewiston, and we did,” Roux said.

Dube stopped 25 shots, including several highlight-reel saves in a second-period flurry during a Portland/Deering power play.

Thornton split two games against Cheverus (13-4-1) in the regular season and believes it isn’t done yet.

“Our record doesn’t show how good we are, but we’ve proved ourselves all season long,” Bilodeau said.

Portland/Deering, which went 0 for 4 on the power play, got 20 saves from McCallum as it finished the year 8-9-2.

“We’ve become known for never really being out of it,” said Portland/Deering Coach Jeff Beaney. “This group has been so enjoyable. They took great care of each other.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.