Deven Hannan scored the first goal, 29 seconds into the first period. He scored the last one, an empty-netter with 13 seconds left in the game.

“That was awesome,” Hannan said. “We have struggled to beat Cheverus and we finally got it done.”

Indeed.

South Portland/Waynflete/Freeport took a 3-0 lead and held on to beat the Stags 4-2 in a Class A South quarterfinal Wednesday night at the Troubh Arena.

Along with Hannan’s two goals, Mitchell Adams and Bradley McMains scored for the Red Riots.

South Portland goalie Liam McGibbon made some sensational saves among his 23 stops, especially in the third period.

Colby Anton and Jackson Wilson scored for Cheverus.

Third-seeded South Portland (11-8) will play No. 2 Biddeford (13-6) in the semifinals on Saturday.

No. 6 Cheverus is done at 8-11.

In their only meeting this season, Cheverus beat the Red Riots, 4-1 on Jan. 26. But on Wednesday South Portland quickly took the lead with Hannon’s score from the right circle, through a crowd.

“All year, I’ve been getting that shot blocked,” Hannon said. “I didn’t know it went in.

“It was really big to get a jump start.”

The Red Riots have been a team that falls behind early and then scrambles to catch up – sort of like their season. South Portland began 4-6 before coming on.

“We hit a rough patch at the start of the season,” McGibbon said. “Since then, everyone’s picked it up a notch.”

South Portland took a 2-0 lead at 11:57 on Mitchell Adams’ short-handed effort, skating across the slot and firing.

To begin the second period, McGibbon flashed a pad to stop a Wilson breakaway, and South Portland hurried with a counter. McMains skated in untouched and scored, 31 seconds into the period.

“They came out flying, banging bodies and getting pucks deep,” Cheverus Coach Mike Carmody said. “We had trouble matching their intensity at first. But a couple deep breaths and we played our style. … We got enough firepower to get back in it, like we did tonight.”

Anton sniped a shot from the right circle and Cheverus closed to 3-1 at 3:57.

On South Portland’s only power play, Cheverus cleared the puck, and Wilson beat everyone to it. His short-handed goal at 6:54 made it 3-2.

Cheverus dominated the period, with the help of five South Portland penalties.

“The second period was kind of brutal. We didn’t get many calls our way,” South Portland Coach Joe Robinson said. “After the period, I told the guys. ‘I know you’re frustrated. You’re angry at the refs but you can’t control that. And, hey, you killed the penalties. Use that momentum and finish it.'”

They did, with the help of McGibbon. He kept making quality saves, including a glove stop on a low blast by Colin Doherty from the high slot, through traffic.

“I didn’t see it right away, but I caught it last-second,” McGibbon said. “Just reactionary. I sat down in relief.”

With two minutes remaining, McGibbon made a save, but no one knew where the puck was. When McGibbon fell back, the puck dropped from under his arm. The referee blew the whistle as Alex Brewer was knocking the puck. The referee ruled a goal but, after a conference, which include the goal judge, it was disallowed.

“A quick whistle,” Carmody said.

Cheverus would soon pull goalie Bryson Pomerleau (20 saves), but Hannan cinched it for South Portland.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: @KevinThomasPPH


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