They began the year with uncertainty, searching to merge with another hockey program, and then searching for a new coach.

The Cheverus Stags could not find a partner but got a coach. And now, with a drop in classification and a favorable schedule, the Stags are doing alright.

Cheverus topped Cape Elizabeth 6-3 Thursday night at Troubh Arena, running its record to 6-0. Cape dropped to 1-5.

“We pulled it together,” Cheverus senior forward Jack Chaput said.

The Stags might have struggled in Class A, but they are a strong Class B team, especially with the senior forward tandem of Jackson Wilson and Chaput. Wilson looks like a deer on skates, graceful from end-to-end, and Chaput finds himself in the right spot often. Wilson recorded a hat trick Thursday that included an empty-netter, and also had an assist. Chaput recorded a goal and two assists.

Junior forward Nick Giancotti added a goal and assist. Junior goalie Bryson Pomerleau came up with 23 saves.

“We have work to do, but we’re working hard,” said Cheverus first-year coach Marco Giancotti.

Giancotti did not expect to be coaching, but previous coach Mike Carmody left in the fall, at a precarious time when Cheverus, with a thin roster, unsuccessfully tried to find a co-op partner.

“It was a little nerve-wracking,” Wilson said. “Will we have a team? Where will we be? … It was scary, but I knew we would end up playing.”

Giancotti, Nick’s father, was an experienced coach with Casco Bay Youth Hockey. Cheverus reached out to him.

Giancotti’s older son, Marco, played for Cheverus two years ago when the Stags were strong in Class A. But now Cheverus has fewer players (16 skaters, including five freshmen) and opted to play in Class B.

“With our roster, we really have no choice,” Coach Giancotti said.

Cape has long been a Class B contender. The Capers are young this year (with 13 freshmen, including both goalies) and have faced a tough schedule. Two of their other losses have been to Greely, the defending Class B state champion, and Thornton Academy, which is unbeaten in Class A.

Conversely, none of Cheverus’ opponents have a winning record. The Stags no longer play the top Class A teams, though their schedule does toughen up later this month with games against Gorham (3-1-1) and Greely (5-1).

Cape was competitive with Cheverus and outshot the Stags 26-18. But Cheverus broke away late in the first period with three goals in a four-minute burst. A double-teamed Wilson passed to Chaput for a goal at 8:59. Giancotti scored a power-play goal on a rebound at 11:32, and defenseman Colin Doherty wristed a shot through a crowd at 12:11.

Cape’s Matthew Laughlin scored two goals in the second period – sandwiched around Wilson’s power-play goal.

In the third period, Wilson scored on a rebound. A one-timer by Cape’s Gavin Simopoulos during a 6-on-4 advantage with the goalie pulled made it 5-3 with 2:05 left, but Wilson’s empty-netter sealed it.

“We have to find ways to win games,” Cape Coach Jacob Rutt said. “I don’t think our record shows who we are. We’re battling. That’s not easy with a record like this, but it says a lot about their character.”

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