PORTLAND—For a team with virtually no postseason experience, the Cheverus girls’ hockey squad certainly made their playoff debut with a flourish Wednesday afternoon at Troubh Ice Arena.

The second-ranked Stags hosted No. 7 Gorham in a South Region quarterfinal and seized control in the first period, as freshman Lucy Johnson, sophomore Charlotte Miller and sophomore Lily Johnson found the net.

Lily Johnson opened the second period with a goal, then sophomore Mikayla Talbot, senior Olivia Bradford and sophomore Madeline Doherty followed suit to make it 7-0.

Bradford, who earlier Wednesday was named a semifinalist for the Becky Schaffer Award, given to the state’s outstanding senior player, then scored twice early in the third period for a hat trick before Talbot added a second goal to complete Cheverus’ offensive production.

Late in regulation, Gorham came alive, as junior Cadence Howard scored twice and sophomore Emerson Homa also finished, but the Stags were able to close out an impressive 10-3 victory.

Cheverus improved to 13-4-1, ended the Rams’ season at 5-11 and in the process, advanced to host No. 3 Scarborough (10-5-1) in the South Region semifinals Saturday at 6 p.m., at Troubh Ice Arena.


“It’s a good first step,” said Stags coach Scott Rousseau. “It was good to get rid of the jitters and get ready for the real show on Saturday. I thought we played a solid game for all three periods.”

The journey begins

Cheverus had a very successful regular season, winning 12 games by averaging more than five goals in those outings, and while the Stags lost twice each to Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland and Lewiston, those losses came by a combined five goals, with one coming in overtime. Cheverus also played Edward Little/Leavitt to a tie.

Gorham, which also features three players from Massabesic and one apiece from Bonny Eagle and Fryeburg Academy, started the year 2-0 and won two of its final three, but struggled against the top teams in the region, going 0-4 against Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland, Cheverus, Scarborough and Falmouth.

The teams met just once this year, a 9-1 Stags’ victory Jan. 6, and had never before met in the playoffs.

Wednesday morning, Bradford learned that she’s in the running for the Schaffer Award. Cheverus’ Lucia Pompeo won the award a year ago.


“I found out in the middle of the school day today,” said Bradford. “That was pretty cool.”

“Olivia has been a tremendous leader for us all year long on a team that’s young and inexperienced,” Rousseau said. “I think she’s been frustrated that the scoring hadn’t come, but her leadership for so important. She’s a wonderful captain and she got rewarded today for her hard work.”

The Stags started peppering Gorham senior goalie Sadie Dyer in the first minute and broke through at 4:09 of the first period, when Lucy Johnson took a pass from Bradford and fired a shot into the goal. Lily Johnson also got an assist.

Cheverus then went on the power play and at 5:39, made it 2-0, as Miller finished, with Bradford and sophomore Brynn McKenney getting assists.

The Rams had just one shot in the period, but it came on a good chance at 6:18, as senior Sydney Haskell was denied by Stags starting goalie, sophomore Ella Lemieux.

Cheverus then took a 3-0 lead at 11:28, as Miller set up Lily Johnson for a long shot which eluded Dyer.


The Stags had a 16-1 edge in shots in the first period, then really opened it up in the second period.

After Cheverus failed to convert on a power play, Lily Johnson, set up by Lucy Johnson, made it 4-0 at 3:42.

A mere two seconds later (the clock didn’t initially start on the puck drop), freshman Zoe Radford set up Talbot for a 5-0 advantage.

Gorham coach Mary Vaughan called timeout, but it didn’t help, as Miller set up Bradford for her first goal at 6:47.

Then, with 57.7 seconds left in the second period, Doherty rebounded home a Talbot shot (Lucy Johnson also got an assist) to make it 7-0.

Bradford opened the third period scoring at 2:52, finishing on a rush with Miller and Lily Johnson getting assists.


Then, at 6:03, Bradford got her hat trick goal, with sophomore Brynn McKenney getting the assist, for a 9-0 advantage.

“My teammates had my back and set me up for goals,” Bradford said. “I love my line-mates so much.”

Cheverus then hit double digits 59 seconds later, as Talbot rebounded home Doherty’s shot.

Gorham came alive late and got on the board at 7:38, as Howard scored unassisted.

Howard then set up Homa at 8:50 before scoring the second time (from Haskell) 31 seconds later.

That would be it for scoring and the Stags closed out their 10-3 victory.


“All of our goals came as a team,” said Bradford. “Every single one was assisted. We worked well together to produce those 10 goals. I think our goal was to jump on them early. We’re such a young team and most of us haven’t played a playoff game. It was good to get our nerves out.”

Cheverus had a commanding 45-8 shots advantage, went 1-for-4 on the power play and got two saves from Lemieux and three from senior Kiera Delahanty, who came on in the second period.

Gorham was 0-for-1 on the power play and got 35 saves from Dyer.

“Our girls fought the entire time, the whole 45 minutes and that’s all we asked of them,” Vaughan said. “We’ve come a long way as a program. We have a great senior group that has set the tone for us. We lose six seniors who played all four years, one being our goalie. We’re trying to grow the program. Hopefully we’ll get some momentum from this.”

Staying put

Cheverus will stay at Troubh Ice Arena to battle Scarborough in what should be a good one Saturday afternoon.


The Stags opened with a 6-1 win at Scarborough Dec. 3, then eked out a 2-1 home victory over the Red Storm Jan. 21. Cheverus has taken three of four prior playoff meetings, with a 3-2 overtime victory in the 2019 South Region semifinals the most recent. That year, the Stags went on to win the state title.

This year’s squad hopes to follow suit, but expects a battle in the next round.

“Scarborough’s very good and they really tested us last game,” said Bradford. “We have to focus in practice and come in mentally and physically rested. I have complete faith in us. I love our team.”

“We’re young in hockey, but we have a lot of girls on the team who won a state championship in field hockey, so I don’t expect our youth to be an issue,” Rousseau said. “Scarborough’s a senior team that’s making its last stand. It will be a battle Saturday. We’ve proven we’re good enough to be in every game.”

Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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