The first week of the boys hockey playoffs left fans, players and coaches breathless.

And there’s still a couple of rounds to go.

While the Cheverus/Yarmouth and Portland/Deering co-op teams have been eliminated, the South Portland/Waynflete/Freeport squad was preparing to take on Scarborough in the Class A state semifinal round at press time.

History makers?

Two years ago, SP/Waynflete/Freeport reached the state semifinal for the first time, then lost to eventual champion Lewiston. This season, the squad earned the No. 3 seed in Class A and had no trouble with No. 14 St. Dom’s in the state preliminary round last Wednesday, prevailing, 5-1, as Dylan Hannan scored two goals and Cullen Adams, Ian Wright and Brady Frank added one apiece.

In Friday’s state quarterfinal round, versus No. 6 Lake Region/Fryeburg/Oxford Hills, SP/Waynflete/Freeport Joey Soucy and Adams had early goals and after Lake Region rallied to tie it, Richie Gilboy scored on the power play 50 seconds into the third period and that was enough to produce a 3-2 victory .

SP/Waynflete/Freeport (13-6-1) battled No. 7 Scarborough (11-8-1) in the state semifinals Tuesday at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland with a trip to the state finals at stake. The Red Storm won the first regular season meeting, 2-1, Jan. 20 in Portland. The teams then tied, 1-1, Feb. 19 in Gorham.

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If SP/Waynflete/Freeport reaches the Class A state game for the first time, it would meet either No. 1 Edward Little (17-2) or No. 5 Thornton Academy (14-5) at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Cross Insurance Arena. SP/Waynflete/Freeport beat Edward Little, 6-1, Feb. 12 and lost, 6-0, to the visiting Golden Trojans five days later.

Overtime blues

Portland/Deering, the No. 10 seed in Class A, nearly upset No. 7 Scarborough in the state preliminary round, erasing a four-goal deficit to force overtime before ultimately falling short. The game was tied, 1-1, after one period, but the Red Storm scored four straight goals in the second period before a late power play tally from Nick Walsh provided life. Down, 5-2, entering the third period, Portland/Deering roared back, as Andrew Legere scored to make it 5-3, Colby Winship made things very interesting with a goal and in the final minute, Legere scored again, to force OT, but there, Scarborough scored to win it, 6-5, ending Portland/Deering’s season at 6-11. Goalie Ryan Becker made 29 saves and Carlos Braceras also scored in the loss.

“I’m so proud of the kids,” Portland/Deering coach Jeff Beaney said. “A lot of teams at 5-1 could have said ‘Screw it,’ and it ends up 8-1, 9-1. But they turned it around. There’s no quit in them. They just kept improving. We aren’t the prettiest team, but man, we’re hard to play against. We do a lot of little things well.”

Cheverus/Yamouth’s Ian O’Connor shoots the puck around a York defender during last week’s 5-1 victory in the Class B South quarterfinals. Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Portland Press Herald

In Class B South, the Cheverus/Yarmouth co-op team, ranked third, had no trouble with No. 6 York in last Wednesday’s quarterfinals.

With the game a mere 14 seconds old, senior Kevin Connolly scored on a rebound and Cheverus/Yarmouth was on its way.

“It was really important to come out fast and we jumped on them on the first shift,” Connolly said. “I shot the puck and saw it hit the defenseman and go in. That set the tone for the rest of the game.”

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Before the first period was over, sophomore Andrew Cheever and senior Matt Robichaud added goals for a 3-0 advantage.

Cheverus/Yarmouth didn’t let the Wildcats back in the game in the second period and essentially put it away when senior Oliver Prinn and junior Ryan Franceschi found the net.

While York got a goal early in the third period, it couldn’t score again, and Cheverus/Yarmouth went on to a 5-1 victory.

“It was a good team effort from start to finish,” Prinn said. “Everyone came to play tonight.”

“I thought we kept the momentum up in the first period and didn’t hit the pause button,” said Cheverus/Yarmouth coach Dave St. Pierre. “I thought in the beginning of the second period, we did pause a little bit and had to re-establish ourselves. We had a great week of practice. The boys really focused on moving the puck into dangerous places and it paid off.”

Friday’s semifinal round at No. 2 Brunswick proved to be a game for the ages, one which went on and on and on into the night.

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Brian Connolly put Cheverus/Yarmouth ahead, but the Dragons tied it up. After falling behind, 2-1, Cheverus/Yarmouth drew even on a goal from Ben Moll, then just 27 seconds into the third period, Andrew Cheever scored for a 3-2 lead, but again, Brunswick answered and the game would go to overtime.

Then, a second OT.

And a third.

And a fourth.

And finally a fifth, before Brunswick’s Zach Stern-Hayes scored to finally end it and give the Dragons a 4-3 victory, allowing them to advance to the regional final to take on top-ranked, two-time reigning champion Greely and ending Cheverus/Yarmouth’s season at 13-6.

“It was insane, but it was a lot of fun,” St. Pierre said. “Unfortunately, we just came out on the wrong end. It was a battle of two evenly matched teams. We went toe-to-toe and both teams left it all on the ice. We each hit the post, we had breakaway opportunities, a lot of shots. I thought in the first overtime, they carried play, then it was even after that.

“After the game, I just talked about how proud I was of the boys. They gave me everything they had. I’m really proud of the senior class for leading us all year and bringing two schools together to form a new program. They set the foundation for future success.

“It will be very tough to replace our six seniors, but I’m hopeful and encouraged that we’ll do a good job reloading. Depth-wise, we look good. Our big junior class will be motivated. Our sophomores got some good varsity exposure this year. We have (goalie) Neal (McQuarrie) back too, which will help us.”

Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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