PORTLANDIt didn’t come easily and it was a long time in coming.

And the Cheverus/Yarmouth boys’ hockey team relished getting into the win column Thursday afternoon at Troubh Ice Arena.

Hosting Gorham in an early-season Class B South battle, it was clear early that goals would be at a premium, as both Rams’ senior goalie Jasper Crane and Cheverus/Yarmouth senior goalie Neal McQuarrie stood tall, keeping the game scoreless through one period, then through two.

But with just 3:32 remaining, Cheverus/Yarmouth broke through, as senior Ryan Franceschi finished and that was enough to produce a 1-0 victory.

Cheverus/Yarmouth, which has been competitive all winter, improved to 1-2-1, while dropping Gorham to 3-4 in the process.

“What I was most proud is that we didn’t quit and we came together and worked hard and earned the opportunity to get that win,” said Cheverus/Yarmouth coach Dave St. Pierre. “It wasn’t frustration, but determination kept getting stronger and stronger. We knew if we kept going strong, it would work.”


Goalie duel

Cheverus/Yarmouth lost a five-overtime heartbreaker to Brunswick in last year’s Class B South semifinal and the Dragons went on to capture the state championship. This winter, the squad started slowly with losses to visiting Kennebunk (3-2) and Cape Elizabeth (6-1) before tying host Brunswick (3-3) in its last outing back on Dec. 21.

Gorham, meanwhile, started fast by downing Greely (7-2), Kennebunk (4-2) and York (5-3) before losing to Fryeburg (3-2), Cape Elizabeth (4-2) and Brunswick (5-2).

Last year, Cheverus/Yarmouth captured both outings, 3-0 in Gorham and 8-2 at home.

Thursday, the Rams hoped the snap their skid, but instead, Cheverus/Yarmouth managed to get in the win column for the first time since downing York (5-1) in the Class B South quarterfinals last March 2.

Just 10 seconds in, Cheverus/Yarmouth had a chance to go ahead, but senior Ben Moll was denied by Crane.


McQuarrie then made his presence felt by stopping consecutive shots from junior Cole Allen and senior Emmit Sullivan.

After Moll and Franceschi each missed wide, McQuarrie saved a shot from junior Corliss Ordway after a turnover.

Late in the first period, Crane twice denied senior Cam O’Donnell, then he robbed Moll.

Cheverus/Yarmouth began the second period on the power play and produced multiple good looks, only to be frustrated.

First Crane saved a shot from junior Andrew Cheever. Next, he twice saved bids from senior Truman Peters.

Gorham then went on the power play, but couldn’t muster a shot on goal.


After a shot from sophomore Quinn McCoy was saved by Crane, Cheverus/Yarmouth went on the power play for a second time, but this time, the Rams almost scored, as Sullivan and Andrew Gaudreau had short-handed looks, but McQuarrie stood tall.

Late in the period, Crane robbed junior Brian Connolly on the doorstep and after the Rams went man-up, both Gaudreau and Ordway were stonewalled by McQuarrie.

In the final minute, Crane saved shots from Moll and senior Ethan St. Pierre, then McQuarrie turned aside one more shot from Ordway, sending the contest to the second intermission still deadlocked at 0-0.

For much of the third period, both offenses continued to be stymied, as Crane made saves on shots from senior Jaden Morin and St. Pierre, while McQuarrie robbed seniors Brady Alexander and Jack Reidy.

With 7:41 to go, Cheverus/Yarmouth went on the power play, but couldn’t muster a shot.

With 4:46 left, McQuarrie made a nice glove save on a shot off the stick of Sullivan.


Then, with 3:32 remaining, Cheverus/Yarmouth finally broke through.

The play began with McCoy racing up the ice with the puck. McCoy then sent it to Peters, who passed it to Franceschi, who managed to get it past Crane and in for a 1-0 lead.

“My goal wasn’t great, but it went in,” said Franceschi. “It doesn’t matter how it goes in. Me and ‘Trudy’ went down two-on-one. I just got a lucky goal from behind the net. It just went in off his skates. We knew it would come eventually.”

“We just kept going hard,” said Dave St. Pierre. “It was a good rush up-ice. ‘Puck-luck’ I guess. It all started with a great break-out play in our zone to spring the rush. Quinn did a great job getting the puck up-ice. He’s a sophomore who has stepped up and played big minutes for us. Ryan got the puck in. A big goal for him.”

Gorham hoped for the equalizer, but even after going man-up with 21 seconds left, couldn’t put a shot on cage and Cheverus/Yarmouth was able to run out the clock and celebrate its 1-0 victory.

“We knew we needed the win today and we came together,” Franceschi said.


“We needed a ‘W’ tonight,” Dave St. Pierre said. “Gorham’s a gritty team. What this does for us is it shows that if we play together as a family and we work hard for each other, good things will happen.”

Cheverus/Yarmouth finished with a 30-16 shots advantage and got 16 saves from McQuarrie.

“Neal played really well today,” said Franceschi. “He earned the shutout.”

“Neal played a great game tonight in net,” Dave St. Pierre said. “He’s been working hard and has gotten better.”

Gorham got 29 saves from Crane, but it wasn’t enough.

“Jasper played phenomenal in net for them,” said Dave St. Pierre. “We put a lot of pucks on him.”


“We have good offensive players, but credit to (Cheverus/Yarmouth), they play hard and they have a really good goalie over there,” said Rams coach Shawn Sullivan. “Goals were tough to come by today. (Jasper) made a lot of really good saves. He gave us a chance to win. The goal they got was a bad bounce, but we know he’ll always be there for us.”

Building block

Gorham looks to return to the win column when it hosts York Saturday.

“We try to stress that we’re staying with the top teams,” said Sullivan. “We’re short guys right now, but if we keep working at it, it will come. I’m proud of the guys.”

Yarmouth/Cheverus will host Leavitt Saturday, then has two key games next week, Tuesday at St. Dom’s, then next Thursday at home versus reigning Class A champion Scarborough.

“If you look at our talent, I feel like we’re good,” said Franceschi.

“I’m excited about where we’re heading,” Dave St. Pierre said. “We’re feeling good. We have another tough league opponent coming up, then two tough games next week against Class A opponents. No nights off, but if we build on what we did tonight, I think we’ll be feeling good. Finishing is the big thing we have to do better. We can get better in all facets of the game and that will be our continued focus.”

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

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