PORTLAND—If the Cheverus/Yarmouth co-op boys’ hockey team was hoping to fly under the radar the rest of the season, it ruined any chance of that Thursday afternoon at Troubh Ice Arena.

By putting forth a masterful performance and knocking off reigning Class A state champion Thornton Academy.

Cheverus/Yarmouth struck first, just four minutes in, when senior Sam Bradford pounced on a failed clear and scored a shorthanded goal.

With sophomore goalie Ethan Tucker holding Thornton Academy at bay, Cheverus/Yarmouth doubled its lead with 3:36 to go in the second period, as junior Owen Walsh scored on the power play.

When Walsh added a second goal just 19 seconds into the third period, Cheverus/Yarmouth appeared home free, but senior Alex Alonso scored on a rebound at 6:58 to give the Golden Trojans life.

But that’s as close as Thornton Academy would get, as Cheverus/Yarmouth got a power play goal from senior Evan Hankins at 9:45 and went on to a 4-1 victory.


Cheverus/Yarmouth got 23 saves from Tucker and earned a pivotal victory, improving to 7-2 and in the process, dropping the Golden Trojans to 7-2.

“Anytime we play a Class A team we want to show up,” said Cheverus/Yarmouth coach Dave St. Pierre. “I thought Thornton Academy was one of the top teams in the league this year and to the boys’ credit, they bought into what we wanted to accomplish tonight and they went to work. That’s probably the best three periods we’ve put together this year.”

Putting the pieces together

Cheverus/Yarmouth, which was ousted by Cape Elizabeth in last year’s semifinals, started with home victories over Kennebunk (2-1) and Leavitt (3-1). After a 2-1 home loss to Greely, the squad won at Leavitt (3-1), at home over Brunswick (3-1) and at home over Mt. Ararat (7-2) before falling at York, 5-2. Monday, Cheverus/Yarmouth got back on track with a 6-1 win over Cape Elizabeth, in a game played at the Cross Insurance Arena.

“We didn’t get too low when we lost to York,” St. Pierre said. “We have a saying in the program, ‘Never get too high, never get too low.’ We regrouped and got back to work.”

Thornton Academy, which lost in double-overtime to Scarborough in the 2022 Class A state final, got over the hump a year ago, downing South Portland/Waynflete/Freeport, 5-3, in the final. This season, the Golden Trojans won their first six games: 7-1 over Camden Hills, 2-1 over Scarborough, 3-1 over Windham, 2-1 over Falmouth, 5-1 over Marshwood and 3-2 over Hampden Academy. After a 2-1 loss to Lewiston, Thornton Academy blanked Biddeford in its last outing, 6-0, Saturday.


Cheverus/Yarmouth and the Golden Trojans didn’t play last season.

Thursday, Cheverus/Yarmouth started fast and went on to a statement-making victory.

After junior Quinn McCoy missed wide after a Thornton Academy turnover, Bradford had a good look in front, but he was denied by Golden Trojans junior goalie Drew Johnson.

Three minutes in, senior captain Andrew Cheever was sent to the penalty box for the home team, but it wouldn’t be Thornton Academy taking advantage.

Instead, after Tucker saved bids from sophomore Jake Skillings and senior Hunter Boudreau, Cheverus/Yarmouth was able to flick the puck ahead, where Bradford gave chase.

Johnson came out the net and got to the puck first, but he couldn’t clear it and Bradford scooped it up and sent it home for a 1-0 lead at 3:59.


In a pivotal play in the game, Thornton Academy junior goalie Drew Johnson comes out and tries to clear the puck away from Cheverus/Yarmouth senior Sam Bradford, but can’t do so and Bradford scores the first goal . Photo courtesy Shea Smith.

“It was certainly a good bounce for us, but we earned it by the pressure we put on them,” said St. Pierre. “We were relentless and good things happened.”

Cheverus/Yarmouth then went on the power play, but couldn’t convert, as Cheever was denied by Johnson, then Johnson stopped a shot from senior David Swift.

After Johnson made a nice glove save on a bid from McCoy, Tucker preserved the lead by robbing sophomore Trent Lesieur, then stopping a late rush from junior Brady Pecora to send the game to the first intermission with Cheverus/Yarmouth on top by a goal.

After each team put seven shots on goal in the first period, the second period saw both teams with good opportunities, but only one took advantage.

Cheverus/Yarmouth senior Lucas Soutuyo skates with the puck. Photo courtesy Shea Smith.

Early in the second, the Golden Trojans threatened for the equalizer, but Tucker denied senior Jacob Marcotte, sophomore Brayden Duane, Lesieur and freshman Brennan Tabor.

“Today, I was just focused for the game and came out here and played well,” Tucker said. “I was confident and I didn’t feel pressure.”


At the other end, Cheverus/Yarmouth was stymied by Johnson, who saved bids from Andrew Cheever on a breakaway, Bradford on a rush and junior Cooper Jacobs on a rush.

After Tucker stopped a shot from senior Hunter Boudreau, Cheverus/Yarmouth went on the power play at 9:31 and while it needed nearly all of the two minutes to find the net, it did so.

First, the Golden Trojans nearly scored shorthanded, but Marcotte missed wide.

Then, with 3:36 on the clock, freshman Owen Cheever set up Walsh for a blast from Johnson’s right which got through to make it 2-0.

“I heard ‘shoot it’ from the bench and I just went in and felt confident in my shot and it went in,” Walsh said.

Tucker then preserved the lead by robbing senior Thomas Verreault on the doorstep before junior Gavin Pellerin missed wide on a rush.


Walsh then gave Cheverus/Yarmouth even more of a cushion just 19 seconds into the third period.

Thornton Academy won possession to start the period, but turned the puck over and Andrew Cheever got it to McCoy, who skated in down the right side, then flicked the puck over to Walsh, who buried it to make it 3-0.

“That goal was really big,” Walsh said. “It put us ahead by even more.”

“I still had to do my best, but I felt more comfortable with a three-goal lead,” Tucker said.

“That third goal was all about Andrew Cheever being deep in the zone and instead of trying to do too much with the puck, he simply got it out of the neutral zone,” said St. Pierre. “It was an intelligent play and we were off to the races. Quinn made a great pass and Owen finished like he usually does.”

Not surprisingly, the Golden Trojans did their best to rally, as after Tucker saved shots from Verreault and Alonso, Lesieur fired a shot that Tucker saved with his pad, but he left the rebound in front and Alonso buried it at 6:58 to cut the deficit to 3-1.


Thornton Academy hoped to draw closer, but at 8:14, Cheverus/Yarmouth went on the power play and at 9:45, Hankins essentially clinched it when he scored on a rebound of a McCoy shot (Swift also got an assist).

“Once of the things I’m most proud about this team this year is that they don’t get frustrated, they just go back to work,” St. Pierre said. “That will hopefully be a hallmark for us the rest of the way.”

The Golden Trojans had just one more good look, but Tucker saved a blast from junior Riho Kim with his glove and that closed out an inspirational, Heal Points-rich 4-1 victory.

Cheverus/Yarmouth sophomore goalie Ethan Tucker is congratulated by his teammates following the final horn. Hoffer photo.

“This is a big team win,” Walsh said. “It will put us on the map. ”

“It meant a lot to beat them,” said Tucker. “This boosts our confidence and shows us we can play with anyone.”

Tucker excelled by making 23 saves on 24 shots faced.


“I have a lot of confidence in (Ethan),” Walsh said. “In practice, he saves all my shots.”

“Ethan’s played great all year,” St. Pierre said. “He won (Class B South) Goaltender of the Month in December. He’s been fantastic and I expect him to continue to help us out.”

Thornton Academy had a 24-21 advantage in shots on goal and got 17 saves from Johnson, but fell short.

On to the second half

Thornton Academy (ranked fifth in the Class A statewide Heal Points standings) is back in action Saturday at Fryeburg Academy. The Golden Trojans’ next home game is Wednesday of next week against Portland/South Portland.

Cheverus/Yarmouth (third in Class B South) is at Edward Little Saturday, then visits Gorham Tuesday of next week.

“We just beat one of the top teams in Class A, so I think we have a really good chance this year,” Walsh said.

“It’s a great win and we’ll enjoy it, but we’re only at the halfway point of our season,” said St. Pierre. “There’s a lot of hockey left to play. We have a lot of things to get better at. We’re focused on what we’re doing. It doesn’t matter what anybody else says, but what goes on in our locker room and the guys believe that. We’ll go back to work and get ready for Edward Little. We’ll be ready to go.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. For game updates and links to game stories, follow him on Threads: @foresports2023

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