PORTLAND—Last winter, the Cheverus/Yarmouth co-op boys’ hockey team took a quick 2-0 lead in its semifinal round game and couldn’t hold it.

Saturday afternoon at Troubh Ice Arena, facing No. 4 Greely in a Class B South semifinal, top-seeded Cheverus/Yarmouth took an early two-goal lead again and this time, refused to relinquish it.

And as a result, it will play for a regional title next week.

The first time the program has advanced that far.

Cheverus/Yarmouth had a big edge in shots in the first period and capitalized twice, as senior Sam Bradford scored from senior Evan Hankins at 4:13, then Bradford buried a rebound at 13:42.

Greely responded in the second period, getting a rebound goal from senior Lucas Martin and after Cheverus/Yarmouth went up by two again on a goal from senior Lucas Soutuyo, the Rangers cut the deficit to one 11 seconds later on a goal from senior standout Charlie Moore.


But despite getting out-shot in the period, Cheverus/Yarmouth refused to buckle and two late goals from senior Ian O’Connor produced a 5-2 lead and a little breathing room.

Greely did make things interesting when Martin scored with 3:23 to go, but the Rangers couldn’t get any closer and Cheverus/Yarmouth was able to go on to a 5-3 victory.

Bradford and O’Connor each had two goals as Cheverus/Yarmouth improved to 16-2-2, ended Greely’s season at 13-7 and advanced to take on No. 2 Leavitt (17-3) in the Class B South Final Wednesday at a time to be announced at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.

“The culture of this program has grown over the four years since we got together,” said Cheverus/Yarmouth coach Dave St. Pierre. “All the hard work that the classes before this group put in is the result of what you see out here now. This group is resilient, they pull for each other and love each other and I think that shows.”

No let up

Cheverus/Yarmouth, which fell in the semifinals the past couple of years to the eventual state champions (Brunswick in 2022 and Cape Elizabeth in 2023), lost early to Greely and midway through the season to York and also tied Gorham and York but won its other 14 contests to earn the top seed in Class B South.


Wednesday, Cheverus/Yarmouth was pushed by eighth-ranked Mt. Ararat in the quarterfinals before pulling away to advance, 5-0.

Greely, meanwhile, missed the playoffs a year ago, but the Rangers returned to form this winter, starting 5-0 and boasting a record of 10-2 before dropping four of their final six, including the last two.

Regardless, Greely wound up fourth in the region, then rallied to tie No. 5 Gorham with 22 seconds left in regulation before beating the Rams, 6-5, on Martin’s overtime goal, to advance.

The rivals split this winter, as the Rangers won, 2-1, back on Dec. 16, then Cheverus/Yarmouth enjoyed a 5-2 win at Greely in the regular season finale Feb. 21.

Greely and Cheverus/Yarmouth hadn’t met in the tournament since Cheverus and Yarmouth combined, but the Rangers went 1-2 versus the Stags between 1988-92 and were 5-6 versus the Clippers from 1987 through a 4-1 victory in the 2018 semifinals.

Saturday, Cheverus/Yarmouth didn’t waste anytime getting out to a good start and it was able to ride that early momentum all the way to the finish line.


Yarmouth/Cheverus freshman Harper Ericson handles the puck while Greely senior Lucas Martin gives chase during Saturday’s Class B South semifinal, won by Cheverus/Yarmouth, 5-3. Hoffer photos.

Cheverus/Yarmouth had control of the puck a good chunk of the first period and after junior Johnathan Weinrich had an early shot saved by Greely senior goalie Will Klein and Martin was denied on a rush by Cheverus/Yarmouth sophomore goalie Ethan Tucker, Bradford struck for the first time.

The goal was set up by Hankins forcing a turnover, then he got the puck in front to Bradford, who buried it for a 1-0 lead at 4:13.

“That fast start was great,” said Bradford. “We definitely came ready to play today. It was a great pass from Evan and I was ready for it. I was fired up.”

“It’s always nice to score the first goal,” O’Connor said. “We had to stay ahead and keep going and never stop.”

“It was huge to get the lead,” added St. Pierre.

Klein then kept the Rangers in the game by denying junior Owen Walsh, senior David Swift, O’Connor, senior Andrew Cheever and Bradford.


Greely hoped to pull even, but Tucker saved shots from sophomore Coben Donnelly and senior Sean Allen.

Then, with 1:18 remaining in the period, Cheverus/Yarmouth worked the puck around, sent it on net and while Klein made the save, the rebound sat free for Bradford to pounce on and finish (senior Lucas Soutuyo and Cheever were credited with assists) and after one period, the lead was 2-0.

“That was a dirty goal and I was in the right place at the right time,” said Bradford, who didn’t play his first three years in high school, but has been a welcome addition this winter. “I came back for senior year and I’m really glad I did.”

“I can’t say enough about Sam,” St. Pierre said. “I love that he’s back with us. He’s loving the experience. He’s got that fire and determination and he’s got an edge to him. He’s a big game player and he put us on his back early.”

Cheverus/Yarmouth outshot Greely, 11-3, in the first 15 minutes, but the Rangers, not surprisingly made their move in the second period.

But it wasn’t enough.


Greely senior Cullen Rafford looks to get rid of the puck.

Greely went on the power play just 46 seconds in, but couldn’t score, as Tucker saved a shot from senior Finn Murphy.

At 4:41, the Rangers got another power play opportunity and this time, they did convert.

After Tucker saved shots from Allen, senior Cullen Rafford and Moore, Martin buried a rebound of a shot from Murphy at 6:03 to cut the deficit in half.

Cheverus/Yarmouth immediately countered, as after Cheever just missed from in front, Soutuyo got his stick on a Swift shot (Hankins also got an assist) to make it 3-1 at 7:26.

But before that goal could even be announced, Greely pulled within one again, as Moore was the beneficiary of a fortuitous bounce, collected the puck in front and beat Tucker to make it 3-2 at 7:37.

The Rangers even had a look at the tie, but Murphy’s shot was saved by Tucker.


Cheverus/Yarmouth then closed the period strong.

After Klein robbed junior Quinn McCoy after he stole the puck and skated in, Cheever got the puck up top to O’Connor’s whose long shot deflected in for a 4-2 lead at 10:36.

“That goal was huge,” O’Connor said. “We never got down on ourselves and were ready for whatever came next.”

Then, at 12:54, O’Connor won the puck, settled it and ripped it past Klein (McCoy got the assist) and Cheverus/Yarmouth, despite being outshot, 11-6 in the frame, was able to take a 5-2 advantage to third period.

“We responded every time they scored with our own goal and that did a lot for our motivation and kept us feeling good about ourselves,” said St. Pierre. “Ian is a consummate student of the game. He works hard defensively and is one of the best defensemen in the league. He’s got skill and can shoot the puck. He was able to put the puck on net with power and good things happened.”

“I was pleased with the fight back in the second period,” said longtime Greely coach Barry Mothes. “We really struggled to get out of our zone in the first period. We started to play better, but it was disappointing to give up the fourth and fifth goals after getting back to 3-2. We couldn’t keep it tight enough, long enough.”


In the third period, Tucker and his teammates slammed the door shut.

Cheverus/Yarmouth came out looking for the dagger, but McCoy was robbed by Klein, who also saved shots by Swift and Bradford.

After Tucker made a nice glove save to deny Allen, Greely went on the power play with 9:09 remaining, but couldn’t convert, as Tucker saved a shot from Moore.

Cheverus/Yarmouth then earned its lone power play chance of the game, but Klein saved a pair of Swift shots to keep hope alive.

After Tucker robbed Allen on the rush, he saved a bid from Donnelly and junior Ezra McDuffie’s rebound shot before turning aside a shot from Rafford.

With 3:23 on the clock, Martin finished in front and the Rangers had a pulse.


With two minutes to go, Mothes pulled Klein for an extra attacker, but Murphy was denied by Tucker, who fell on the rebound, then Tucker saved one final shot from Allen to bring the curtain down on Cheverus/Yarmouth’s 5-3 victory.

Cheverus/Yarmouth celebrates the win at the final horn.

“We’re very disciplined this year,” Bradford said. “We wanted to just come out and play and come out on top.”

“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but we didn’t want it to be easy,” O’Connor said. “Greely’s a great team and we wanted to earn every second of it. We just played for each other. We don’t really focus on the scoreboard. There’s no scoreboard in practice and we always go hard in practice. That speaks for itself. No matter what happens, we keep going.”

“Of course they kept coming, it’s Greely, it’s a Barry Mothes-coached team,” St. Pierre added. “We knew they’d compete. It’s a rivalry game and we know each other very, very well. We wanted to slow them down and keep them from getting good looks at the net. We kept them outside for the most part. This is important for us. We’ve worked hard to build the program to where it is.”

Cheverus/Yarmouth finished with a 25-23 edge in shots on goal and goal 20 saves from Tucker.

“Ethan makes big saves every game, he’s phenomenal,” said O’Connor. “It’s a gift to have him on our team.”


End of the line

Greely got 20 saves from Klein, but couldn’t completely dig out of its early hole.

“I’m very proud of the team,” said Mothes. “We had a phenomenal group of six seniors that we leaned on, probably to the limits of human capacity in terms of ice time. We found a way to win 13 games and had a great home overtime win Tuesday in front of our home crowd. It was great to be here today. We’re disappointed we couldn’t play more of our game, but some of that goes to Cheverus/Yarmouth bringing a lot of speed and pressure on the forecheck and their defense pinched hard. We struggled to advance pucks. I wish we could have been cleaner and smarter.”

The Rangers will graduate Allen, Klein, Martin, Moore, Murphy and Rafford, but we’ll return plenty of talent and should be a factor again in 2024-25.

“We’ve got a group of young guys who learned a lot this year,” said Mothes. “This was their first playoff run. That can hopefully propel you into the offseason. They learned a lot from the seniors’ resilience and dedication to each other. I hope the young guys can carry that on.”

Next step


Cheverus/Yarmouth swept Leavitt during the regular season, winning both games by a 3-1 margin.

Both Cheverus and Yarmouth have won some epic games at the Cross Insurance Arena, the erstwhile Cumberland County Civic Center, and with a trip to the state final just 45 minutes away, look forward to taking the ice as a combined entity in front of a big crowd Wednesday.

“Every year, I’ve wanted to play there,” said O’Connor. “All the seniors have. It means a lot to make history for our new franchise.”

“We’ll keep going,” said Bradford. “We’ll keep working hard.”

“We’re not satisfied and we still have work to do,” St. Pierre added. “We want to go further. Class B South is never easy no matter the round. We’ll have to show up and work hard. We’ll put a game plan together and we’ll let our athletes do what they do and see what happens. We wanted to get back to the Civic Center. There’s a lot of history in our program in that building.”

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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