2016-12-21 / Sports

Thornton Academy shuts out Kennebunk, 4-0

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By Taylor Morrison
Assistant Sports Editor

BIDDEFORD — Coming into their late Tuesday evening match, Thornton Academy’s Class A South team record stood at 0-2-0 early in their season. Kennebunk, a Class B South team, had so far performed to earn 2-0-0 standing in their class. The interclass competition is one of only a handful each team will play this season, making it a rare opportunity for a compare and contrast between teams with varying bench depth and style.
The matchup certainly made for a competitive first period, both teams running nil until TA’s Luke Chessie scored within the last 86 seconds to set the tone.
The second period began with an unassisted goal 91 seconds in for Thornton Academy’s Chandler Bilodeau and set the house on a 2-0 pedestal Kennebunk made admirable efforts to knock them off.
It was a brutally contentious game after that goal, Kennebunk trying to prevent TA from gaining more momentum in any way possible. Kennebunk Rams Zach Brown and Jacob Simikak flanked each other and made smooth passes to force their way past the Trojans defensive perimeter.
The rate of turnover was fairly regular despite the Trojans lead. Chessie helped Bilodeau secure the lead and his second goal of the game with roughly half of the second period still on the clock.
The Rams became creative in the crunch. Kennebunk’s Walker Robinson jumped over two locked sticks to knock the puck to safety and stuck a landing a Russian figure skating judge would have given ten points. Brendan Whitten broke away toward the Trojan goal with only Chris Balzano close enough to challenge, but Balzano picked up the pace and successfully blocked.
The second period ended 3-0 to Thornton Academy with one puck lodged in the ceiling of the Biddeford Ice Arena.
Shortly after the third period began, Kennebunk was dealt a two-minute powerplay on a Thornton crosschecking penalty. Regardless of whose powerplay it may be in name, TA’s Chase Wescott scored a goal 20 seconds into Kennebunk’s powerplay with an assist from the hard-working Chessie.
Thornton’s 4-0 shutout was in progress but still had 11 minutes and change to run out and Kennebunk ran them ragged looking for goals through the end. 6 minutes in, play raged so contentiously that TA’s Whitten lost his stick defending and instead of going after his stick, blocked the goal with his body while Kennebunk shoveled shots at the goal.
Kennebunk cleverly prevented further damage and weathered a two minute penalty by golfing the puck as far toward the Biddeford goal as possible once the Rams regained possession.
Thornton earned this 4-0 shutout happily as their earliest win this season and a building block for a young team to improve.
South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete will visit Thornton at Biddeford Ice Arena this Friday, Dec. 23, at 3:50 p.m.
 Word from TA’s Top Brass
Gary Stevens, Thornton Academy’s accomplished Director of Athletics and Student Activities said, “it was really a good win for a very young team. Obviously for a freshman goaltender, to get a shutout in his first Varisty start is a great accomplishment for Nash Davies and the rest of the team skated well. Chandler Bilodeau contributed two big goals to pace the offense, which again the goaltender just gives him that much more cushion and ability to relax and just play his game. It was a great effort from the team tonight, picking up their first win of the season.”
Kennebunk before & After
Prior to the game, Kennebunk coach Sean Smith correctly predicted, “I think it’s going to be a battle. It’s two equally matched teams, long rivalry.. They’re A and we’re B.. We play six cross over games a year with A. We’re actually 2-0 against and we’ve played two A teams so far, so we’ll give them a run.”
Smith said after, “The kids fought hard. That team is deeper than ours. They rolled three lines and we only can really go two. They had more legs at the end, but that was a hard working team. They played well in all three aspects of the game. We struggled executing, we had some scoring opportunities that we couldn’t capitalize on. Their goalie did a good job in the shutout. That was our first big test. We have a lot of guys getting their first ice time this year and they’ve held their own.”

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