2018-03-08 / Sports

Biddeford hockey club embodies city’s fighting spirit

Associate Sports Editor

After giving myself a migraine trying to perfectly sum up the this year’s Biddeford boys hockey club and it’s epic postseason run, I turned to the modern day Shakespeare for help.

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” — Mike Tyson (October, 1987).

The mighty Cheverus Stags fell victim to the toughest team in the state in Biddeford, who outworked, outmuscled, and outhearted them in the best hockey game this year.

That’s not to say the Stags weren’t impressive on Tuesday. Cheverus is obviously one of the elite programs in the state and lost by a hair. But Biddeford was simply too gutsy for the Stags who thrive on finesse (and I say that with respect).

When you think of the city of Biddeford, you think blue collar, gritty, tough, passionate, resilient ... this year’s team encapsulates its home to a T.

South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete held a second-period lead and the momentum over the Tigers in the quarterfinals last week. That advantage was short-lived, as the Tigers punched them in the mouth and earned the comeback win.

Biddeford looked in trouble in the semis, blowing a 4-2 lead over Falmouth in the third period and limped into overtime. Once again, the Tigers punched the Yachtsmen in the mouth, and picked up the overtime win.

And of course, we all know what happened in Biddeford’s double-overtime win over Cheverus. All hail Mike Tyson.

The more I think about it though, the more I realize that there is plenty of talent to go along with this team’s tenacity — they’re no longer just the scrappy underdogs who are keeping up.

Many people don’t realize the senior talent on this team. The Tigers boast one of the most experienced groups in the state with 11 seniors.

Some of those seniors include Logan Magnant, who is about as skilled a player as you’ll see on both ends of the ice this year ... if Maine had a Selke Award, my vote would go to him.

There’s also Curtis Petit, who is a straight up grinder that teams clearly can’t overcome in the late periods.

Don’t forget Colin Lavigne, who is kind of the unsung hero of the club. He’s another experienced vet that everyone seems to look up to. 

Other high-caliber seniors include Liam Turner, Ian Couture, Colby Plante, and of course goalie Owen Sullivan.

The Tigers are the toughest team in the state and have the strongest senior core, but unfortunately for the rest of the league, they also have top-notch young guys on the roster too.

Junior Colin Petit has been clutch this postseason, and scored the game-winner on Tuesday. Nick McSorley has been one of the most electric freshmen in the state as well, and has produced in each playoff game. There is also the Ouellette brothers in junior Trenton and freshman Trevor, who lifted Biddeford to its semifinals win.

Again, I’ll look to someone else to help author this column.

“We’ve been the best team in this league from start to finish ... they’re just finding out,” said Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins before the Super Bowl. And as a Pats fan I say, damn you.

Far too often we get caught up in regular season records, playoff seedings, past matchups. Not many people would have guessed that the third seed, 12-6 Tigers would be the team to square off against defending champion Lewiston in this Saturday’s state title game.

Hell, not many people thought that Biddeford would be able to even keep up with Cheverus the other night. The Stags had the better record, the higher seed, and went 2-0 against the Tigers in the regular season.

Everyone, including myself, overlooked the depth, the talent, and most of all, the heart of this Biddeford team.

Lewiston is a whole other animal than Cheverus (and I say that with respect again). The Blue Devils have taken home back-to-back state championships, have the best record in the state, and hold a 2-0 record over the Tigers this season.

I’ve learned my lesson though. Everything I mentioned in that last paragraph is pointless when it comes to this Biddeford team.

One thing I detest as a sports fan is when an underdog team claims that it has nothing to lose. If avoiding the sting of a big-game loss doesn’t drive you, then I question where your head is at.

I doubt that anyone from this Tigers team will be saying that as they head into the state championship as the underdog once again. That is what I like about this Biddeford team ... and that is why I’m picking the Tigers to win on Saturday. 

I tend to avoid making definite predictions on local teams because I’d hate for them to blame me for jinxing their fortune if they lose.

However, I know these Tigers won’t care what I say, as they haven’t cared what anyone has said or thought about them all season long.

Associate Sports Editor Alex Sponseller can be reached at asponseller@journaltribune.com or at 282-1535 ext. 323. Follow the Journal Tribune Sports Department on Twitter @JournalTsports.

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