LEWISTON, Maine — Seconds anyone?
After an even first period, Lewiston dominated the second period and won its second straight Class A state championship, beating Falmouth 6-2 at Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Saturday.
The Blue Devils (20-1) began the second period a man down, but they soon found themselves a goal up. A 5-on-4 Falmouth man advantage soon turned into 4-on-4 hockey, then a Lewiston power play. Senior defenseman Cole Ouellette took advantage of some extra space on the ice, skating through the Yachtsmen (16-4-1) defense before beating a helpless Spencer Pierce all alone 1:34 into the middle period.
“I do that move every day in practice, so I just tried it,” Ouellette said. “You got to try it and see how it goes.”
That wasn’t the only way the Blue Devils found to beat Pierce, who stopped all 10 shots he faced on the first period. Alex Robert made it 2-0 just over four minutes into the second after he found a rebound of a Nick Bisson point shot and put it into an open net.
Lewiston converted another rebound on yet another power play (its third of four in the period) when Alex Rivet buried a loose puck off Jeromey Rancourt’s shot with four minutes left in the second.
“Your youth shows,” Falmouth coach Deron Barton said. “They’re just a powerhouse team, they’re well-coached, they have incredible talent. When you come up against that, you almost have to be perfect. Maturity shows itself, and they capitalized and made us pay for our mistakes.”
The Yachtsmen went more than 11 minutes without putting a shot on goal in the second while the Blue Devils were putting three pucks in. After Lewiston senior goalie Jacob Strout stopped a Reece Armitage point shot and a Brendan Hickey rebound during a Falmouth power play 30 seconds in, it wasn’t until Theo Hembre flipped a shot at Strout with 3:15 left in the period until the Yachtsmen broke up the dry spell.
“They played a great defensive game,” Barton said. “We didn’t pressure them the way that we had in the past, and the longer that went on the tougher it got for us to get any shots on net.”
Falmouth put just six shots on frame through two periods, and Strout’s biggest save came in the final minute of the first. Robbie Armitage ripped a shot from the slot during a power play, but Strout flashed his glove to make the save and keep the game scoreless heading into the first intermission.
“The Armitages (Robbie and Reece), they’re both great, they’re both great hockey players. But early in the game, any big save is key, and I was just fortunate enough to save it,” Strout said.
The Blue Devils held a 10-3 edge in shots on goal through the first 15 minutes, but had nothing to show for it on the scoreboard.
Falmouth had nothing to show on offense through two periods, save for a few quality shots, and the Yachtsmen trailed 3-0. But the lone team to beat Lewiston this season had been in that position before.
Lewiston ended any thoughts of a comeback within the first five minutes of the third period. Ouellette scored his second goal to make it 4-0, finishing off a give-go-give with Cody Doyon 3:44 in.
Junior captain Joe Bisson made it 5-0 just 37 seconds later, and senior captain Rancourt tallied the Blue Devils’ final goal exactly two minutes after that.
The Yachtsmen scored twice in the final four-plus minutes — on goals by Robbie Armitage (shorthanded) and Brendan Hickey — to end Strout’s shutout bid, but a championship comeback wasn’t in the cards.
Pierce stopped 34 of 40 shots for Falmouth, while Strout ended his career with a 12-save effort and a second championship win.
After waiting 14 years to get title No. 21 — including a 4-0 loss to Falmouth in 2013 — the Blue Devils were able to go back-to-back for the first time since 1992-93 to capture title No. 22.