It has been six years since the Bangor High School hockey team beat Lewiston.
But the drought ended on Wednesday night when senior goalie Jake Hirsch turned in a terrific 31-save performance for his third consecutive shutout and sophomore left wing Miles Randall scored the game’s only goal in the second period helping Bangor post a 1-0 victory at Sawyer Arena.
It was Bangor’s sixth straight win after a season-opening loss to Edward Little of Auburn, which is 8-0.
The youthful Blue Devils, winner of four of the last five state Class A titles, fell to 3-3.
Lewiston junior goalie Ben Cloutier also turned in an outstanding performance as he turned aside 22 of 23 shots.
“It’s awesome. We haven’t beaten them in six years. It’s a different feeling than our other wins,” said the 6-foot-3 Hirsch, son of former University of Maine goaltender Greg Hirsch.
“I’m just riding the high right now. I’m always locked in for games but, especially right now, I know I am talented enough to be able to play with everybody and I’m riding my confidence and mindset throughout the day. I think that’s what got it done,” Hirsch said.
“Hands down to Bangor. We were all over them. We were putting pucks on them and nothing was going in. [Hirsch] had a great game tonight,” said Lewiston first-year head coach Jamie King.
The Blue Devils peppered Hirsch with 18 shots in the third period but couldn’t get the equalizer as Hirsch robbed them time and time again.
“We came out firing and nothing could break Hirsch. We were just trying to find anything we could to get to him,” King added.
Hirsch made a series of spectacular stops over the final 2:30 of the game after Daniel McCarthy received a kneeing penalty with 2:30 left. Ty Walker then picked up a five-minute major for kneeing with 48 seconds remaining.
Lewiston pulled Cloutier in favor of an extra attacker with 1:20 to go.
The Blue Devils generated a wild multi-shot flurry on the power play, requiring Hirsch to make four rapid-fire saves while he was down on the ice.
“I made a pad save and the puck kept bouncing out to them so I stuck [my pad] out there,” said Hirsch. “Luckily, one of my defensemen brought it out.”
Lewiston’s power play was dangerous and Hirsch supplied a preview of things to come in the first period when he flashed across from the right post to the left post to stop Tanner Anctil’s one-timer off a perfect cross-ice pass from Evan Knowlton.
“I didn’t see [Anctil] on the cross-crease [pass]. I had to get over there quickly and, lucky enough, it hit me in the chest,” Hirsch said.
Early in the third period, a Ram passed it out of the corner into the middle of the ice right onto the stick of Anctil but again Hirsch came to the rescue.
“That was a little unexpected. It was just a quick reaction and I was able to get my blocker on it,” Hirsch said.
Randall scored at the 8:53 mark of the second period after Richie Trott gave him a pass in the neutral zone.
Randall had a full head of steam and maneuvered past a defenseman to go in alone on Cloutier.
“I saw he was out of his net so I went backhand-forehand-backhand and he couldn’t get over,” said Randall, who flipped it into the open net for his third goal of the season.
Jackson Guimond also assisted on the goal.
Moments later, Knowlton actually beat Hirsch with a quick shot from the left circle but it hit the underside of the crossbar.
McCarthy had rattled a shorthanded break-in off the left post.
Cloutier made a number of gems including a glove stop on Michael Moscone’s wrister from the middle of the slot after he freed himself by cutting right to left.
Junior defenseman Mike McLean keyed the defensive effort by the Rams in front of Hirsch.
“We did a pretty good job in front of the net and clearing rebounds. The puck stuck to Jake pretty well tonight. That helped out a lot. Without Jake, we would have been in a bad spot tonight,” McLean said.
Anctil suffered a leg injury on the hit by Walker and had to be helped off the ice but King said the injury may not be serious.