Maine Hockey Journal

Lewiston ends 14 year drought with Class A title

(PHOTO: RAM Sport)

(PHOTO: RAM Sport)

LEWISTON – The Lewiston Blue Devils captured their first Class A state title since 2002 in a thrilling 2-1 victory over the defending state champion Scarborough Red Storm Saturday night at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

“It feels amazing,” said Lewiston’s senior captain Kyle Morin. “I really don’t have any words. Our one goal this year when we first went into tryouts was putting 2016 on that championship banner. This community has really needed it, we’ve been dry lately, and it feels great to be the team that finally ended that.”

It was the first time this season that a Lewiston/Scarborough game didn’t end in a tie. Both times the teams met in the regular season the games went on an eight-minute overtime and ended with the game knotted.

That couldn’t be the case in Saturday’s state championship showdown between both top-seeded teams.

“Someone was going to win tonight, and fortunately, it was our boys,” said Lewiston’s coach Jamie Belleau. “You really gotta take your hat off to Scarborough.”

The two teams were playing in front of a capacity crowd that rushed in to find a seat as soon as the doors opened.

Lewiston’s Jeromey Rancourt scored Lewiston’s game-winning goal with 29 seconds remaining in the contest. With Scarborough’s goalie Ross LeBlond down on the ice after making a pair of saves, Rancourt put the puck into the goal. Jonathan Sturgis and Alex Rivet assisted on the play.

“It’s huge,” said Rancourt of Lewiston’s first win since 2002. “All the seniors, everyone that’s come through here, it’s a great tradition. I’m glad that our team could do it; we could do it for the seniors. It was a great opportunity to play with these guys and to play in this tradition is like no other. It’s unreal.”

“We made an added emphasis on getting pucks to the net which we usually do but also getting our feet into the paint,” said Belleau. “Good goal scorers put the two tips of their toes in the paint at least a couple of times a shift, and that’s something we needed to work on. The kids bought into it. We worked hard on it the last two weeks, and it’s fitting we were able to pop one that way.”

The Devils worked hard to beat Ross LeBlond, who made 31 great saves on 33 shots.

“Ross played a heck of a game,” said Scarborough’s coach Norm Gagne. “He kept us in it all the way, which I knew he would.”

Joe Bisson broke the scoring silence for both teams when he got the Blue Devils on the board.

Jeromey Rancourt brought the puck into the offensive zone, dropped the puck to Alex Rivet, who slid a pass to Bisson. With the Scarborough goalie on the other side of the net, Bisson dunked the puck past the goal line. The goal came with 4:43 remaining in the first period.

The Blue Devils outshot the Red Storm 13-5 in the first period. Both teams had power play opportunities but recorded just two shots each on the man advantage.

Jack Callahan got the Red Storm on the board 33 seconds into the second period. Callahan caught a pass from defenseman Eric Murray and ripped a shot past Lewiston’s goalie Jacob Strout, who had 14 saves in the win. The goal tied the game at 1 for the rest of the second period.

The Red Storm had two power-play opportunities in the period to Lewiston’s one but neither team was able to score on the man advantage. The Blue Devils outshot Scarborough 12-6 in the second.

Scarborough lost their lone goal scorer with 2:03 remaining in the second period when he was cross-checked behind the goal and landed awkwardly on the boards. Callahan, a senior, was a huge loss for the Red Storm.

“That was big,” said Gagne. “There’s no question. We were piece-mealing from there. We lose him, and Colin Hayward was playing at 80% with a separated shoulder. When we lost him, we had to use six wings, and we had two centers. When you lose basically your first liner and a captain, it really hurts.”

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