LEWISTON – For the third straight year, the Lewiston Blue Devils are your Maine Class A State Champions with a 2-1 victory over the Biddeford Tigers.
The last time a school three peated were the 1982-84 Blue Devils.
Jack Leblond and Alex Robert found the back of the net.
“This second one just feels as good or even better than the first one because of all the hard work we put in,” Leblond said. “It’s just exhilarating to get that second championship.”
Leblond a junior, played in last year’s win over Falmouth, but didn’t appear in the win over Scarborough two years ago.
While it’s the third straight state title for the program, a majority of the team hasn’t been on all three teams.
“I am pleased for this group of kids,” Lewiston coach Jamie Belleau said. “We tried not to talk about a three-peat because this is a different team. The majority of them is a different group of kids and it was their time to put a mark on Lewiston High School hockey history. Certainly don’t want to ignore the two before that, but for them it’s really special – I am proud of the kids.”
It was a scoreless first period, but both teams had a series of chances to break the ice, but both goalies were on their game.
Both teams shots came in spurts. The best chance came after the buzzer to end the first period sounded, as Lewiston was on the power play. Sam Frechette shot the puck in the slot but he shot it a split second too late. They reviewed it, but it was a quick review where it was confirmed as no go goal.
“They did a good job defensively,” Biddeford coach Jason Tremblay said of Lewiston. “They started to pack it in when we got a few opportunities in the first. Obviously they had a ton in the first.”
Biddeford (15-7) was able to kill the remainder of the minute remaining in the penalty to start the second period.
It was the Tigers lone power play and Lewiston was 0-for-2 on the man advantage.
But 50 seconds after the penalty ended, Jack Leblond found the back of the net. Evan Cox had the initial shot, but Leblond who was standing at the left post was able to jam the puck home at the 1:51 mark.
“Evan Cox came around the net and threw the puck on net,” Leblond said. “I got a stick on it and somehow it went in.”
Biddeford couldn’t get much offense going in the middle frame as they only had five shots on goal. Lewiston (19-2) meanwhile had eight, but only had that one goal.
Biddeford thought they tied the game at one early in the third period when the Tigers dumped it in, Lewiston goalie Conrad Albert misplayed the puck and almost knocked it into his own goal. He got on top of it, but there was a mad scramble in the crease and the puck still didn’t cross the line. It was reviewed, but the result stood as no goal.
“My goalie coach (John Racine) said they threw it in front and I was sliding over,” Albert said. “It should have been an easy save, but a Biddeford player laid it onto the ice and tried to tip it in.”
Alex Robert stretched the lead to 2-0 at the 7:57 mark of the final frame with Cox picking up his second assist on the play.
The Tigers got on the board when Logan Magnant found the back of the net with 5:25 to play in the game.
“They were more defensive than they usually are,” Tremblay said of the Blue Devils.
Biddeford put more pressure on Albert in the final five minutes, but couldn’t get elusive second goal past Albert who made 14 saves for the win.
Owen Sullivan turned aside 30 shots for Biddeford.