Maine Class A Final: Rancourt’s last-minute goal wins it for Lewiston, 2-1

Nathan Fournier
Nathan Fournier
Nathan has been covering college, junior, and high school hockey for the last six years for numerous publications. You can follow him on Twitter @jrhockeywriter.

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LEWISTON PLAYERS and COACHES celebrate the 2016 Main Class A state title. (Photo courtesy Ram Photo)
LEWISTON PLAYERS and COACHES celebrate the 2016 Main Class A state title. (Photo courtesy Ram Sport)

The drought is finally over for Lewiston High School.

It had been 14 years since the Blue Devils hoisted the Class A Championship trophy. That streak ended Saturday night as they defeated the defending Class A Champions Scarborough Red Storm, 2-1, in front of a packed Androscoggin Bank Colisee,

It had been 11 years since a team from the Twin Cities of Lewiston and Auburn won Maine high school hockey’s most coveted prize. You have to go back to the 2003-2004 Edward Little Red Eddies coached by Jamie Belleau, now the Lewiston coach.

“EL was special,” Belleau said. “This is my alma mater, I started at EL and I was blessed with them. This is extra special, born and raised in this community and working with this group of kids as long as I have and have them to win this for this community. It’s all to the kids, the kids did everything we asked them to do, starting in the preseason, starting with the summer, starting with two teams that are powerhouses in Massachusetts, preparing them to be emotionless, to be strong, to be disciplined, to be mature. They did everything we asked them to do.”

Scarborough coach Norm Gagne, who coached the Blue Devils from 2005-2008 before Belleau took over, knew how much the win meant for the community.

“I told him great job,” Gagne said he told Belleau when the two embraced in the handshake line after the game. “I said you got the monkey off your back and I am proud of you.”

Jeromey Rancourt broke the tie with 29 seconds remaining in the game.

“It was right there, my mind went blank and everything,” Rancourt said. “It was right there and I put it in.”

Scarborough took a timeout after the Rancourt goal to try to set up a play to get the puck deep into the offensive zone. Lewiston won the face-off and dumped the puck in and once Scarborough gathered the puck and entered the offensive zone, there was no time to get a quality shot off before the clock struck triple zeros.

When the two faced in the regular season in the Androscoggin Bank Colisee, Scarborough tied the game with six seconds left in regulation by dumping the puck in. That game ended in a 4-4 tie.

Gagne said the difference in the game was the type of shots his team was taking.

“We were one quality shot away from winning this game,” he said. “We couldn’t get that shot or that bounce. There was one time when (Cam) Nigro who almost had a breakaway, didn’t get hold of the puck. If he gets hold of the puck, there’s that quality shot we need, it’s a different game. Same thing happened to Matt (Caron), he got a break and just couldn’t get the puck on his stick, it was a bad bounce and couldn’t put it in. That’s the difference between winning and losing.”

On the Nigro chance, Dustin Larochelle dove head first and reached with his stick to knock Nigro off the puck in the middle of the third period in Scarborough’s offensive zone.

The Blue Devils (17-2-2) controlled play in the first period as they out shot the Red Storm 13-7 in the period. Rancourt had the game’s first scoring chance when he intercepted the puck in the neutral zone and fired on Red Storm goalie Ross LeBlond who made the save.

“I missed it, but I thought maybe I would get a second chance or a third chance to be honest,” Rancourt said. “It’s great I could help the team later on and more forward from that.”

Rancourt set up the only goal in the opening period when he was on the right wall and found Alex Rivet in the slot who passed it to Joe Bisson at the back door for the goal at the 10:17 mark.

The momentum started to go Scarborough’s way as it received a power play 21 seconds after the goal but couldn’t convert.

It took 33 seconds into the second period for the Red Storm to tie it when John Callahan went short side on Jacob Strout from the left circle. The lone assist went to Eric Murray.

It was a physical second period as both teams saw players get knocked down. Strout was collided into, but stayed in Lewiston’s net. Callahan was cross-checked into the boards by Rivet and didn’t return. Scarborough (16-3-3) couldn’t capitalize on the ensuing power play to end the second period.

Belleau said Strout toughed it out.

“I was worried; he got up and we checked on him after the next whistle,” he said. “Like the rest of the team he battled through it, he had a heck of a game.”

Strout made 16 saves while LeBlond stopped 32 shots.

“Ross played a heck of game,” Gagne said of his goaltender. “He kept us in it all the way, which I knew he would. As I told the kids before the game, ‘This game isn’t going to be any different then any other games we have played (against them). It’s going to be a close game.’ We played them 1-1 and 4-4. I really thought we were going to another overtime.”

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