LEWISTON — The latest installment of the Lewiston/Edward Little rivalry had everything you’d expect from two schools separated by less than five miles: high intensity, timely goals, hard hits, chippyness and penalties.
Lewiston’s Kyle Morin had the timeliest of goals, burying a loose puck with 8:22 remaining as the Blue Devils defeated Edward Little, 4-3, on Saturday night at Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
“Whenever you play St. Dom’s, EL, all these teams, we’re Lewiston and everyone wants to play hard against us and get the win,” Morin said. “EL’s always going to give us everything they have.”
Just a minute after Edward Little’s Cody Woodward squared the game at 3, the Blue Devils (1-1) forced a turnover in the Red Eddies’ defensive zone and made them pay. Griffin Wade forced the turnover and fired a shot on net. The rebound came to Alex Rivet, who forced Edward Little goaltender Devin Dumont to make a save to his right. With the left side of the net open, Morin corralled the loose puck and put the Blue Devils in front for good.
“When you put pucks to the net and you have a guy going to the net that’s what you’re hoping for is you get a rebound and bury it,” Lewiston coach Jamie Belleau said. “We had a couple of those. We’d like to have buried a few more, but we had opportunities.”
The Blue Devils held a 40-19 advantage in shots.
Lewiston ended strong, but it was the Red Eddies (1-1) that wasted little time getting on the board to start the game. Just 2:56 into the contest, Edward Little senior defenseman Cade Chapman blasted a shot over the stick-side shoulder of Lewiston goaltender Sam Zashut from just inside the blue line to give the Red Eddies a 1-0 lead.
“I think our team gained a lot of respect today around the league,” Edward Little coach Craig Latuscha said. “We’re a team to be reckoned with. We’ve played probably two of the top four teams in the East already and we kept right up with them.”
Seven days removed from its last game, a 3-2 overtime loss to Cheverus, the Blue Devils used Chapman’s goal as a wake-up call. They responded by scoring two goals in seven seconds for a 2-1 lead mid way through the first period. Joe Bisson put Lewiston on the board first and Jeromey Rancourt took the puck off the ensuing faceoff at center ice and skated untouched through the attacking zone before putting the puck past Edward Little goalie Devin Dumont.
A five-minute major on Rancourt for boarding allowed the Red Eddies to draw even in the final minute of the first period. With what looked like a replay from his first goal, Chapman sniped a shot from the exact same spot he did earlier in the period to tie the contest.
“Today was a dog fight,” Latuscha said. “Our team plays with a lot of pride and a lot of heart. We can compete with them. The puck could have bounced our way and we could have came out on top.”
The Blue Devils capitalized on their best opportunity on the power play as well. Skating 5-on-3 following back-to-back interference penalties on Edward Little, Morin knocked home a rebound off the stick of teammate Joey Frechette to put Lewiston in front 3-2 entering the third period.
“Basically, I just read the play and try and picture where the puck is going to be and get myself there, crash the net hard and fortunately the puck goes on my stick,” Morin said.
Zashut, making his first start of the year, made 16 saves, including a series of key stops during an Edward Little power play mid way through the third period to keep the Blue Devils in front.
“He responded to some adversity and came up big in the last six minutes of the game,” Belleau said.
Dumont finished with 36 saves.