BIDDEFORD — Special teams were very special for the Lewiston Blue Devils on Saturday afternoon at Biddeford Ice Arena.
Kyle Lemelin and Matt Poulin each recorded a power play goal and the Blue Devils killed off all seven of Biddeford’s power play chances en route to a 3-1 victory in Class A boys’ ice hockey action.
“Our power play is moving the puck really well,” Lewiston coach Jamie Belleau said. “It’s something that we’ve been working on and that makes me really happy. I’ve been in Lewiston for five years now and we’ve had some good teams, but we never could seem to move the puck on the power play. We’re doing the hard work in practice, it’s paying off and I’m pleased about that.”
After killing off its first two penalties of the game, Lewiston struck with 1:38 left in the period, taking a 1-0 lead when Lemelin scored a power play goal, his fourth goal of the season, ripping a slapshot from the right point past Tigers’ goalie Jon Fields, who faced 43 shots, making 40 saves. Evan Gosselin and Patrick DeBlois each recorded assists on the play.
Down by a goal, the Tigers were in position to even the game as they began the second period with a two-man advantage for 1:39, after Kyle Morin and Lemelin were whistled for minor penalties in the closing seconds of the first period.
That proved to be one of several key moments for the Blue Devils as they killed off the two-man advantage and struck with their own five-on-three power-play goal at the 6:36 mark of the second period when Lewiston’s leading scorer, Poulin, made it 2-0 with a shot from inside the left circle.
The Blue Devils had gone 2-for-3 at that point and killed off six Biddeford power plays.
“We had a lot of penalties in the first two periods, killed a big five-on-three,” said Belleau. “If we didn’t do that and they executed that would have changed the whole dynamic of the game.”
Belleau was less than pleased with the officials, but impressed with his team’s composure on the ice.
“I thought there were a lot of weak calls early on in the game,” Belleau said. “I thought whole dynamic of the game could have been changed. I told (the players) that the only one who can get mad at the officials is me, and they need to take care of things on the ice, and they did.”
Biddeford pulled back to within a goal, 2-1, only two minutes into the third period after a shot rebounded to sophomore Tyler Bellerose in the left circle. He beat Lewiston goalie Evan Bourassa, who finished the game with 30 saves.
It was the first goal allowed by Bourassa in 76 minutes, 51 seconds after recording a shutout against Biddeford in a 2-0 win at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee back on Dec. 15.
“I think a lot of people really underestimate Evan,” Belleau said. “He played like an all-state goaltender last season. He’s one this season, but he can’t get comfortable because every once in a while teams sense a kink in his armor so they think his day is coming.”
“He’s being challenged by teammates, his coaching staff to basically say that other teams don’t think he’s the real deal. I think he is, his teammates think he is and he thinks he is, but he’s got to continue to prove it day in and day out, and he’s doing just that.”
Just nine seconds later, off the ensuing faceoff, Lewiston regained its two-goal lead when Morin slipped the puck past Fields.
“Morin’s goal was huge,” said Belleau. “That line is two freshmen and a sophomore and they scored two goals against Greely and they scored the third goal in this game. It shows extreme poise for a kid that’s playing at this level as a freshman.”