LEWISTON — Sam Frechette said he didn’t see anything on his game-winning goal Monday. More importantly, neither did St. Dominic Academy goalie Gaston Fuksa.
Frechette stood in the way of Ryan Bossie’s shot from the right point, and in the process stood in the way of Fuksa’s view of the shot. The re-direct changed the trajectory of the shot, and the momentum of the game, in Lewiston’s 3-1 win over the rival Saints in a Class A North boys’ hockey game at Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
“Just hit my stick. It was a pretty lucky goal,” Frechette said. “(Fuksa) is a good goalie, and you just got to keep his eyes away. He can’t see the puck, so he can’t stop it.
“Coach always says ‘you got to put your toes in the paint at least two times a shift’ and it makes sense.”
Fuksa, playing in his first Lewiston-St. Dom’s rivalry game as a foreign exchange student from the Czech Republic, stymied the Blue Devils (5-0) 14 times in the first period, then three more times in the second before Jack Leblond broke through. The icebreaker goal 5:12 into the middle period pinballed around in front of the net before the puck made its way past an unsuspecting Fuksa.
“We hadn’t played St. Dom’s, but we’d seen them and we’ve heard about their goaltending. He obviously squares up to the puck well, so we knew we were going to have to get some traffic in front of him,” Lewiston coach Jamie Belleau said. “Obviously when we did we had some success, so that’s a good thing.”
The Saints (3-2-1) answered right back, with Zach Pelletier scoring with an assist from Michael Cilley 24 seconds later.
St. Dom’s coach Bob Parker said he thought Monday’s game was going to be a “character night” for his young team, and he called Pelletier’s goal a “character move” to tie the game up.
The Saints had a chance to take the lead soon after, with a power play less than a minute later turning into a two-man advantage, but nothing came out of the extended man-up.
The “wasted” power play was a sign of things to come for the Saints, but first came Frechette’s go-ahead goal with less than three minutes to go in the second. That allowed the Blue Devils to grab hold of momentum that St. Dom’s let slip away.
It was there for the taking again to end the second and start of the third. A five-minute major against the Blue Devils with less than five seconds to go in the second period gave the Saints a golden opportunity to start the third, but it was just fool’s gold for St. Dom’s, which mustered just one on-target shot during the long power play.
“I kind of wish we didn’t have it,” Parker said.
Power plays went from bad to worse for the Saints minutes later. A Lewiston two-minute minor turned into a Lewiston two-goal lead, with Frechette scoring a shorthanded goal 5:39 into the period.
“I pulled back to look for a play, but there was nothing, so I just threw a shot on net and it went in,” Frechette said.
The goal didn’t come without some controversy. While the Blue Devils were celebrating the Saints were protesting, based on alleged goaltender interference. Parker said he saw a clear infraction from the bench, and Fuksa’s reaction to the play only confirmed his thoughts. But the goal stood, and the Saints stayed quiet for the remainder of the power play.
Fuksa finished with 28 saves in net, while his counterpart for Lewiston, Jacob Smith, stopped 12 of 13 shots.
“They came in here with a lot of confidence. They gave us everything we could handle tonight,” Belleau said. “Do I think we played our best game? No, but we can learn from it, and it’s good to come out with a W.”
After stealing the puck and breaking in all alone, Saint Dominic Academy’s Dominic Chasse fires a shot on Lewiston goalie Jacob Smith while being harassed by Lewiston defenders Willie Blanchette, left and Jacob Story, right. Chasse was awarded a penalty shot on the play, but Smith made the save and the Devils went on to a 3-1 victory. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
Lewiston’s Alex Robert, center, fights his way through Saint Dominic Academy’s Matthew Fletcher, left and Jacob Lewis as he heads to the goal during the first period of Monday night’s game. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
Lewiston’s Gunnar Wade, center, looks to pick up a rebound from his shot that Saint Dominic Academy goalie, Gaston Fuksa made during Monday night’s game. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)