The Blue Devils started the stretch drive with a 3-2 win over the resilient Dragons. They dominated for long stretches, particularly early, and spoiled an excellent game from Brunswick goalie Blake Alexander (31 saves).
“It’s a really big game because it’s kind of a turning point for the season going into playoffs,” junior forward Kyle Lemelin said. “It sets the tone for the playoffs. Even though we didn’t play all that great in the second and third period, just the win all around gets us going with the St. Dom’s game coming up.”
Kyle Lemelin, Kyle Ullrich and Joey Frechette scored for Lewiston (9-2-1). Evan Bourassa was solid in net with 14 saves.
“We made a couple of mistakes, but overall, I thought we limited their opportunities,” Lewiston coach Jamie Belleau said. “We moved the puck well. The kids were getting frustrated, but I told the kids it would be different if we weren’t getting the opportunities. We were getting plenty of opportunities, and I thought we controlled most of the game.”
The Blue Devils outshot the Dragons, 34-16, including 14-4 in the first period. They wasted little time in launching their assault Alexander with six shots in the first four minutes. Brunswick briefly stemmed the onslaught when a tripping penalty put Lewiston a man down midway through the period but couldn’t sustain any pressure on Bourassa.
Lewiston resumed the barrage late in the period and finally broke through with just one second left when Matt Poulin won a draw to Alexander’s left, setting up Patrick DeBlois at the top of the circle for a slap shot that caromed off the goalie’s pads and, eventually, onto the back of Lemelin’s stick for the rebound goal that made it 1-0.
“What I wanted was for Matt to just shoot it towards the net and I was going to grab the rebound. He ended up going back to Patrick and I just got in front of the net,” Lemelin said. “Patrick’s shot went off my shoulder and I knew there wasn’t much time left so I just tried to hit it in.”
Ullrich doubled the margin 2:26 into the second period. But the Dragons (6-6-1) responded quickly when Kyle Woodruff stole the puck just inside his offensive zone. Woodruff fed Jacob McGowan, who had no one standing between him and Bourassa, and he beat the senior goalie’s glove to the top left corner to make it 2-1 at 3:42 of the second.
Alexander briefly kept it a one-goal game with a nice kick save to deny Ullrich a second goal. Moments later, however, Frechette’s shot from the right point deflected high off the goalie’s stick to make it a two-goal game again at 7:01.
Brunswick went back on the power play late in the period and tested Bourassa 30 seconds in. Bourassa went sprawling to the ice to deny Ryan Maciejewski, then recovered in time to block Matt Brooks’ blistering slapshot on a deep rebound high in the slot.
Another Lewiston penalty carried over into the third period, and the Dragons made it a one-goal game again 20 seconds into the third when Cam Heatley’s slapshot found the five-hole.
“The whole game could have changed with that goal if we didn’t respond well, but we did,” Belleau said. “The only thing I can say negative about the game is that we didn’t put a few more pucks in the net, and we could tighten up on defense a little bit. I thought we took a few too many chances. But overall, it’s a ‘W.'”
“We were lackadaisacal at times in the first and second period, but I thought we really competed in that third and gave them a little bit of a run,” Brunswick coach Mike Routhier said.
Brunswick drew its first penalty midway through the period and the Devils had multiple chances to get an insurance goal. Lemelin had a shot clang off the right post and Alexander stopped an Ullrich bid from point-blank range.
“We just couldn’t bury them. We had so many opportunities,” Lemelin said. “We really set ourselves up all over the ice with crisp passes and a lot of hard shots. We just couldn’t bury them.”
Lewiston’s frustration continued to build with the man advantage when another shot hit off the post and Alexander made a great diving stick save. But the Dragons weren’t able to seriously challenge Bourassa until Clayton Parent got a good look from the slot with about 30 seconds left only to have his shot deflected high.