LEWISTON — Some teams get the breaks. Some teams make the breaks.
The Lewiston boys' hockey team did both Tuesday.
The Blue Devils built a four-goal lead in the first period of their Eastern A final, taking advantage of some hustle and some Bangor mistakes. That early lead held up in a 5-1 victory over the Rams.
"There's the old cliche that a lot of championship-caliber teams get some breaks along the way," said Lewiston coach Jamie Belleau. "We got some breaks. That's great. Bangor played us really well. We did enough to win. It's been a long season. A lot of people didn't think this team would get here. It wasn't pretty, but we did it. I'll take my chances on Saturday."
Lewiston (16-3-1) advances to Saturday's state championship game at the Colisee at 6 p.m. The Blue Devils haven't won a state title since 2002 and lost in their most recent appearance, to Thornton in overtime in 2011.
Lewiston scored four goals on just six shots in the first period and put Bangor (16-4) in an early hole. The Rams played well the final two periods and outshot the Blue Devils 36-24.
"Overall, I thought we outplayed them and outshot them, but we had a bunch of bad breaks," said Bangor coach Quinn Paradis. "That hurt us today."
Between shots that went in off of defenders or goals that resulted from screening Bangor goalie Rye Powell, Lewiston's pressure created opportunity for Ram miscues.
"I thought we were a little nervous at first," said Belleau. "After we settled down, we started putting the pucks in deep and created some offense. We got some break and that gave us a nice cushion."
Kyle Lemelin and Evan Gosselin each had a goal and an assist for Lewiston. Max Bolduc, Kyle Ullrich and Patrtick Deblois also had goals for the Blue Devils.
"We knew what we had to do, and we had the confidence," said Lemelin.
Bangor outshot Lewiston 6-1 in the early going. The second shot on goal of the game for the Blue Devils changed the momentum. Bolduc was left open on the left side and fired a wrister for a 1-0 lead at 4:11.
Then at 6:32, Ullrich steered a puck in front and it hit a Bangor defenseman. It deflected on net and Powell was moving the other way and unable to stop it.
"Coach just tells us to get going and get going and keep it up," said Ullrich, a sophomore forward. "We get in the zone and kept it at the net and kept it in there."
Bangor nearly had another goal go in off the same defenseman with 5:42 left in the period. Moments later, Lemelin fired a shot from the left side. A Ram defender was on the post with Powell there as well. It appeared to deflect in off one of them with 5:35 remaining.
Then with 3:25 left, Gosselin wristed a shot from inside the blue line that Powell didn't see well. He raised his glove but ducked at the same time, only to watch it flutter into the net.
"I think they had six shots at the end of the first period and the score was 4-0," said Paradis. "That was a big factor in the game. It ended up being 5-1. We played a great second and third period. That first period just killed us."
Bangor tried to mount a rally but fell behind 5-0 at 3:00 of the second. Just 15 seconds into a power play, Deblois buried a shot from the post through a crowd.
"We were still upbeat," said Paradis of his team's emotions after that first period. "We were down the last time we played them. We knew we could still come back. There was plenty of time. We went out and played very well in the second period."
Lewiston's defense was sound and goalie Evan Bourassa was superb in net. He made 35 saves and was stellar in the third as Bangor outshot Lewiston 12-1 at one point.
Bangor got one back at 1:17 of the third when Zeb Tuell put a rebound upstairs. The Rams hoped to continue to rally as they did in the KVAC game, but Lewiston was prepared.
"That was definitely in the back of my mind the whole time," said Lemelin, a junior forward. "In the KVAC's, they came back. We were up 4-0 and they made it 4-3. So we knew it could happen."
Bangor never scored again. Though the Rams outshot Lewiston early in the third, the Blue Devils levelled off play later in the period and were outshot by just a 14-8 margin.
"Bangor's a talented team," said Belleau. "They only lost three games all year. They were going to empty the tank. They did that. We held on. That's what you've got to do to win championships."
Lewiston has now scored 24 goals in three playoff games and enter Saturday's state game firing on all cylinders.
"As long as we do our thing, we can just do whatever," said Ullrich. "We can beat any team at this point."
Tickets for Saturday's state championship game will be available at Lewiston High School after 2 p.m. on Wednesday and can be purchased there the rest of the week. Tickets may also be purchased at the Colisee.