LEWISTON — Matt Swan was shell-shocked. No matter how many saves he was making, Lewiston just kept coming.
The Cony senior remained equal to the task early as the shots piled up. The Blue Devils broke through on their 12th shot, but it was a pair of back-to-backers as the total crept toward 20 that ultimately made the difference.
Stefan Vallee and Desmond Gagne scored seven seconds apart on consecutive shots in the middle of the first period to break open a one-goal game and help push Lewiston to a 9-0 victory over Cony in the teams' Eastern Class A semifinal contest at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Saturday.
"We knew coming in that Swan is a legit goaltender, he moves well east to west," Lewiston coach Jamie Belleau said. "Our game plan was to get a lot of pucks to the net early, a lot of rubber to the net. We did that, got 28 to the net in the first period, and if you get some rebounds, you can pop a couple in. It was certainly nice to get us going."
The lopsided score was hardly indicative of Swan's play, which at times was spectacular early on as the Rams struggled to stay in the contest.
"I knew they'd come out flying," Swan said. "I knew they'd have a lot of shots. I just tried to keep my focus no matter what the score was."
"After warm-ups, I looked up and there were almost 20 shots already," Cony coach Chad Foye joked. "Matty did a great job today. He's been a rock for us all year."
Lewiston snapped its frustration with those three first goals, the latter two coming at 8:39 and 8:46 of the opening frame.
"Any time you can get a jump out on a good goaltender, it's great motivation," Belleau said.
The Blue Devils are now 14-1-1 since a 1-3 start to begin the season, and the offense appears to have found its legs, with 17 goals in the first two playoff games this postseason.
"We're not a high-scoring team," Belleau said. "I don't think there was a player on our team that had 20 points this year, and we won 13 games and two playoff games. So right now, we're getting a lot of pucks to the net, we're skating well, and we're also moving the puck better than we have all season."
The fact that the offense came from a variety of players Saturday also pleased Belleau.
"One of the benefits of our team, it has a lot of depth," Belleau said. "It's not just against Cony. We feel comfortable rolling all four lines against anybody. It keeps our legs fresh."
Defensively, Lewiston was staunch. It allowed only one shot in the first period while building a 4-0 advantage, and allowed only 11 on the game as Cony tried furiously to rally.
"We haven't gone against a team of that caliber all year," Foye said. "That's where the schedule you have kind of hurts you some. It would have been good for us to play a couple teams like that this year, so we could be used to that speed. They move the puck side to side and find passing lanes so well."
The Rams, meanwhile, found a bit of a stride in the second period, buoyed by a pair of Lewiston penalties. But at the other end, Brian Wigant stood his ground. He has now played in both Lewiston playoff games, and recorded shutouts in each.
"It's still a day-by-day decision," Belleau said. "Wigant's done a nice job. We have confidence in both goaltenders. Bourassa's won just as many games, played just as well for us."
After a 14-win regular season, the Rams finish the season at 15-5-0 overall.
"I'm not sure what we could have done. I felt we did everything we could (Saturday)," Foye said. "They just move the puck so quickly and so well. The only thing we could have done is eliminate turnovers. We turned the puck over because they made us play more quickly that usual. But we had a great season. The kids really bought into what we were doing. I'm proud of them and their effort."