LEWISTON — St. Dom’s stepped on the gas pedal.
Edward Little had nothing left in its tank to counterattack.
After a furious flurry late in the second period to begin climbing out of a four-goal hole, the Red Eddies’ rally stalled in the third frame as the Saints’ defense stepped up its presence, helping preserve a 5-2 victory in the team’s Eastern Class A quarterfinal game at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Tuesday.
“The guys skated tonight, the speed was there,” St. Dom’s coach Steve Ouellette said. “To go along with that was the puck movement. We played well tonight, I think.”
The Saints held the Eddies to zero shots on goal in the third period after surrendering a pair of late goals in the second to let EL back into a game they had been leading by four.
“We came out, got a couple to get back into it,” EL coach Craig Latuscha said. “We had a couple of other chances we could have made it 4-3. But I’m proud of my guys. We won 10 games, for the most part stayed disciplined all season long. St. Dom’s is a good team, has a lot of depth. We got worn down at the end. My guys never gave up and we played with a lot of pride.”
Still ahead by a pair, Cody Rodrigue netted his second of the night on a double tip in front on a blast from Avery Jones at the point to clinch the win late in the third.
“Once we got up by four, I think some of the guys got a little fancy with their moves,” Ouellette said. “They weren’t taking care of the small things, like the blue line.”
St. Dom’s defeated Edward Little 10-1 in the final game of the regular season, and was seemingly on a similar path Tuesday until the EL offense, and the power play, came alive.
“Our power play’s been big all season long, and we got a couple again (Tuesday),” Latuscha said. “That really brought us back into the game.”
Trailing 4-0, Branden Dyer tipped the first EL goal past St. Dom’s keeper Grant Carrier at 12:17 of the second. Less than 1:30 later, Danny Poisson collected his first of the playoffs on a point shot, again on the power play to draw EL within a pair at 4-2.
“I think they were a little passive at times (on the power play),” Latuscha said. “My guys moved the puck pretty well, they screened the goaltender, allowed the guys to slide and tip the puck into the net.”
The teams battled through a scoreless first frame that saw the Saints outshoot the Eddies 13-5. Four of EL’s shots came on a power play.
“I thought we came out strong in the first, but we didn’t have anything to show for it on the scoreboard,” Ouellette said. “I thought were moving the puck well tonight.”
In the second, one goal seemed to open the floodgates. Kyle Holtet scored from a tough angle on a put back opportunity following a wraparound at 1:32. At 3:32, Rodrigue’s first extended the lead to 2-0, and Jones added another at 4:14. Will Desmarais tacked on another at 10:24 on a power play.
The third-ranked Saints will draw Bangor in the Eastern Class A semifinal. The No. 2 Rams upended Brunswick on Tuesday. That game will begin at noon, with Lewiston’s Eastern A semifinal against Cony slated for a 2 p.m. puck drop.