LEWISTON — York coach Jeff Hird’s system puts a lot of pressure on his own goaltender, but Olivia Drew has been a rock in net for the Wildcats this season.
The senior was a stone wall against Lewiston on Friday night, turning aside 38 shots and giving York an important 1-0 victory at Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
“We know Lewiston’s going to be a really tough team whenever we play them,” Drew said. “We knew we had to win this to get ahead in the Heal Points and really make a mark for playoffs. So I kind of focused my energy and my effort and it paid off in the end.”
“It’s the first time the York program has ever won in the Colisee,” said Hird, whose team moved into first place in the West with the win. “I feel like the Red Sox and ‘the curse’ is off.”
Lewiston outshot York, 38-8, but Drew and the Wildcats were stingy with second and in-close chances.
“Our system basically says that she’s going to take a lot of shots, and our job is to make sure they don’t get any great opportunities or rebounds,” Hird said.
Victoria Stocks scored the game-winner with a minute left in the second period with a shot from just inside the blue line that Lewiston goalie Brianna Lajoe tried to trap between her left arm and chest, but the puck squirted through. It was the first goal allowed by the Blue Devils in four games.
“I think we did everything we could do but get one in,” Lewiston coach Ron Dumont said. “(Drew) did an excellent job. You have to give her credit for that.”
York’s best true scoring opportunity came in the first period, when Lajoie made a nice save on Rachel Yorke’s bid from the slot. Lewiston (13-4) peppered Drew with 13 shots in the period and figured to carry the momentum into the second when Drew was whistled for goalie interference with 4.8 seconds left in the first.
“I didn’t mean to. It was kind of retaliatory,” Drew said. “I know it’s not good behavior on my part. But I just think and I do.”
Drew bailed herself out by turning aside quality shots from Erica Lemieux and Corinne Laberge during the power play. The Blue Devils again put 13 shots on goal in the period and the Wildcats (12-3-1) suffered a tough break when starting defenseman Brynn Vessey was injured late in the period.
But Stocks’ goal late in the second took some of the wind out of Lewiston sails to start the third period, and a tripping penalty midway through the period kept the Devils from regaining the energy they had through the first two periods until it was too late.
“After the first couple of shifts, I actually had to tell them they were going to have to start moving their legs,” Dumont said. “I was playing mostly two lines and they were getting gassed. I think the rest sometimes almost takes a little out of them.”
With 3:54 left, Lewiston came out of a timeout with a renewed sense of urgency. But Drew kicked away Natalie Rousseau’s shot from the right point, then, after the Devils pulled Lajoie, denied Lemieux’s bid from the left circle.
“When they pulled their goalie, I started to freak out a little,” Drew said. “Six-on-five and they’re a strong team.”
“At the beginning of the year, she had a couple of softies get by her, and that made her refocus,” Hird said. “Since she refocused, it’s like laser vision out there.”