LEWISTON — With 15 seniors on the Lewiston boys’ lacrosse roster, a good handful of them remembered well what happened against Brunswick in 2009.
That year, the Dragons opened up on the Blue Devils early in the season for a 15-goal victory, only to have Lewiston push them to the brink three weeks later.
This year, the shoes were on the other feet. Three games into the regular season, Lewiston upended the Dragons on their home turf by 14.
Goalkeeper Jesse Leeman was among those players on the field two years ago, among those who saw what a wounded but proud team can do.
“I knew they were going to be so hyped up for this game,” Leeman said. “It happened to us the past two years in a row. I remember my sophomore year, they embarrassed us 16-1. I only played half the game back then, but I always looked at it like you can never give up on a team like that. They’re well-coached, they always have athletes that love lacrosse, and we knew they were going to come out firing.”
The game remained tight-checking and defensive throughout, but the Blue Devils were never really in danger. Curtis Robinson scored three times, Sam Cloutier, Brandon Tiner and Matt Melanson added one each and Jesse Leeman stopped 13 shots to lead Lewiston to a 6-1 victory over Brunswick at Morgan McDuffee Field at Bates College on Saturday.
“They were up 1-0 after the first quarter of last game, too,” Lewiston coach Bill Bodwell said. “I thought we came out very well. I thought their keeper did great. We hit five or six posts, and defensively, they battled us a little bit better.”
The Dragons (5-5) played one of their better defensive games of the season, something they knew they had to do against a speedy and shifty Lewiston squad.
“That’s probably the best 48 minutes these guys have put together,” said Brunswick coach Don Glover. “To hold them to six goals, we played very solid defensively, we had our opportunities on offense … Nothing but high praise for these guys.”
The Blue Devils opened up with three goals in the first frame, one each from Robinson, Tiner and Cloutier. But several other opportunities went by the wayside.
“It’s tough to go from a team that doesn’t challenge you with a pressure defense (in our last game), and then you get into a game against a team like Brunswick, you kind of pick up some bad habits,” Bodwell said. “They did a good job of packing it in and making things a little more difficult.”
With scoring in the first half at a premium — Lewiston led 3-0 at the half, as well — the pressure shifted to the back end. Leeman and the Devils’ defense have allowed only 37 goals in 10 games. At 3.7 per game, that’s the lowest total in Eastern A, and second best in all of Class A.
“We have talented enough defensemen where, if guys move their feet, we can keep those shots to the outside, and I think generally we did a good job of that,” Bodwell said.
“Our defense did a lot this game, they were very strong,” Robinson added. “They held our team together. Brunswick was pretty aggressive on us. They came out and played us, but we held our ground.”
Leeman was there in the event the Dragons did slip through.
“He’s a big kid. It’s tough to get around him and you have to find the seams,” Glover said. “You have to take that extra second to look and shoot.”
Brunswick grabbed the momentum early in the second half, pulling to within a pair of goals on a George Mills strike.
But Melanson replied with his first of the season for Lewiston, and Robinson tacked on another pair to finish the scoring.
“It’s a lot about the momentum,” Robinson said. “They scored early in the second half, and we came back and got another one and slowed down that momentum. They started to get theirs, but we connected again and shut it down.”