Lewiston High School prepared for next weekend’s Class A cheering championship by winning its division Saturday in the annual Cheers from the Heart competition at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School.
It was a clean sweep for Lewiston, which also prevailed in the middle school category.
“It’s a nice, relaxed meet. It keeps us on the mat,” Lewiston coach Lynnette Morency said.
Lewiston aims for its fourth consecutive state title Saturday at Augusta Civic Center. The Blue Devils already have won their sixth straight KVAC title and fifth Class A East crown in a row.
The Class A competition will run concurrently with the Class D finals, beginning at 10 a.m.
Oxford Hills and Edward Little join Lewiston in the Class A finals. Buckfield will compete in Class D.
Class B-C finals are scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Leavitt was a regional runner-up in the B division. Lisbon, Mountain Valley, Dirigo, St. Dom’s and Monmouth are the local representatives in Class C.
Rivals compete for banner
There is no KVAC, per se, in girls’ hockey. But the two local representatives from that conference will square off tonight in a conference championship game when No. 1 Leavitt/Edward Little and No. 2 Lewiston meet at Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
Game time is 8:20 p.m.
It’s another potential playoff preview in a week that has been full of them for the top two seeds in Eastern Maine.
The top-ranked Red Hornets (15-3) beat No. 4 Yarmouth/Freeport 2-0 on Thursday and are poised to face the Clippers again in the semifinals, provided Y/F can hold serve at home against Mt. Ararat in a quarterfinal clash.
As for the Devils (13-4-1), they defeated No. 3 Greely 2-1 to close out the regular season on Saturday, setting up a semifinal rematch on Lewiston’s home ice against the defending state champions from Cumberland.
Leavitt Little secured the top seed by sweeping the season series from Lewiston by scores of 3-2 and 3-1.
Another of those conference championship exhibition games will feature the Spruce Mountain and St. Dom’s girls’ basketball teams in the Mountain Valley Conference final a week from Monday.
Both the Phoenix (17-0) and Saints (14-3) clinched those berths more than a week ago. They were set by teams’ record in their first game against every school on the MVC schedule.
It has been a sensational season for St. Dom’s, who have been No. 1 in Class C West most of the way despite having only nine healthy players.
The Saints also have clinched the top seed in the regional tournament, meaning they will avoid a preliminary game and go straight to Augusta.
“We wanted to get that,” St. Dom’s coach Jon Berry said. “The MVC game and the prelim round are on back-to-back nights, so we really wanted to avoid that situation.”
Kelly Pomerleau and Faith Grady lead the Saints, who face a tall challenge in the Phoenix.
Spruce Mountain has won every game by double digits, including a 52-26 verdict at St. Dom’s, and owns 36 straight MVC wins. The Phoenix won the 2013 MVC banner over Madison on a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Emily Hogan.
“What a great way to prepare for what we’re going to see in the tournament. You can’t find a better test than that,” Berry said.
Bank on this
The only questions heading into Saturday’s renewal of the Lewiston-St. Dom’s hockey rivalry had nothing to do with the quality of the product on the ice.
After dozens of encounters over the years at Androscoggin Bank Colisee, it was the first time the schools had met in the cozier confines of the shiny-new Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn.
Advance tickets had to be sold, as the seating capacity of St. Dom’s home arena is between one-third and one-half that of Lewiston’s longtime haunt.
About 150 additional tickets were available at the door, 90 minutes before varsity game time.
Parking also might have been a concern ahead of time, but the lot adjacent to the rink accommodated most of the vehicles with no reported issues.
“I thought everything went great,” St. Dom’s athletic director Gene Keene said. “We got people in and out. There was no problem with the line for tickets at the door. The students were well-behaved. The adults were well-behaved. It was a great atmosphere. If anything, I think maybe we could a get a few more people in here.”
Fans were treated to a terrific game, with Lewiston holding on for a 3-2 win.
“I love this,” arena manager Josh MacDonald said. “You get a thousand people in this building and it feels like a huge crowd.”
Lewiston may have settled in amid the hoopla a little more quickly than St. Dom’s on its way to a sweep of the regular-season series.
Goals by Matt Poulin and Nick Perreault staked the Devils to a 2-0 lead through two periods. Goalie Nick Hawk also made 22 of his 31 saves in that span.
“We talk about playing in the moment but not letting the moment get the best of you,” Lewiston coach Jamie Belleau said. “It’s going to be about who responds better to the adversity and who is the bigger team, and our kids did a great job. You’ve got to take your hat off to them.”
Leela Hornbach of Gould Academy and Dustin Staples of Mt. Blue were individual champions Saturday at the Oxford Hills Sprints.
Hornbach completed the final time trial in 2 minutes, 32 seconds. Staples’ winning time was 2:08. His teammate, Ike Doiron, was third.
The Nordic showcase also included a more traditional, though still shorter than usual, 3-kilometer loop.
Isabel Charland of Kents Hill won the girls’ 3K, while the Mt. Blue boys swept the top five spots. Tucker Barber, Nolan Rogers, Thomas Marshall, Thad Gunther and Thomas Wing all finished within 33 seconds of one another.
Luce sweeps at Titcomb
Alpine skiers from the MVC and KVAC competed in two large competitions at Titcomb Mountain in Farmington the past two Friday evenings.
Elise Luce of Mt. Abram and Alex Daigle of Maranacook won the Jan. 24 slalom. Luce backed it up with another win on Jan. 31, while this time it was Kelby Mace representing Maranacook on the boys’ podium.
Katie Collette and Sarah Klein of Mountain Valley and Katerina Bessey of Mt. Blue completed an all-local top four in the girls’ race this past Friday.
Evan Mancini of Edward Little took fourth place in the first boys’ event.