LEWISTON — The Lewiston Police Department's two-time returning champs were narrowly defeated Sunday in the championship round of the Battle on Ice hockey tournament at the Colisee.
Lewiston police fell 5-3 to Sanford police Sunday, a day after beating the same team 9-8. “We are back to defend our title,” Lewiston police Detective Jim Theiss said.
Sunday's games wrapped up three days of round-robin play among teams representing fire, police and armed forces in the Maine Event Battle on Ice at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee. The tournament benefited the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Boston.
The hockey games began Friday, when Brig. Gen, James D. Campbell, adjutant general of the Maine National Guard, dropped the ceremonial first puck.
“Members of our organization are excited to participate in a worthy cause and compete with first responders who proudly serve our communities,” Campbell said.
The Guard was among eight teams registered for the tournament, sponsored by the International Fire, Police and Military Winter Games. Even a team representing Boston fire departments made the trip to Lewiston.
Now in its third year, the annual tournament raises funds for the Shriner's Hospitals for Children in Boston with an emphasis on the Burn Center.
“We are so excited,” said Brenda Espinoza of Rumford, executive director for the tournament. “The games have gone really well.”
The evening also included a 50/50 raffle, the Kora Highland bagpipers, a solo by Staff Sgt. Crystal Ryder and a check presentation.
Two years ago, Battle on Ice netted $1,000. Last year it nearly doubled its return, making $1,900, and splitting the money between the Shriners and Special Olympics. This year, Espinoza plans to write a check for $2,000.
Espinoza said that with the tournament still developing, she wanted to make more of an impact for only one recipient. She emphasized that this is an all-volunteer event, raising funds from the sale of tickets, T-shirts and souvenir pucks. She also expressed gratitude for the free advertising provided by the Colisee.
Sunday's events started with an a cappella group, the Deansmen, from Bates College, singing the national anthem. The Auburn Fire Department Color Guard was on hand, too.
Espinoza opened the championship game with a speech, followed by Lewiston Mayor Robert Macdonald dropping the ceremonial puck and joking with the Lewiston team that they were, “playing for their jobs,” before saying to the Sanford team, “Guys, please let them win.”
Before the game, Lewiston patrolman, Charlie Weaver was cautiously optimistic, “First time around, we took them a little lightly. They use the ice well for what they have for skaters.”
Sanford Sgt. Jason Wagner said his team felt “pretty good, we look good, we feel good and hopefully we get some numbers up there.”
Early in Sunday's game, the teams traded goals. The first goal was scored early in the first period by Lewiston's Roger Landry. Sanford's Andrew Carignan answered.
In the second period, goals by Lewiston's team captain, Trevor Campbell II, and Sanford's Jeremy Smith kept the game tied.
In the third period, Sanford's Andrew Sneider scored a go-ahead goal, but Lewiston pulled its goalie late in the period and Joe Perryman scored to send the game to a shootout.
In the shootout, Sanford's Phil Pinkham and Anthony Reynolds scored and Sanford won.