LEWISTON — A funny thing happened when Lewiston looked up at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee scoreboard before skating off the ice at the end of Saturday's first period.
And by funny we mean peculiar, disturbing, even alarming, if you paid even a shred of attention during the Blue Devils' breeze to the Eastern Class A championship.
There was one goal in the opening stanza of Saturday night's state final, and Falmouth scored it. That was stop-the-presses stuff on both sides of the scale.
Lewiston pitched shutouts prior to every initial Zamboni visit in the regional playoffs while rifling pucks into the net by the baker's dozen: 5-0, 4-0 and 4-0.
To the naked eye, there was little to distinguish the quarterfinal launch against Edward Little from the semifinal start against Brunswick from chapter one, verses one, two, three and four in the title game at Bangor's expense.
The end results shared a smoldering sameness, too, with the Devils dismantling their three conference foes by the tiresome total of 24-2.
Maybe that was to the Blue Devils' detriment. Perhaps it finally caught up with them.
Nobody in the sharp blue sweaters was using it as an excuse, but let's say it's a reasonable explanation for why, in an even-on-paper state championship game pairing, Falmouth sailed away with a 4-0 win.
"Our hockey program and our hockey team has gotten a lot better this year. The fact that we put up as many goals as we did is good, but we're not necessarily known to be a team that generates a lot of offense," Lewiston coach Jamie Belleau said. "We were hoping that would continue, but we ran into a team that's been groomed for the last three or four years. They're very good, and they did a good job shutting us down."
Contrast that to the Yachtsmen's tight squeeze through the Western Class A playoffs and, well, there is no comparison.
Falmouth left the dock with a 7-1 verdict over a Biddeford program in a bit of a down cycle but dripping with recent championship tradition. Next was a 6-3 ouster of Gorham, right here in the suddenly comfortable confines of the Colisee.
Two hours after Lewiston belted Bangor on Tuesdsay night, Falmouth needed two goals late in the third period to scuttle Scarborough, 4-3.
Both teams brought a rightful swagger to the biggest stage. The Yachtsmen's self-assurance simply sat on a different foundation.
"Confident bordering on cocky, and it showed. We just knew we had it in us. We knew we were playing good hockey, and we knew if we came out here and executed what we needed to do, we were going to come out on top," Falmouth senior forward Hugh Grygiel said. "We just took the momentum from the Scarborough game and translated it out here, and it worked out for us."
Falmouth and Lewiston split during the regular season, each winning on its own home ice. Each played what is known in Class A hockey parlance as a top-tier schedule, ducking nobody.
The secret to what helped separate Falmouth may be no secret at all. In the past nine state finals, only one school that currently calls Eastern Class A home — Waterville in 2009 — left the Twin Cities with the trophy.
Cheverus, Biddeford, Thornton and now Falmouth have mostly kept the title to themselves. Most of us who have lived here more than a year or two don't need an atlas and gazetteer to see the common denominator.
"It's huge. There have been years where we've come in and played some weak teams in the beginning, and you just can't get your momentum flowing," said Falmouth junior Andre Clement, who scored two goals. "In this tournament we played Biddeford, Gorham and Scarborough, and all those games were hard-fought games. They all worked their butts off. Lewiston came out here and they gave everything they had. We just got the lucky bounces and came out on top."
Remember when Greater Portland programs — especially parents, coaches and fans — cried incessantly about having to travel north to confront Lewiston or St. Dom's in its home haunt at playoff time?
You don't hear that much anymore. Clement said the Colisee is "like our second home rink."
"We didn't have an easy game coming into this," defenseman Jack Pike added. "We like to think we play a difficult schedule in the regular season. We had a Massachusetts tournament to get us ready. The whole season's been preparation for this game right here, and I think that showed tonight."
"That pays huge dividends in the playoffs," chimed in Falmouth coach Deron Barton. "When you play better teams, teams that challenge you all over the ice, this is where you see the dividends."
Lewiston and Falmouth might split a 10-game series if you moved it around the state and played it under varying conditions at different points on the calendar.
Saturday night, though, there was no question that the better team, the team baptized by fire in the regional playoffs, and the team from the tougher section of the Class A draw, top to bottom, came out on top.
On top again, that is. No laughing matter.
Kalle Oakes is a staff columnist. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Oaksie72.