LEWISTON – With both offenses garnering most of the attention leading into Tuesday night’s cross-river rivalry playoff matchup between Lewiston and Edward Little, it was a young, stingy Lewiston defense that stole the show.

The Blue Devils’ blueliners held Edward Little’s vaunted offense to 28 shots – most of them from the outside – and sophomore netminder Dylan LaBonte made saves on each one to lead Lewiston to a 3-0 shutout win over Edward Little at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Tuesday.

“Our defense did an outstanding job of clearing the puck out of trouble down low tonight,” Lewiston coach Norm Gagne said. “When (EL) did have chances, we were smart enough to clear the puck out of the zone, too.”

Edward Little had a hard time generating offense inside the Lewiston zone, and the Blue Devils’ transition game through the neutral zone was tough for the Eddies to overcome early.

“We need to have our heads on a swivel at all times,” EL coach Craig Latuscha said. “They beat us on defensive mistakes.”

Lewiston’s defense, made up mostly of sophomores, frustrated the EL offense all night, and played one of its more physical games of the season.

“We were physical, but we weren’t too physical,” Gagne said. “We didn’t need to line up the really big hits. We were good at rubbing them off the puck.”

LaBonte also played well in his first playoff game, and got into the game early on a bad bounce that nearly gave Edward Little the early lead.

“He helped us big-time,” Gagne said of his goaltender. “He made all of the tough saves, especially in the second, which helped us.”

“It was a bit scary,” admitted LaBonte. “In my first playoff game to have no goals against, but I thought I did OK, but it gets pretty intense.”

Jordan Bourgoin had a goal and an assist for Lewiston (11-9-1), while Jonathan Roy and Ian Doucette each potted one in the win. Next up for Lewiston will be a Eastern Class A semifinal matchup at the Colisee on Saturday against Brunswick, a 6-1 winner over Lawrence on Tuesday.

Lewiston enjoyed a pair of full power plays and another abbreviated chance, but managed just three total shots on net on those chances, and just five on the period.

“We came out a little flat in the first, but it was good to get things going in the second,” Bourgoin said.

Bourgoin did get things going for Lewiston at 4:13 of the second period on the team’s second breakaway in two minutes. On the first, Roy mishandled the puck and never got a shot off. But on the second, Bourgoin fired a low wrist shot to the low blocker on Adam Loudermilk that beat the EL goatender clean.

“I saw J.R. deke and the puck slowed up on him,” Bourgoin said. “The ice was sticky, so I just let the shot go.”

Roy gave the Blue Devils a two-goal cushion at 11:52 of the second when he finished on the doorstep to Loudermilk’s left. Bourgoin’s original shot banked off the goalie and right to Roy, who popped it into the top half of the net.

“The two-goal lead was big for us,” Roy said. “We’d been uncomfortable wih one-goal leads all year.”

Doucette finished the scoring at 1:56 of the third when he tipped home a backhanded feed from Mike Sarrazin from the right corner over Loudermilk’s right shoulder.


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