LEWISTON – For once, the Lewiston High School hockey team is hoping history doesn’t repeat itself.

The Blue Devils, owners of 20 Class A state hockey titles, will square off against Biddeford tonight in the championship game.

And while Lewiston would love to add No. 21 to its banner high above the ice at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee, it’s the recent history that the Blue Devils would just as soon like to forget.

In five of the past seven years, Lewiston has advanced to the state title game. Only once in those five tries – in overtime in 2002 – have the Blue Devils won.

“We don’t want to go into another championship game and lose,” junior defenseman Justin Nadeau said. “We want to bring it back this year.”

To do that, Lewiston has taken a long, hard look at itself, and has come up with what it feels has been the team’s biggest nemesis: Themselves.

“You have to play disciplined hockey – that’s the bottom line,” Gagne said. “It’s been one of the downfalls for Lewiston in the past. Getting there was enough for them in the past, and when they got there, they weren’t ready for the pressure, and the pressure put them in undisciplined situations.”

Biddeford thrived with an extra skater against Scarborough in the teams’ Western Class A final Tuesday.

“We pride ourselves on special teams,” Biddeford coach Jamie Gagnon. “We knew coming into this year that those would be at a premium with the new standards.”

“When you’re scoring four goals the way they did – and there were some pretty goals – they’ve got that down pretty good,” Lewiston coach Norm Gagne said. “If Scarborough stayed out of the box, they beat Biddeford 3-2.”

Last lines

Much of the talk coming into tonight’s game has centered around goaltending.

Biddeford keeper Tony Dube has been stellar all season, but particularly in the playoffs. In three playoff games, Dube has allowed five goals. For the season, Dube fashioned a 1.95 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage. The latter was the best in Class A.

“He’s been everything for us,” ” Gagnone said. “He gives us a chance to win in every single game.”

“He’s got a good glove. He moves well side-to-side,” Gagne said. “We’re going to have to pick our spots.

On Lewiston’s side, Dylan LaBonte will get the green light. LaBonte emerged as the starter for the Blue Devils as a sophomore, and also allowed just five goals in three playoff games.

“He earned his spot, and he’s kept it,” Gagne said of his netminder. “Dylan’s given us a chance to win in every game.”

Blue lines

Biddeford’s biggest advantage comes from its blue line.

“We’ve got to stop their defense from rushing up the ice, especially (Brian Dumoulin),” Lewiston forward Casey Poussard said.

Dumoulin is indeed one of the most feared weapons in the state.

And he’s just a sophomore.

“(Dumoulin) is the cornerstone of our defense,” Gagnon said. “When we’re struggling on offense, he can put the puck in the net from the blue line, and while he get’s most of the attention he gets for being solid on offense, he’s solid on defense, too.”

In Biddeford’s only game against Lewiston this season – a 5-4 Blue Devil win – Lewiston neutralized Dumoulin. But it’s going to be a lot tougher this time around.

“We can match their speed,” Gagne said. “But the only answer we’ve got for Dumoulin is that we’ve got to keep him off the puck.”

Forward lines

Here might be Lewiston’s lone advantage, at least on paper. The Blue Devils’ offense has erupted over the final two weeks of the regular season, and in the Eastern Class A final, Jonathan Roy scored four goals, and the team totaled eight.

“We have a great deal of respect for Lewiston and their offense,” Gagnon said. “Their top line is one of the best in the state, and we need to be able to slow that line down.”

Biddeford, meanwhile, has a balanced attack. Jeremy Grebin led Tier I of Western Class A with 51 points, but five other Tigers ended up in the top 11, including Dumoulin, Shawn Grover, Nick Reny, Tyler Fleurant and Cam Madore.

“It’s great to have offensive production from anyone at any time,” Gagnon said.

The Blue Devils, meanwhile, have been running three lines for more than three weeks, and all of them have been producing. In the team’s win over Edward Little, Lewiston’s second line did most of the damage. Against Brunswick, it was the team’s third line scoring both goals in a 2-1 win. And against Bangor, the top line exploded.

In Class B, West champ Greely will take on East champ Brewer. The Witches lost in last year’s state final to Cape Elizabeth.

The Class B championship is at 1 p.m. The Class A game follows at 6 p.m. Both games are at the Colisee.


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