It took just over five minutes for the Lewiston Blue Devils to strike first Saturday night.

After Ian Doucette’s goal at 5:28 of the Class A state championship game, the Blue Devils were in a position to take full control of the game with Biddeford if it could just get that second goal.

Despite having some early power plays, Lewiston could not take advantage and build on its early lead. Instead, Biddeford tied the game and put the Blue Devils in a 3-1 hole in the second period.

Lewiston finished 1-for-10 on the power play. The Blue Devils lone tally on the special teams came late in the third period on a four-on-three.

“We just couldn’t get the forwards moving the puck and finding the open man,” said Lewiston coach Norm Gagne. “I don’t know if it was just nerves or what. We didn’t handle the puck very well, and we didn’t make good decisions.”

Lewiston opened the game with a quick power play after a Biddeford penalty just seconds after the opening face-off. The Blue Devils came up empty but later got Doucette’s goal to take the lead.

Lewiston had a pair of power plays early in the second period after Biddeford had tied the game, but the Blue Devils couldn’t beat Tiger netminder Tony Dube. They produced an ample number of shots, but couldn’t create sustained pressure or enough chaos in front to get Dube or the defensemen out of position. Lewiston had two more power plays late in the second, after falling behind 3-1, but could not alter its fortune. They had bits and pieces of power plays that didn’t amount to much until Justin Nadeau’s goal with 4:47 left in the game.

“I think their forwards had a little more poise around the net, and they made sure they buried their opportunities,” said Gagne. “We had the same opportunities, but we were shooting and hoping and they were shooting and burying.”

Fresh start

It didn’t take long for Biddeford to change the mood of Saturday’s game. Down 1-0 after a strong opening period by Lewiston, the Tigers quickly altered that course with a goal 17 seconds into the second period.

Tyler Fleurent crashed the net off a face-off and tied the game, putting Biddeford in position to seize control of the game. It followed a pattern the Tigers have been consistent with all season.

“We usually don’t start off very well,” said Fleurent. “The second period is our period. It’s been like that all year. We don’t come out very strong. That’s the kind of team we are. We kind of let the other team set the tone, and we just come back from it. We really don’t know why it is.”

Open ’em up, or knock ’em down

A sea of people clad in orange and black crammed against the glass in front of the Androscoggin Bank Colisee. Colisee director of ticket sales Jim Mercier started toward the door, then stopped, listening to his hand-held radio.

Turning to Leavitt Assistant Principal Mike Haley, a member of the MPA’s ice hockey committee, Mercier asked if it would be OK to let the crowd in early.

“Should we wait to see if they push them open first?” Haley quipped.

The two laughed, and Mercier then turned to the doors again, much to the gathered crowd’s delight.

At 4:26, 34 minutes ahead of schedule, the Colisee opened its doors to a flood of hockey fans.

Good eats

With the turn in the weather Saturday to include temperatures above freezing, it was only a matter of time before the sweet smells of grilled hot dogs and hamburgers started wafting overhead in the parking lot.

Biddeford fans arrived extra early, some of them in a full-sized RV, and started cooking. Some of the younger kids started playing on the large snow banks next to Drouin Field.

In the lower lot, Lewiston fans had their own barbecues going, but that soon became secondary to the mad rush to get in line.

Prescient Witches

Brewer captains Devin Fitzpatrick and Reid McLaughlin sat next to each other in the locker room between the second and third periods of their game Saturday and exchanged a knowing glance.

“I looked over at Reid and I said, ‘We can’t lose two in a row,'” Fitzpatrick said.

Ever the optimist, coach Bill Schwarz looked at his players and gave them a short math lesson.

I told the kids, ‘We scored two, they scored three, why don’t we go and score two more and win it?’ Schwarz said.

Brewer completed the three-goal sandwich with two-goal bread on a goal from McLaughlin, on a pass from Fitzpatrick.

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