LEWISTON — They could feel the shift back at the bench.

Lewiston’s Ben Wigant wriggled free from the opening faceoff of the third period, pushed the puck to himself, split the defense and bore down on Falmouth goalie Jay Hurdman.

With a quick flick of the blocker pad on his right hand, Hurdman denied Wigant’s bid just six seconds into the period. A minute and 25 seconds later, Brandon Morrill found an open patch of ice in the low slot and converted a feed from Julien Clement into an all-important insurance tally for Falmouth as the Yachtsmen handed the Blue Devils their first loss of the 2009-10 campaign Wednesday, a 3-0 victory at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

“All the years I’ve done this, I’ve always believed the season starts in January,” Falmouth coach Scott Rousseau said. “You have to give your young players a chance to make mistakes and let your team grow. That was about as clean an effort as it gets with very few mistakes tonight.”

Hurdman, meanwhile, stopped 15 shots to earn the shutout, which came with a heavy heart. His grandmother passed away unexpectedly the night before, and he’d debated whether he should play in the game at all.

“That’s the story,” Rousseau said. “He was kind of a surprise for us last year as a sophomore, and on many nights was our best player, but he’s struggled a bit this year trying to find his form, kind of like our whole team … but as your goaltending goes, usually so does your team. He was rock-solid tonight.”

As well as Hurdman played when he was called upon, the Falmouth defense did plenty of work keeping Lewiston’s offense from even sniffing the front of the cage.

“We’re a team, we need to get pucks to the net and crash the net,” Lewiston coach Jamie Belleau said. “We’re a team that has to do the little things right and have a jump in our step. We didn’t have the jump in our legs tonight, we came out flat and when that happens, we’re not going to get a lot of pucks to the net.”

Both teams started the game sluggish. Falmouth didn’t register its first shot on goal until nearly five minutes had elapsed, and the Devils failed to test Hurdman until the 7:31 mark.

Lewiston’s stretch of futility continued through the remainder of the period, and Hurdman needed to stop just two Lewiston shots in the first 15 minutes. On the other end, though, Cam Poussard was busy. Buoyed by a pair of power play chances late in the frame that overlapped by 15 seconds, the Yachtsmen tested the Lewiston keeper 12 times. He denied them each time to keep the game scoreless.

The last penalty of the opening frame stung Lewiston a bit more, though, as officials assessed captain Joey Fournier, coming off a hat trick against Bangor, with an extra 10-minute misconduct for hitting from behind.

Falmouth struck first just 1:28 into the second when Cam Bell snuck in from the right corner with the puck on his stick and roofed a backhander top shelf over Poussard’s glove hand, nearly catapulting over his own teammate in the process.

With Fournier still in the box, the Blue Devils squandered a pair of power play chances, and the offense, though showing some signs of life, remained stagnant. Late in the period, Lewiston drew a third power play on a delay of game call after a Falmouth defender closed his hand on the puck in the defensive zone.

Morrill’s tally early in the third gave the Yachtsmen a cushion, and Clement iced things at 9:53 of the final frame with a breakaway snipe to the blocker side on Poussard.


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