LEWISTON — If you’d asked the Lewiston High School girls’ hockey squad if they wanted a closer-than-expected matchup in the first round of the playoffs before the game began, the answer would have been a quick and resounding “no.”

In hindsight, with a win in his pocket, Lewiston coach Ron Dumont is just fine having had to sweat it out.

Marisa Zamrock registered a natural hat trick in the first period and the Blue Devils hung on as Greely keeper Emma Seymour held firm the rest of the way, earning a 3-2 win over the Rangers at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in the teams’ Eastern Maine semifinal matchup.

“Going in, obviously we would have liked to win by a bigger margin,” Dumont said. “But it is what it is. We still got the ‘W,’ and that’s the important thing at this time of the year. I think we can take that with us, the experience of a one-goal game, getting plenty of shots and not getting the result and overcoming that frustration, taking penalties and overcoming that, and playing the last two minutes under the gun. Going forward, I think that’s going to help us.”

Greely, meanwhile, had multiple chances to even things up and send the game into an extra session in the third period. Lewiston keeper Sarah Turner turned back seven shots in the third period — as many as she had all game — to keep the Blue Devils out in front.

“We came back after going down 2-0 early and scored one, and we decided we weren’t going down without a fight,” Greely coach Heather Geoghan said. “Between the second and the third period, we talked about doing everything we could to stop them and try to even things up.”

After a scoreless second frame, the Rangers pulled to within a goal when Paige Tuller whacked a rebound past Turner on a shot from the left point by Kelly Hurley.

Greely then drew a two-minute power play with five minutes to play in regulation, and pressured Turner some more, but the Lewiston keeper stood tall.

“She knows, she’s probably not going to see a lot of shots, but when she’s seeing just 14 or 15 in a game, she’s making the big saves when we need her to,” Dumont said.

On the other end, it was Seymour causing the Blue Devils fits. Despite a 21-shot barrage from Lewiston in the opening frame, Seymour allowed just the three goals, including one on a power-play rebound.

“She’s just a sophomore, and you’ve been able to see the improvement in her game all season,” Geoghan said. “We’re very fortunate that we have her back here for another couple of years, and it’s going to be great to watch her get even better as she grows and matures.”

Zamrock started the damage early, putting the Devils on top by a goal at the 4:07 mark of the opening period when she split the defense on a 1-on-2 and deked around Seymour in the Greely cage.

She added another at 6:44 on a slick feed across the low slot from Taylor Teixeira on a more conventional 2-on-1.

Greely hung in, and despite managing just four shots toward Turner, pulled to within a goal at the 9:31 mark when Michaela Finnegan buried a breakaway opportunity on an errant Zamrock drop pass at the blue line.

The sophomore speedster atoned for the mishap less than three minutes later when she stuffed a rebound through Seymour short side with Lewiston on the power play, reestablishing the home team’s two-goal advantage.

Lewiston played sound defense in the middle frame allowing just one Greely shot to reach Turner despite killing off a pair of late power plays. But the Devils had a hard time reaching Seymour in that same frame, too, firing just eight shots and scoring on none of their chances.

Lewiston advances to its second consecutive Eastern Maine final. The Devils will take on the St. Dom’s Saints at the Portland Ice Arena on Wednesday for the right to play in the state title game, scheduled for Saturday at the Colisee. St. Dom’s dropped Leavitt with a narrow 1-0 victory.

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