LEWISTON — Forced into action as a freshman, Cam Poussard announced his arrival on the Maine high school hockey scene in grand fashion. With fewer than 200 total minutes played at the varsity level, the first-year keeper backstopped his Lewiston Blue Devils to a 3-0 win over St. Dom’s in his first-ever chance to play against the team’s bitter rival.

It was the start of one of the more storied and statistically impressive runs of any Maine high school hockey goaltender, a run that continues today as he plays in his fourth and final full season for the Blue Devils.

“Not in a million years did I think I’d be here right now,” Poussard said. “Even when we were a powerhouse my freshman year, you look at the teams that year in the league, they were loaded, too. We were strong, our record reflected that, but to be able to have the success we’ve had the last few years in terms of wins, that’s pretty amazing.”

Success is an understatement.

In just about three full seasons, Poussard has played in 63 games (playoffs included) for Lewiston. He’s earned 45 wins and four ties against just 14 losses. His worst seasonal goals-against average was a 1.69 in 2008-09, as a sophomore, also the season during which he posted his worst save percentage (.928).

“You hear the normal cliche that in hockey, a goalie can win a game for you,” Lewiston coach Jamie Belleau said, “and certainly Cam can do that. What’s even more impressive, not just his consistency in the program, but if you look at the wins he’s got, you look at the number of shutouts he has, it’s pretty scary.”

Since he broke onto the varsity hockey scene as a freshman, Poussard has recorded 20 shutouts in 63 total games played. Eight of those shutouts came in a 15-win junior campaign a year ago, and six of them came during his sophomore year, during a regular season that yielded just nine wins for the Blue Devils.

“That’s a tribute to him, and also to our program,” Belleau said, “but certainly Cam played a big role in that. It’s certainly been a big luxury for me to come in and have Cam coming off of a solid freshman year and have him in place since his sophomore year.”

Three times in his career, Poussard has allowed more than three goals in a game — twice in losses to St. Dom’s and once as a freshman in the Class A state final against Biddeford.

This year, Poussard has been even better. He’s 7-0-1 with a 0.88 GAA and a .953 save percentage, having allowed seven goals on 149 shots in eight games through Monday’s 6-1 victory over Gray-New Gloucester/Poland.

But as fans — and anyone who’s ever met him personally — might expect, the honor student who’s ranked in the top 10 in his class with a 97.5 grade average is quick to deflect the praise so often shoveled in his direction.

“I think our defense this year is phenomenal, they don’t let up many shots,” Poussard said. “We don’t allow many shots in general, and I think against St. Dom’s on Saturday, that was the first time we’ve been outshot all season, by one shot. They do a great job keeping everything to the outside and giving me a great chance to see everything.

“It’s amazing getting this far and really, it’s a phenomenal accomplishment, but I’d be nowhere without my team in front of me,” Poussard added. “Without them putting the puck in the net, I can only do as much as keep the game tied at 0-0. That’s about it.”

Since his freshman debut, Poussard hasn’t grown much physically. He puts his height in the 5-feet, 10-inch range, “maybe an inch or two taller than I was three years ago.”

Given that factor, Poussard has had to adjust his style of play accordingly.

“Especially goalies my size, we have to kind of overcompensate up high,” Poussard said. “Even though I am a butterfly goalie, I really have to stay up big and protect top shelf. I know that’s where everybody’s going to try and go. You have to be ready for that.”

Belleau has seen plenty of growth in his top goalie, even if it hasn’t necessarily been physical.

“He’s got a good style, he’s got good technique,” Belleau said. “His lateral movement, side-to-side, is better this year than it was last year. His glove is better this year than it was last year. That’s a good sign if he wants to play at the next level. He had some kinks in the armor, for as good as he was, and he’s improved on those this year. He’s showing much more athleticism, and it might be he’s growing a little bit, even though he hasn’t grown in height. He’s losing some of that baby fat, so to speak, and he’s getting more athletic, and probably confidence has a role in that as well.

“The fact that his athleticism seems to be better this year than it has been, as good as it was before that, and that’s a great sign for him,” Belleau added.

Despite the incredible statistical information, and his team’s red-hot start this season, Poussard isn’t resting on any laurels. He has no time for that in his busy schedule, and besides, he said, they don’t matter all that much.

“Stats are worthless unless you have a state championship to back them up,” Poussard said. “You can say I’m good at playing goal, but I haven’t won a state championship. Look at Matt Roy from Biddeford. He had back-to-back shutouts when it mattered. His stats weren’t that great during the season, but he was great over those two games. That’s what matters.”

                                    Record     GAA     Save %     SO

2007-08                     9-3-1        1.54      .933          2

2007-08 playoffs      3-1-0        1.75      .929          1

2008-09                     9-6-1        1.69      .928          6

2008-09 playoffs      2-1-0        2.00     .926          0

2009-10                    15-2-1       1.22      .936          8

2009-10 playoffs      0-1-0        2.00     .818          0

2010-11                      7-0-1        0.75     .953          3

Totals                    45-14-4      1.33    .930        20

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