LEWISTON — Brianna Stanley could only see — and stop — so many shots Friday.

Stanley, who made a run deep into the playoffs last season with the Leavitt girls’ hockey team, was charged this season with being the backbone of the newly-formed Leavitt/Edward Little cooperative team. After a 10-win season, Stanley was used to seeing her fair share of rubber.

But Friday’s third period was a whole other story.

Top-seeded St. Dom’s unleashed 19 shots on goal in the final frame and allowed only one — with less than a minute to play in regulation — and scored twice to pull away from a pesky Red Hornets squad for a 4-2 Eastern semifinal victory at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

“(Leavitt/EL) was playing through with the puck all game, and we weren’t playing through the puck early in the game. We were trying to weave our way through people too much,” St. Dom’s coach Don Boucher said. “We tried to change that momentum around in the third and not get frustrated. But they got in our heads a little bit there in the first two periods. We came out of it, though.”

St. Dom’s tore through its schedule this season, winning every game it played with a full complement of players, including a pair of lopsided wins over Leavitt/Edward Little.

But the Red Hornets weren’t overcome with fear. They didn’t back down and they gave the Saints everything they bargained for.

“All the girls were ready for this game,” Leavitt/EL coach Eric Geoffroy said. “They came pout here, ready to play hockey. They had their game faces on when they walked in, and they went out there playing hard.”

The head-turning began in the first frame. The Saints pressured hard early, but Stanley stood tall in the cage, and the Leavitt/EL defense did well to clear the middle of the ice when shots did find their way through.

“Brianna made some unbelievable saves. She kept us in there for a while,” Geoffroy said. “We just couldn’t hold onto it in the end.”

“What a game she played,” Boucher said. “I thought she was going to pull it off there for a while. But sometimes, that’s all it takes.”

The Red Hornets then wowed those in attendance by scoring the game’s first goal — on a draw play in the St. Dom’s zone on a rare 4-on-3 power play. Kayla Royer won the faceoff to Shelbea Russell, who fired the puck past Keaney to put Leavitt/EL on top 1-0.

“I had no doubt, I’m not going to doubt my players,” Geoffroy said. “I had a feeling today they were going to come up big, and they did.”

“Every time we were coming in, they were clogging up the middle really well,” Boucher said. “In the break, we talked to the girls about coming in on the outside, working the puck around a bit and then every one of our top players can weave their way in from that point.”

The score remained 1-0 into the first intermission, with neither team capitalizing on power-play chances.

That changed in the second, as the Saints fired out of the gate, taking the first six shots of the middle frame on Stanley. Two went in as St. Dom’s sped back in front, 2-1.

The equalizer came on a wrister from the high slot as Kayla McLellan curled to the middle from the left boards and fired through traffic. Lauren Ratsep got the second on a wrister from in tight below the left faceoff dot.

Undaunted, Leavitt/EL struck back. Two minutes and six seconds later, Taylor Landry sped up the right side beat the St. Dom’s defender with speed and, from a sharp angle, backhanded a shot on Keaney. The puck struck the surprised keeper in the pads and trickled through 5-hole to again even the game up, this time at 2-2.

“I thought we came out a little flat in the first and second periods,” Boucher said. “I wasn’t sure how we were going to come out.”

The Saints gathered themselves in the locker room after the second period, and gave Leavitt/EL everything they had.

“I think we really changed things around going into that third period,” Boucher said. “

Marisa Zamrock poked a rebound past Stanley 4:01 into the third to put the Saints in front by a goal on a rebound on the power play, and she added another on a feed from Anna Desjardin at 10:40 to seal the deal.


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