WATERVILLE — Not all wins — and near-shutouts — are created equal.

Lewiston and star goalie Cam Poussard have been on the winning end of their fair share of 10-goal games, during which the keeper was barely tested.

Monday, in the Blue Devils’ traditional Presidents’ Day matinee against Waterville, the final score may have been on the lopsided end, but the Panthers certainly made Poussard earn it.

Poussard turned back 30 of the 31 shots he faced — including all 16 in a scoreless first period — Colt Steele scored twice and three other Lewiston skaters netted goals to lead the Blue Devils to a season-ending 5-1 victory at Colby College’s Alfond Arena.

“At this time of the year, Waterville’s pressing. They’re a desperate team, playing to get a home playoff game,” Lewiston coach Jamie Belleau said. “It’s not surprising how hard they come out. … We’re very pleased that Cam played well.”

Though the end result in the standings was the same, the Panthers closed the gap on the Devils since an 11-0 Lewiston victory earlier this season.

“They played about as well as I think they can, they emptied the tank today,” Belleau said. “I’m impressed with the way they played.”

“We played well today, we just couldn’t bury any chances,” Waterville coach Dennis Martin said. “In the first, we stayed with them, but when we made mistakes, they capitalized on them. They’re a very good hockey team, and they’re not No. 1 for no reason.”

Poussard was a big reason why Waterville remained scoreless in the first frame, even as Lewiston struggled to score and, at times, struggled to exit its own zone.

“You battle and you stay even with them, and you hope you can chip one in,” Martin said.

Three minutes into the contest, Waterville had a 6-0 advantage in shots. Just shy of the five-minute mark, the count was up to 9-0, and included a pair that, by all rights, probably should have gone in if not for stellar stops from the Lewiston keeper.

“It’s not surprising to see him do as well as he did, but it’s nice to see what he can do when he gets a lot of pucks,” Belleau said. “He was very good today.”

A pair of Waterville penalties bookending the first intermission killed the Panthers’ momentum, and Lewiston took advantage. Zack Parker fired a shot from the left point through traffic that appeared to deflect off something in front. It sailed past Waterville keeper Cody Thibodeau for the game’s first tally.

Only 5:06 later, Steele picked off an errant pass in the center zone, weaved his way to the low slot and tucked the puck past Thibodeau as he tripped over a Waterville stick.

That came less than two minutes after officials ruled an apparent Waterville goal — a would-be equalizer — was batted into the cage by a gloved hand.

“We’ll take a break now and then,” Belleau said. “We didn’t catch many last year late in the season, because teams were working hard against us, like Waterville did today, so we’ll take them when we can get them.”

Desmond Gagne snapped the puck short side high on Thibodeau from the right circle at 7:33 of the third to put the Devils on top 3-0, Steele made it 4-0 at 9:08, and Cody Dussault added another at 10:35, on the power play to push the visitors’ lead to 5-0.

Waterville snapped Poussard’s bid for a 27th career shutout with 3:26 to play on a giveaway in the Lewiston zone. Kyle Bishop stole the puck and roofed it glove side high.


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