You can be the center of attention, take most of the shots and become the focus of every opponent’s defensive game plan.

Even though it’s unintentional, teammates fall into the trap of making the extra pass or declining their own opportunities. And other elements of your game, such as defense, discipline and decision-making, naturally slip. The team might peak early in the season and never reach its potential as a result.

And all of us can come up with an endless list of professional, college and high school examples until we drift off. Think of it as the sports fan’s alternative to counting sheep.

Thankfully for Lewiston High School, you will never find Kyle Lemelin anywhere near that mind-numbing roster.

On a lesser team with longer odds of winning a state title, the junior sniper might be the leading goal-scorer in Class A. With the Blue Devils, Lemelin is utterly content to pass up a decent shot if it means getting one of his linemates a better one. He also isn’t afraid to mix it up along the boards and take two minutes for the common good if duty demands.

Sure, if No. 1 Lewiston (15-3-1) eludes No. 5 Brunswick in Saturday’s 2 p.m. Eastern Class A semifinal tussle at Androscoggin Bank Colisee, there’s a fair chance that Lemelin will light the lamp. But you’re more likely to read that he ended up with an assist. Or two. Or three.

“At this point in the season we really need that,” Lemelin said of Lewiston’s scoring balance. “It’s expected at this point.”

Lemelin took moving the puck to a dizzying level in the quarterfinal round against Edward Little. In addition to his team-leading 17th goal of the season, Lemelin crafted a fistful of assists, setting up five other scores in a 9-1 victory.

It hoisted Lemelin’s number of helpers to 19, also best among the Blue Devils.

“That’s probably a little more than he usually gets,” Lewiston coach Jamie Belleau said. “He’s one of our leaders out there. We expect him to create some offense, and we’re going to need that.”

Two of those five goals were set up by one of Lemelin’s screeching slap shots ringing one of the posts. Other times, Lemelin drew a crowd and cleverly found the inevitable open man.

Lewiston has four other players with at least seven goals on the season.

There’s a pay-it-forward benefit to Lemelin’s unselfishness. As defenses are left with no choice but to play straight-up against seniors Bryan Hall and Cam Marquis and juniors Matt Poulin and Patrick DeBlois, it leaves more openings for you-know-who.

“In high school hockey, you rely on your horses. You can’t lose sight of the fact that when you’re getting those contributions from other guys it makes a difference for a guy like Kyle with his talent,” Belleau said. “Offensively (against EL) we got contributions from all nine or 10 forwards. It’s been like that for the past couple of months. That’s a good sign.”

Many juniors are just now finding their comfort level in varsity hockey.

Lemelin already is in his third go-round. He saw significant time on two teams that delved deeply into the regional playoffs but fell short of the Blue Devils’ ultimate goal — their first state title since 2002.

On a club with with only five seniors, two of which are goaltenders, that makes Lemelin a go-to guy. Although, by nature, he doesn’t see it that way.

“I feel like no one’s a real leader. We all fit together as a team,” Lemelin said. “Every night someone different steps up.”

Lewiston is 12-1 in its past 13 outings and three games away from ending the second-longest championship drought in school history.

If the Devils ultimately do add blue ink or paint to the banner fluttering in the cool breeze of the venerable Colisee rafters, there’s little doubt who will lead them there.

“He’s stepped up. It’s his junior year. He’s strong. He’s big,” Belleau said. “It’s very good that he’s contributing the way he is, but what makes it even better is you’ve got some other kids contributing as well. When you do that, it makes us tough.”

[email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: