The regular five-man crew of seniors Eddie Emerson, Max Bolduc, Nick Perreault and Ethan Melvin, along with junior Joey Frechette, each bring something different to the table.

“Our defensemen do a particularly good job through the neutral zone and are starting to close gaps and take space away so teams aren’t generating a lot of offense when they gain the offensive blue line,” Lewiston coach Jamie Belleau said. “If they do gain a lot of speed at the offensive blue line, if they do that, fortunately our defensemen are keeping them to the outside.”

Belleau said once the opposition enters the offensive zone, the focus turns to putting pressure on the puck as quickly as possible. With the experience all five blue liners bring, it was easy for them to understand Belleau’s systems.

“You need everyone to be on the same page, you need some athletic defensemen and athletic forwards,” Belleau said. “Everyone has to understand their role and we have been lucky so far.”

The group’s chemistry, according to Emerson, has been strong.

“We have a real good group of guys, we have been playing for two years now,” Emerson said. “We all have been there, we all have been to a state game, I think that really helps us out. We are use to each other and we all know our roles which helps us.”

That chemistry has led the team to a 9-3 record, and the Devils sit in first place in Eastern Class A. With the help of the goaltending, they are allowing only 2.58 goals per game through 12 games.

Four of the five defensemen are taller than 6 feet, the lone exception being Perreault, who is listed 5-feet, 9-inches. Don’t let his size fool you, he’s not afraid of mixing it up with the opponents.

“I may be a little bit smaller than the rest of the guys, but I make up for it by being quicker at times,” Perreault said. “It’s good to have a defenseman that’s 6-foot-2, 6-foot-3 next to you, just in case.

“I am more a physical type of player. I don’t get as many shots, but I am back (in the defensive zone) getting in the dirty areas and in the corners.”

Belleau said he appreciates that Perreault is a battler, aggressive and hard-working.

Melvin, meanwhile, could be considered ‘Perreault, the stretched version.’

“I am kinda like the enforcer, but not really as much as Perreault,” Melvin said. “I can play both ways, I try to use the body a lot, to keep the other players off their game.”

Being physical is nothing new to Melvin, who is on the football team.

Emerson ‘s two older brothers, John and Will, both were goalies for rival St. Dom’s. But Eddie shied away from the cage.

“I tried the goalie thing, it wasn’t really my thing,” Emerson said. “I didn’t like stopping pucks back there and it got pretty boring out on the ice. I felt like you are more involved in the game and keeping the puck away from the goalie is pretty fun too.”

Emerson moves the puck, and is adept at getting it through to the team’s group of skilled forwards.

While the five blueliners will switch pairings during the game, Frechette is the one defenseman that doesn’t have a true “defensive partner.”

“It’s really everyone during the game,” Frechette stated. “Usually I will be with Ethan or Eddie.”

He and Bolduc are also considered to be the offensive guys of the group.

“I am pretty offensive, I can shoot the puck, I can skate pretty fast,” Frechette said.

And while Bolduc may be known more as an offensive defenseman, he knows he still needs to protect his own end.

“I can play both ends of the ice pretty good,” Bolduc said. “I think I bring the offensive aspect to the game as well as a defensive aspect.”

Both said Belleau gives them the free reign to rush the puck when they see the opportunity to join the offense.

“If I see there’s open ice and I can move up in the play I will try to,” Bolduc said.

For the past two seasons, the group has played together at the varsity level, but their journey together started before they entered high school.

“We have been playing together since we were four years old,” Perreault said.

“We have know each other for a while, growing up we were all friends and being on hockey teams together brought us really closer,” Melvin added.

“That kind of goes with the tradition, those guys were playing together at a young age, their goal is to play varsity hockey at Lewiston,” Belleau said. “They have accomplished that goal. Now its about execution and how far they can get into the playoffs.”

With the experience of playing in last year’s Class A state final, where they lost 4-0, the Devils would love another opportunity to win the school’s first crown since 2002.

“A lot of us has been playing with each other since we were four years old when were learning how to skate,”  Bolduc said. “Now we are trying to put all the pieces together to win a state championship.”

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