LEWISTON — There’s a reason rivals at higher levels of hockey play best-of-seven series.

Emotions swing violently. Confidence spikes and wanes accordingly. And the pipes and sticks that provide friendly bounces one night break your heart the next.

The third time was a convincing charm for Saint Dominic Academy, which saved its first victory of the winter over Lewiston High School for Saturday’s Class A East semifinal, an impressive 4-2 verdict at Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

“We had a lot of close games this year, but this time we finally got over that hump,” St. Dom’s coach Steve Ouellette said. “They played a solid three periods. They stayed consistent with our game plan. They stayed strong throughout the whole game and they deserve it.”

Brad Berube, Dillon Pratt, Chase Hainey and Caleb Labrie had the goals for St. Dom’s.

And after allowing a soft goal early in the game, St. Dom’s senior Caleb Dostie was brilliant with 30 saves.

“The defense gave me a lot of clear lanes,” Dostie said. “I’ve really got to give it to them. They cleared the (rebound) every single time.”

Dostie also got some assistance from the crossbar and pipes behind him. Lewiston shots made the telltale ping against metal at least five times.

“Not to take anything away from St. Dom’s, but sometimes the puck just doesn’t bounce the way you want it to,” Lewiston coach Jamie Belleau said. “We had several opportunities, but you can’t lose sight of the fact that St. Dom’s was playing a very good game defensively. I thought their backside pressure with their forwards was very good. Their goalie made a lot of good first saves, and they didn’t allow a lot of second chances.”

No. 3 St. Dom’s (12-7-1) will face No. 1 Bangor here at 6 p.m. Tuesday for the regional title. The Rams ousted the Saints 3-2 in double overtime in the 2013 regional semis and — see if this sounds familiar — won both of this season’s get-togethers.

Kyle Morin and Matt Poulin scored for the Blue Devils.

No. 2 Lewiston (15-5) won 6-5 in overtime here in December and 3-2 in February.

“But we (felt we) outplayed them both times,” Dostie said. “We definitely came in hopeful.”

Round three had all the earmarks of another high-scoring slugfest from the drop of the puck.

Four of the Saints’ first nine shots found a seam past Lewiston goalie Nick Hawk, chasing him from the game in favor of freshman Jacob Strout 4:08 into the second period.

St. Dom’s led 2-1 at the end of furiously paced first period, one that featured many more near-misses than the Devils’ 6-5 edge in shots on goal would indicate.

The Saints connected with their first offering only 35 seconds into the contest. Hainey’s feed from behind the net set up a lonely Berube at Hawk’s doorstep.

“That was the key. (The previous meetings) we had to weather the storm, so the first goal was huge for us,” Hainey said. “That pumped us up.”

Lewiston’s equalizer was a gift.

As Morin’s no-look service from center ice floated perilously through the St. Dom’s defensive zone, Dostie lost sight of the puck. It floated into the net at 3:46.

“I saw Morin wind up and then I never saw it after that until I looked over my shoulder,” Dostie said. “I wasn’t sure if it had gone off the glass or what. I just put it out of my mind and moved on.”

“It was one of those moments of, ‘Oh, boy, here we go again.’ He really settled in and played with some confidence and did a nice job,” Ouellette said.

Dillon Pratt retrieved the lead for the Saints, one-timing Labrie’s dish from the boards behind the net at 11:19.

The Devils narrowly missed on multiple opportunities to tie, including Kyle Lemelin’s launch just wide left of Dostie on a 2-on-1.

Berube also sacrificed his body on a penalty kill to block Lewiston’s bid from the point and preserve the lead at the horn.

Defensively, Ouellette credited the Saints’ “red line” of seniors Tyler Sirois, Cam Stewart and Mike Richard for their contribution throughout the game.

“They won a lot of battles along the boards,” Ouellette said. “They were really a productive group out there.”

Dostie made two more denials in the first minute of the second stanza to kill the rest of the short-handed time and get into a rhythm that carried him throughout.

“We cleared out the front of our net on those power plays when we needed to, and he made some big saves,” Ouellette said.

And his teammates kept piling up the goals, the next two coming in a window of 28 seconds.

Berube returned the favor for Hainey’s earlier set-up, furnishing his power-play goal at 3:40 of the second. Lewiston fought off all but the final 15 seconds before Berube dropped the puck to an open Hainey at the outer edge of the right circle.

Caleb Labrie made it 4-1 when Pratt skated along the back boards from left to right and zipped the puck to Labrie in the slot.

“We were working the puck low behind our goal line and had our chances with our guy in front and their heads and toes pointing toward the glass,” Ouellette said.

Lemelin set up Poulin’s goal with 26 seconds remaining, a bittersweet conclusion for two of Lewiston’s eight seniors.

“Everybody wants to talk about the game, but I’m more focused on my kids right now and how much they’ve meant to our program,” Belleau said. “There are a lot of quality hockey players in that room.”


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