If there are two teams in the state that know that success against a certain opponent in the regular season doesn’t automatically mean success against it during the playoffs, it’s Lewiston and Leavitt/Edward Little/Poland. 

Last season, the Red Hornets topped Lewiston in both regular-season games as well as the KVAC Championship before falling to the Blue Devils in the Eastern Maine final. 

This year, the roles have been reversed. The top-seeded Blue Devils claimed both meetings during the regular season and grabbed the KVAC title in overtime over the second-seeded Red Hornets. The teams meet for a fourth time tonight in the regional final at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee. 

“You have to come prepared to play, but at the same token I don’t believe in ‘Well, you beat me twice so I can’t beat you the third, fourth or fifth time,'” Lewiston coach Ron Dumont said. “Those numbers to me mean nothing. It’s one game. You just have to come in ready to play and they’re going to be prepared.” 

The Blue Devils have been held to just one goal only twice this season. Both came in 1-0 wins against the Red Hornets, who surrender less than a goal per game. The Red Hornet defense has eight shutouts this season, the most recent one against Greely in their Eastern semifinal contest. 

“Certainly having four of the best defensemen in the state helps with that and having one of the best goaltenders in Savannah (Shaw) in net has been a key in that,” Red Hornets coach Shon Collins said, “as well as the forwards committing to backchecking hard and working as hard in the defensive zone as we do everywhere else on the ice.” 


Both goaltenders — Shaw and Lewiston’s Paige Fontaine — are coming off shutout performances. Shaw made 19 saves against Greely, while Fontaine stopped all 21 shots she saw against Yarmouth/Freeport/Gray-New Gloucester. 

With goals surely being at a premium, the first tally is critical for both teams. The Blue Devils haven’t trailed once this season and have yet to deal with the adversity of playing from behind. The Red Hornets haven’t scored a goal against Lewiston this year.

“We have to get that first goal,” Lewiston senior Erica Lemieux said. “We have to crack them right off the bat. They’re a good team.” 

Lewiston has managed five goals total against the Red Hornet defense this season. Against the rest of the state, the Blue Devils average 5.8 goals per game. Freshman Lauren DeBlois leads the Blue Devils in scoring with 37 points on 21 goals and 16 assists. Three other Lewiston skaters have accumulated at least 15 goals and 25 points. 

“We have to make sure we cover the points,” Red Hornet senior Danica Nadeau said. “Lauren DeBlois has a good shot so we make sure we try and block that. We try and make sure we don’t leave anybody open in front of the net on rebounds and that’s mostly what we do to try and stop their production.” 

As has been the case in two of the previous three meetings, one goal might be all it takes in what Dumont believes will be another defensive battle. 


“As a team we’re not going to change a whole heck of a lot, they’re not going to change,” Dumont said. “I expect a real defensive type game. They play super defense, their goalie’s been outstanding. We’re going to have to work to get our goals. At the same token we have to limit their opportunities because they have a couple kids that can put the puck in the net. I don’t expect it to be a 7-6 game. It’s going to be the details that matter on both ends.” 

The Red Hornets don’t put up the same offensive numbers as their counterpart — Leavitt/EL/Poland averages 3.9 goals per game — but they have capable goal scorers. Emma Martineau leads the team with 12 goals. Haley Frohlich has nine and Mariah Vaillancourt, who scored the game-winning goal against Greely in the semis, has eight. The Red Hornets’ offense struggled putting up goals mid way through the season — seven goals in six games between Dec. 12-Jan. 7 — but has since found their scoring touch. 

They’ve taken it one game at a time all season and tonight will be no different. 

“Every game is it’s own game and anything can happen,” Collins said. “Whatever the history is we have to go in and say this is one game, those other games, the scores don’t carry over. We start 0-0 right from the beginning and we have to go out and take care of business.” 

The bright lights and the big stage is nothing new for either team. The Red Hornets are making their third consecutive appearance in the regional final, while the Blue Devils are back for a second straight season. There are 18 upperclassmen between the two squads — nine apiece — who have been here before. They are tasked with calming the nerves of the younger players. 

“Don’t let the crowd or the whole thought of ‘if you lose you’re done’ affect your play,” Lemieux said. “Just leave it all out there and play as hard as you can.” 


Said Nadeau: “We kind of just have to tell them that even though it might be one of our last games you just have to play it like any other game and work hard.” 

The stakes are high. Either four Red Hornets or six Blue Devils will play their final high school game tonight. 

“This is the biggest game I’ve ever played in high school hockey,” Nadeau said. “First of all it’s Lewiston and second of all it’s we either win or I’m completely done with hockey for the rest of my life, most likely.” 

The winner faces the winner of Falmouth and Scarborough on Saturday. 

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. 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.