LEWISTON — It may not have been a state championship game, but it sure felt like it. 

St. Dominic Academy will get its chance to play for one, however, after knocking off crosstown rival Lewiston, 5-3, in the Eastern A final on Tuesday in front of more than a 3,000 split crowd at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee. 

The top-seeded Saints (18-2-1) broke a 2-2 tie with three goals in the third period, punctuated with Austin Roy’s empty-netter with a minute left to send St. Dom’s back to the state title game for the second straight season and the third time in four years. The Saints will play Western A champion Scarborough on Saturday at 6 p.m.  at the Colisee.

“It feels great to have that opportunity to get back,” St. Dom’s coach Steve Ouellette said. “They’ve been working hard. They’ve been focused and we’ve had to use all 24 guys at key points in the season one way or the other. It’s going to be a great opportunity for them.” 

Dillon Pratt scored his second of the night for the Saints just 14 seconds into the third period on a shot through a screen to give his team a 3-2 lead. 

“It was great,” Pratt said. “Just trying to help out the team as much I can and luckily I put in two goals.” 

The lead would stick as Isaac Lapointe made it 4-2 at 4:27, knocking in a puck on the doorstep. Lewiston goaltender Jacob Strout stoned Matt Chasse and Gavin Bates in front, but Chasse’s shot got behind the Blue Devils netminder and Lapointe got enough of his stick on it to push it across the goal line. 

Jeromey Rancourt pulled second-seeded Lewiston (14-6-1) within one with 8:14 remaining, crashing the net on a shot by Brendon Croteau from the left side. The puck came out to Rancourt to the left of St. Dom’s goaltender Kyle Welsh, and he fought off a defender to light the lamp while falling to the ice.

The Blue Devils pulled Strout with 1:20 to go looking for the equalizer to keep their season afloat. But a turnover at center ice gave Roy a chance to bury the empty-netter and send the Saints to the state title game. 

St. Dom’s struck first, although it was short-lived. Pratt got the Saints on the board, swatting a puck out of midair and past Strout at 5:21 of the first period. Brad Berube had the initial shot that hit off traffic in front, allowing Pratt to bat it out of the air. 

“It was nice to see Dillon get his two having been injured so much in the year,” Ouellette said. “The kid can certainly be a first-line player on any team and well-deserved for that type of recognition, but unfortunately his year was cut a little short. It’s nice to have him involved in such a big game and have such big moments.” 

The lead was short-lived. The Blue Devils responded 13 seconds later. They won the ensuing faceoff at center ice and moved into the offensive zone. Alex Rivet moved the puck up to Kyle Morin, who found Joe Bisson along the left wing. Bisson skated in on net and slid a shot under the pads of Welsh to tie the game. 

“They’ve been doing that most of the year,” Lewiston coach Jamie Belleau said. “They seem to respond well. You try to prepare them as much as you can, but they knew what the atmosphere was going to be like and they knew they really didn’t have anything to lose. They knew the type of team they were playing. They knew they had to play their best game. You really have to applaud them.” 

The Saints reclaimed the lead a little over three minutes later when Adam Poulin scored off a rebound in front at 8:58. Noah Toussaint fired a shot from the high slot that kicked off Strout’s leg pad and right on the stick of Poulin, who gave the Saints a 2-1 advantage after one period. 

The Blue Devils had five of the game’s first six power play opportunities. After failing on their first four chances, they made good on the fifth. Following a tripping call to St. Dom’s Matt Chasse, Lewiston knotted the game for a second time and it was Bisson doing the honors, deflecting a Cole Ouellette shot from the left circle for his second of the night. 

“It was the first time I’ve played in front of a big crowd,” Bisson said. “It was very exciting and I was very anxious to get out there. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. My great teammates Alex Rivet and Kyle Morin. They gave me the support I need and I put it away.” 

Welsh finished with 35 saves, his biggest coming with 5:48 remaining when he stonewalled a breakaway opportunity from Rancourt to keep St. Dom’s in front. 

On the other end, Strout finished with 32 saves. 

While it wasn’t the outcome the Blue Devils were hoping for, it was the performance the coaching staff was looking for. There may not be a 21st championship coming to Lewiston this season, but Belleau said there’s plenty of positives when reflecting on the year. 

“We have a lot we can be proud of, a lot we can build on,” Belleau said. “But the reality is when you’re playing at Lewiston, when you’re coaching at Lewiston, unless you win you come up short, but that’s not to lose sight of what these kids have done. We certainly have a lot of positives things we accomplished and a lot of positive things we can build on going into the future.” 

The Saints finished 2-0-1 against the Blue Devils this season. 

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