FALMOUTH — The second meeting between last year’s Class A boys’ hockey state finalists was much more defensive than the first go-round this season.

A month after Lewiston and Falmouth combined for nine goals, the Yachtsmen scored the same amount again — but with a different outcome — in a 4-1 victory at Family Ice Center.

“Defense wins championships, right?” Falmouth coach Deron Barton said. “You got to commit to it. We hadn’t been commiting to it early in the season. It was spotty, hit-or-miss. A commitment like that against a team like that is what we’re going to need every night.”

Alex Robert had a prime chance for the Blue Devils (12-2) 35 seconds in, but his shot on a counter attack slid through the crease. Falmouth freshman goalie Sam Kidder denied another chance, stopping a left-to-right-post pass from Gunnar Wade to Chad Lynch three minutes in.

Despite those chances, Lewiston was held to just one first-period shot on goal — a rip from outside the blue line with less than 10 seconds remaining in the frame.

“I thought they were taking the middle away and I thought we didn’t have as much poise with the puck, didn’t have as much urgency, and then we weren’t making smart decisions,” Lewiston coach Jamie Belleau said.

The Yachtsmen (9-5-1) found on-target shots more easy to come by, but Blue Devils goalie Jacob Smith stopped the first five shots he saw. The sixth came on a Falmouth power play, and Theo Hembre didn’t miss from the right circle, putting Falmouth up 1-0 with just over three minutes left in the first. Fellow seniors Brendan Hickey and Marcus Cady provided the assists.

The Blue Devils were able to find more offense in the second, and they also scored with the man-advantage. Robert set up Sam Frechette for an open shot on the weak side near the left post 5:45 into the middle frame to tie the game 1-1.

The Falmouth trio of Hembre, Hickey and Cady gave its team the lead back with exactly three minutes left on the clock in the second. Shortly after killing off a penalty, Hembre ripped a shot from the slot that Smith was able to save, but Hickey first got control of the rebound before Cady finally finished at the left post.

“They ended up scoring that goal and took the momentum away,” Belleau said.

The Yachtsmen were able to put the game away in the third, despite being out-shot by the desperate Blue Devils. Hembre scored his second goal of the game seven minutes in by shrugging off a defender on a counter, then he completed a hat trick with 43.7 seconds left with a shorthanded, empty-net goal. Hickey assisted on both goals.

“We’re fortunate enough to have some players that know how to put it in the net, and he’s one of them,” Barton said.

Kidder faced 10 shots in the third after seeing a combined six through two periods. He finished with 15 saves.

“He’s such a competitor, for a young player. He’s playing with maturity of an upperclassmen right now, and that’s what we need,” Barton said. “He’s given us a chance to win.”

Smith stopped 20 of 23 shots for the Blue Devils, who lost to Falmouth during the regular season in each of the last two years before going on to win the state championship.

“We’ve got to string three good periods together, and against good teams,” Belleau said. “The worst thing you can do is panic. The best thing you can do is learn from it.”

[email protected]