Lewiston High School head hockey coach Jamie Belleau runs practice at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston on Wednesday. (Sun Journal File Photo)

Scarborough, with its venerable coach and stymieing defensive system, couldn’t do it. Neither could Falmouth, complete with a cast of skilled offensive players and a stellar goalie.

Now it is Biddeford’s chance to try and stop Lewiston from winning a Class A boys’ hockey state championship.

If the Tigers are to do so, though, they will have to do it using a different path to get there.

The Red Storm, defending Class A state champions at the time in 2015-16, played the Blue Devils to a pair of ties during the regular season. And last year the Yachtsmen went 1-1 against Lewiston before the title game served as a rubber match.

Biddeford, however, lost both regular-season meetings to the Blue Devils this year.

“A lot of people probably would call us underdogs,” Biddeford coach Jason Tremblay said. “They’re a good team, but so are we, and we’re going up to win. We’re not satisfied with just hanging our hats that we made it to the state final, that’s for sure.”

The Tigers (15-6) are worthy state finalists. Of their six regular-season losses, two came to Lewiston, two more to Class A South top seed Cheverus, and one each to Class A North runner-up St. Dominic Academy and Class B South champ and top seed Greely.

Two regular-season victories against Falmouth, as well as overtime wins over the Yachtsmen and the Stags in the regional semifinals and final, respectively, solidify that resume.

The Tigers boasted an offense during the regular season that scored just a tick under four goals per game (71 in 18 games). In the postseason, that ballooned to six, five and six in each of the regional rounds. The defense, meanwhile, backstopped by senior goalie Owen Sullivan, surrendered just over 2.6 goals per game (47 in 18 games). In their 12 wins, the Tigers gave up just 19 total goals, including two shutouts.

The Blue Devils (18-2) scored nearly five goals per game, losing only to the South’s top two seeds, Cheverus and Falmouth. The defense pitched three shutouts, and allowed an average of 1.5 goals against per game during the regular season.

“When you look at their offense, they really generate a lot of offense. Watching them the other night against St. Dom’s, they’re just relentless, and St. Dom’s goalie kept them in that game,” Tremblay said. “Their ‘D’ move the puck well, and they’re good in the ‘D’ zone. They’re just an all-around very solid team, but more importantly they’re coached very well, as well.”

As well as the Blue Devils have played defense, facing the Tigers, especially with how well they’re playing on offense, will be no easy task.

“They have some skilled players up front,” Lewiston coach Jamie Belleau said. “They move the puck well through the neutral zone. They try to stretch the ice. You got to execute. You got to make sure that you’re on your toes. You got to make sure you understand your responsibilities. And if you make mistakes they’re going to make you pay. They got a good offense. Everybody saw (Tuesday) night they were able to put up (six) on a good Cheverus team with a great goalie. We’re going to have our hands full.”

Colin Petit scored the game-winner for the Tigers against Cheverus, while cousin Curtis Petit set him up. Ian Couture netted a hat trick, while Trevor Ouellette and talented freshman Nick McSorley also scored goals. And that list doesn’t even include Travis Roy Award semifinalist Colin Lavigne.

The Blue Devils’ offense is powered by dynamic junior duo Alex Robert and Sam Frechette, but senior Dustin Larochelle can always provide a spark, and any number of other players can put in a goal or two on any given night. Gunnar Wade scored in the regional final, while Cam Dionne tallied twice in the semis.

Lewiston used a two-pronged approach in goal this season, with senior Conrad Albert and junior Jacob Smith splitting time, though Albert got the starting nod in both playoff games. Belleau has stated throughout the season, however, that he and the team are comfortable with either one.

What separates the two teams the most is experience — especially in the playoffs. The Blue Devils are two-time defending state champs. Before this season the Tigers hadn’t won a playoff game since 2011. They won the state crown — defeating Waterville — in 2010.

“Obviously their experience can help them. But just listening to Coach Belleau, you know you got 13 new faces in that locker room,” Tremblay said. “We got guys, it’s their first time. But the one thing I will say about our team is I don’t think they’re fazed by it. They keep showing up, they’re a fun group to be around. … They’re loose. I went to the school today with them and hang out with them at lunch and they’re just a loose bunch. They’re excited to play, they’re not nervous, and I think that’s a good sign.”

Tremblay said the team has received words of encouragement from former star Brian Dumoulin, who now plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL. Dumoulin won state titles with the Tigers in 2007 and 2008 — with both wins coming against Lewiston.

This year’s players will be trying to earn their own memorable victory against the Blue Devils.

“People will call us underdogs, call us what you will,” Tremblay said. “We know if we play our game we’re going to be right there in the end.”

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Ian Couture, center, of Biddeford celebrates after scoring his second goal of the game to put the Tigers up 2-1 against Cheverus in Lewiston on Tuesday. (Sun Journal File Photo)St. Dom’s goalie Gaston Fuksa saves a shot by Caden Smith of Lewiston during the second period in Lewiston on Tuesday. (Sun Journal File Photo)


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