Hunter Hughes, left, Noah Pratt, Gaston Fuksa and Lucas Pushard of St. Dominic Academy head towards the Saints student section with the Class A state hockey championship trophy after the Saints beat Biddeford High School 4-2 in Lewiston on Saturday. (Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover)

 

LEWISTON — Party like it’s 2000, the St. Dominic Academy boys hockey team is the state champion again.

The Saints never trailed, they led for most of the game, but they had to hang on at the end to hold off Biddeford for a 4-2 victory in the Class A state final at Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Saturday.

The championship is the Saints’ 26th, but its first in 19 years.

Jacques Ouellette scored an empty-net goal to make St. Dom’s lead 4-2 with 55.5 seconds left in the game, but it wasn’t enough for the Saints to feel comfortable. The Tigers ended the game with a 6-on-3 advantage, thanks to Biddeford pulling goalie Justin Larnerd and two penalties on St. Dom’s.

But Saints goalie Gaston Fuksa made the saves to keep the Tigers away and send St. Dom’s and its fans into a long-awaited celebration.

“We wanted to play strong defense,” Ouellette said. “We’ve been there before. We had the Lewiston (regional final) game previously, so we knew what we wanted to do, and wanted to get the puck out.”

Ouellette’s game-sealing goal was his first of the season, and it came at the perfect time for the senior.

“I can’t believe it. I still think it’s a dream right now,” he said.

Dominic Chasse gave the Saints (16-4-1) an early lead, finishing a feed from Will Fletcher by redirecting it over Larnerd seven minutes into the game.

“I knew that the goalie was going to poke check because I’ve watched the games before, and he’s an aggressive goalie. So I saw the gap between the (goalie’s) stick, and I knew Will was going to put it there,” Chasse said. “He’s a great hockey player, so I just hoped it was going to go over, and I chipped it over him.”

“It took the weight off our shoulders, and it was a huge goal,” Chasse added.

Relieving as that goal was, there still was a lot of game left to play.

“Playing ahead is great, but it’s a long game, we have to continue playing until the last few seconds, and then some,” St. Dom’s coach Bob Parker said.

The Saints held the Tigers (15-7) to only two shots on goal in the first period. But Biddeford coach Jason Tremblay said his team started to pin the Saints late in the frame. The Tigers had a better start to the second, and they tied the game just before the midway point when Trenton Ouellette scored unassisted seconds after a Biddeford power play ran out.

Lucas Pushard gave St. Dom’s the lead back 62 seconds later on a Saints power play, taking a feed from Ouellette and firing it off a Biddeford defender and into the goal.

St. Dom’s Leo Naous then made it a 3-1 game with 64 seconds left in the period, finishing a pass from Chasse after catching the Tigers in a line change.

“All I had to do was pass it to him, and he put it in,” Chasse said.

Parker said Naous — the lone freshman on the team — had an objective of getting to the crease and being ready for a pass, and that’s just what he did.

“Anytime you get a lead and you start padding, then you can start making some decisions on defense and the middle of the ice, and we made a few changes, and it helped out,” Parker said.

The Tigers tested that St. Dom’s defense in the third, and they broke through again with 8:03 left with a power-play goal scored by Trevor Ouellette off an assist from Nick Reissfelder to cut the deficit back to one.

But that was as close as the Tigers got.

“I think we had like 10 shots in the last eight minutes, and it is what it is,” Tremblay said.

Fuksa had his work cut out for him in the third, but he stopped 14 of 15 shots in the frame, and 28 of 30 for the game. Larnerd made 22 saves for Biddeford.

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St. Dominic Academy is the Class A state hockey champions after beating Biddeford 4-2. (Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover)

Ryan Davis, left, and Jacques Ouellette of St. Dominic Academy celebrate their Class A state championship in Lewiston on Saturday. (Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover)

Jeremy Phelan of St. Dominic gets checked during Saturday’s state championship game against Biddeford. (Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover)

St. Dominic sophomore Dominic Chasse fires a shot on goal during the first period against Biddeford on Saturday. (Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover)

St. Dominic Academy goalie Gaston Fuksa makes a third period save against Biddeford on Saturday. (Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover)

St. Dominic Academy goalie Gaston Fuksa skates over to the Saints’ student section after his teammate Jacques Ouellette scored an empty netter to put the Saints up 4-2. (Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover)

St. Dominic freshman Leondro Naous scores to put the Saints up 3-1. Dominic Chasse, left, had the assist. (Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover)

St. Dominic Academy seniors Ryan Davis and Gaston Fuksa celebrate their Class A state hockey championship on Saturday. (Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover)

St. Dominic Academy senior Dan Malkowski cheers on the Saints on Saturday. (Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover)

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