Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland’s Nicoletta Coupe and Lewiston’s Brie Dube scuffle for control of the puck during Saturday’s state championship in Lewiston. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

LEWISTON — Seven goals.

Seven goals is the total amount of goals Lewiston allowed in the 2019-20 girls hockey season.

The Blue Devils’ defense and the penalty kill took center stage in the biggest game of the year, the championship against Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland, which Lewiston won 1-0 in overtime at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Saturday.

While the offense scored an impressive 113 goals in the 20 games leading up to the state game, the Blue Devils are defensive by nature.

“I haven’t talked about that too much. People get confused because we only play two forwards and three (of) what we call backs, a two-three system,” Lewiston coach Ron Dumont said. “They are technically defensemen and they jump in (offensively) and whatever. “(Goalie) Camree (St. Hilaire), she showed what she’s all about — I think we (faced) 20 shots, the most of the year, and there were some heavy ones in there and some tricky ones.

“Yes, defense wins championships, the backs or the defensemen did a heck of a job. Cam of course, she kind of sealed the deal.”

Dumont said that all of Lewiston’s blue line — Lilly Gish, Charlotte Cloutier, Ava Geoffroy, Nadia Roy, Paige Pomerleau, Kristen Lachance and Bri Dube — did their jobs.

The key was that defensive unit was doing everything as a unit.

“We work together (well) and we passed (well),” Lachance, a sophomore, said. “I think we worked hard to get the victory.”

The Blue Devils made sure the Capers didn’t get many rebound opportunities.

“We weren’t quite able to get to the rebounds as fast as we like to,” Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland coach Bob Mills said. “Their defense moved the puck really well east-to-west. They were composed breaking out of the zone, so we were chasing a bit.”

While the defenders did their job when it was 5-on-5, they were even stronger when they were down a player and the penalty kill unit stepped onto the ice, which happened five times Saturday.

“I think Lewiston played their best their best hockey when they were shorthanded,” Mills said. “They were very aggressive, putting us on the back of our heels. They didn’t allow us time to set up in the (offensive) zone and do what we were hoping to do.”

Some of the Blue Devils’ penalty killers are among the teams’ core players — including Gemma Landry, Leah Landry and Leah Dube — but Madison Conley may be the unsung hero of the group.

She helped keep the Capers off-balance by not allowing the them to set up.

“I mention Conley, because even though she may not have the stick skills maybe of the other three, she has that outright speed,” Dumont said. “That’s where we are successful, where kids understand their roles and they are willing to accept it. I said, ‘On the penalty kill, all I want you to do is get down there and, like I said, put pressure (on).’ She can beat about anybody and be right on top of them.”

When they are down a player on the penalty kill, the Blue Devils actually feel they are in their element because they are adept at scoring shorthanded goals, which they did often this season.

“Our team, we get a lot of (shorthanded goals),” Conley said. “That’s one thing that’s really cool about our system, and I think that helps us a lot with our (penalty kill). It helps us work together.”

St. Hilaire, the Blue Devils’ last line of defense, said she is grateful for the defenders and the penalty kill.

“They clear bodies out of the way, and if I (allow) a rebound, they do their best getting it out, which they did (today),” St. Hilaire said.


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