Logan Tripp of Lewiston tries to get around Evan Dutil of Greely in the second period. The Blue Devils and Rangers are the top seeds in Class A and Class B South, respectively, heading into the postseason.  Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald Buy this Photo

The Class A boys hockey coaches got what they wished for. 

Matchups week-in and week-out during the regular season were competitive, and the recurrence of rematches meant plenty of revenge. 

Now the real fun begins, with a new-look postseason tournament without regions, but plenty of intrigue. 

There was even an upset of sorts already before the playoffs technically even began, when 13th-seeded Marshwood/Traip/Sanford/Noble defeated 12th-seeded Windham/Westbrook/Bonny Eagle in the play-in game. The Knighthawks finished the regular season with just two wins, but a third in their 19th game means they’re now in the tournament. 

The Trail Blazers finished their season with a 4-15 record. 

Every team in Class A finished with at least four losses — everyone, that is, except for Lewiston, which completed the first unblemished Class A regular season in more than a decade. That earned the Blue Devils the top seed in the tournament. 

“They make up for any mistakes they make by the intensity in what they do, and the way they play,” Edward Little coach Norm Gagne said. 

Gagne’s Red Eddies were in the 12th spot in the standings at one point in the season, 1-10 and on a 10-game losing streak (after beating the Trail Blazers in the season opener). Now they’re riding a seven-game winning streak that bumped them up to the seventh spot and a home game in the preliminary round (Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., at Norway Savings Bank Arena). 

The Red Eddies’ reward: A date with two-time defending Class A South champ Biddeford, which added players from Massabesic and Old Orchard Beach this season. 

“I feel that it can go either way with this game,” Gagne said. “It’s a big game. And quite frankly, whoever wins this game is going to be a force in the playoffs, I believe that.” 

Edward Little (8-10) beat the 10th-seeded Tigers (4-11-3) twice during the recent win streak, but Gagne said he got a text message from Tigers coach Jason Tremblay after the playoff matchup was set that said, “We’re due for a bounce.” 

“I hope it’s not this year,” Gagne said. 

The winner of that matchup will take on defending Class A state champ St. Dom’s (14-4) in the quarterfinals.

The Saints are the No. 2 seed thanks to an eight-game winning streak that gave them a 14-4 record, with four of those wins coming against their potential opponents. Like the Red Eddies, the Saints’ win streak began after a loss to Lewiston. 

The Blue Devils (18-0) will draw a quarterfinal opponent from a prelim between No. 8 Bangor and No. 9 Falmouth. Lewiston swept four games combined between those two teams, which have both given the Blue Devils fits in recent years. 

The other prelims pit the Knighthawks against No. 5 Thornton Academy and No. 7 Portland/Deering hosts No. 11 Lake Region/Fryeburg/Oxford Hills. 

The Ice Cats are much improved in their second season back at the varsity ranks, going 8-9-1 during the regular season. 

They narrowly lost to the Bulldogs in their penultimate game of the regular season. 

“Well, the beginning of the season was rolling, but we have hit a few snags in the last few games,” Ice Cats coach Dave Lepage said late in the season. “We had an extremely young team last year. They are just one year older and starting to gel a little more as a team. Unfortunately, tight games against higher-ranked opponents just shows us that we have more to learn.” 

Two of those losses were to No. 3 Scarborough and No. 4 South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete. 

The Red Storm will face the winner of the Ice Cats’ prelim in the quarterfinal round, while the Red Riots draw the winner of the Knighthawks’ matchup with Thornton. 

Each of the top nine teams in the standings won at least seven games, which backs multiple Class A coaches’ assertions that there weren’t going to be any easy games in Class A this season. 

Even the Blue Devils’ undefeated run was no cake walk.   

GREELY THE TEAM TO BEAT IN CLASS B 

New year, same team with the target on its back in Class B South. 

The defending Class B state champion Greely Rangers are the top seed in B South this season after going 14-3-1 during the regular season. Two of those losses were to Lewiston and St. Dom’s, the other to an Old Town/Orono team that they have faced in the past two state finals. The tie was against Scarborough. 

Right behind in B South is second-seeded Cheverus, which dropped down from Class A and went 16-2. In the regional quarterfinals, the Stags face No. 7 York, while Greely gets the lone bye into the semifinals. 

In the other quarterfinals, No. 3 Yarmouth draws No. 6 Cape Elizabeth, and No. 4 Gorham faces No. 5 Brunswick. 

The fourth-seeded Rams went 9-7-2 during the regular season, including 1-0-1 against the Dragons. If they can slay those Dragons they then get the task of trying to end Greely’s regional run. The Rangers won both regular-season meetings, but both were close games (4-1 and 2-0) in February. 

In the North, Hampden Academy earned the top seed after an impressive 13-1-4 campaign. The two-time defending regional champ Black Bears of Old Town/Orono are the second seed. 


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