Believe it, Blue Devils. 

Even after the Lewiston boys and girls hockey teams did something that had never been done before in Maine high school hockey — both programs winning state championships with undefeated records — some of those involved still can’t help but call the feat “unbelievable.” 

Lewiston girls coach Ron Dumont called it “remarkable,” and pointed out that “a lot of stuff has to kind of fall into place.”

Blue Devils boys coach Jamie Belleau, whose team completed the dual titles last Saturday, used the term “impressive.” 

“I think to show how rarely this happens, just look at the last time a high school team from the boys side did it. It was 12 years ago. And prior to that I don’t even know when the last time it occurred,” Belleau said. “So when you have the boys do it, and then on top of that have the girls, it’s quite impressive.”

The two Lewiston teams finished the 2019-20 season with a combined record of 40-0-1.

BUT FIRST, HEARTBREAK 

Both Blue Devils teams were on the path to perfect seasons last year, with the girls going unblemished all the way to the state championship game.

The boys’ unbeaten start ended at 13-0 with a loss to Thornton Academy on the same day the girls completed their undefeated 18-0 regular season.

The girls team’s dream season ended in disappointing fashion, with a loss to Cheverus/Kennebunk/Old Orchard Beach in the state final. Then a few weeks later, the boys, looking to reach their fourth straight state title game, lost to rival St. Dom’s in the regional final. 

“Coming off of St. Dom’s (state title) win, that was in our back of our mind all year,” Lewiston senior captain Ryan Pomerleau said. “We wanted to get a little redemption there, and we used it as motivation to win this (year).”  

HAVE TO START SOMEWHERE 

In Lewiston, “we set the bar pretty high” in hockey, said the school’s athletic director Jason Fuller. 

“We always want to win a state championship, so I think that’s the goal from day one,” Fuller added. 

Belleau said he tries to set an expectation with his team on the first day of the season. Not necessarily that it’s state championship or bust, but that it’s an honor to play at Lewiston and it can be very rewarding.

Lewiston goalie Keegan McLaughlin denies a shot by Scarborough’s Samuel Rumelhart during the second overtime of the Class A championship game in Lewiston on Saturday, March 7, 2020. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“But it takes a lot of work,” Belleau said he tells his teams. 

So on Nov. 4 for the girls and Nov. 18 for the boys, the Blue Devils got to work, both teams still not over how their previous seasons ended. 

“I thought from day one there was a focus on both the boys’ and the girls’ side,” Fuller said. 

Pomerleau said the girls team, which included his sophomore sister Paige, “knew they had a good team” at the start of the season, but it took the boys team four or five games to gain complete confidence to know they could go all the way.  

SPECIAL SUPPORT SYSTEM 

The Lewiston boys had to follow the girls all season. In some cases, literally. The girls team normally practiced first at Androscoggin Bank Colisee, then after the ice was cleaned the boys would take the ice. 

“I know many of the boys would go to the rink early because they knew that the girls were practicing,” Belleau said. 

Dumont said the two teams were closer than they have ever been in his dozen years leading the girls program. Belleau called this year’s teams “uniquely close.” 

“Obviously (the boys are) there because they’re going to practice next, but they’re actually in the stands, and I think that brings that closeness,” Dumont said. 

That family ties helped connect the two teams and bring them together.

Besides the Pomerleaus, there were boys junior goalie Keegan McLaughlin and girls freshman defender Kim McLaughlin; sisters Camree and Bailee St. Hilaire had cousins Drew, Daxton and Cooper on the boys team; and on the girls team alone there were three sets of sisters — the St. Hilaires, Brie and Leah Dube, and Adrianna and Nadia Roy — which is something that Dumont said he’s never had in his coaching career. 

The players were close off the ice as well, with shared peer groups, according to both Belleau and Dumont, so being the other team’s biggest fans was easy.

Lewiston’s Paige Pomerleau keeps an eye on the puck while Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland’s Josie Boeschenstein and Bella Schifano attempt to gain control during the girls hockey state championship in Lewiston on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“I certainly found it really touching to watch the support that each program had for each other throughout the course of the season,” Belleau said. 

“Whether it’s spoken or not, there’s undoubtedly the fact that we all bleed blue and we’re looking out for each other, we want the best for our programs,” Belleau said. 

The boys were fortunate enough to play their entire postseason run at the Colisee, but the girls had to travel down to Portland to play the North regional final, rather than in Lewiston, as in years past. 

The boys convinced Belleau to let them out of practice early so they could be in the stands in Portland cheer the girls on, according to Fuller, because they were adamant about attending all of the girls’ playoff games. 

“The whole team went down and supported them down there, and it was really cool,” Pomerleau said. 

“I can’t say enough about the boys team,” Dumont said. “They were great to the girls, and I’m sure they would probably say the same.”

CHAMPIONSHIP CHEER 

The girls’ reward for winning a regional title, besides the obvious state final berth, was playing for a title back home at the Colisee. 

The seats in the arena are blue, which matched the boys team decked out in the girls’ blue road uniforms while the girls wore white en route to winning the title. 

Three weeks later, the girls team returned the favor by wearing the boys’ blue jerseys. 

“There was a unique bond between the two groups, and whether or not that had anything to do with them doing what they did on the ice, in terms of their records, certainly the school support and the support for each other’s programs was well-shown,” Belleau said. 

The cherry on top of the dual titles being won was when, after the boys team posed for their obligatory celebration photo, they waved the girls team on the ice to join them.

The Lewiston boys and girls hockey teams gather for a photo after the boys won the Class A state championship earlier this month at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston. The school’s teams both won state championships this winter without losing a single game. Submitted photo

“What I like is, you know, it’s the boys’ time to do their thing on the ice and they made it a point of wanting the girls out there with them. And I think that speaks volumes of the camaraderie between the two programs of how much they cared about each other,” Fuller said. “But the boys were adamant: they want the girls out there for that group picture because they want to be able to share it with them.

“The only regret I had is I wish I would have had the girls’ state championship trophy with me when we did that picture. You know, I think it would have been cool to have both of them there.” 

“It was awesome,” Pomerleau said. “You know, both teams worked hard all year and supported each other all year, and to finally get a picture with us, we got rewarded. It was very cool.” 

Dumont said the photo is one he’s going to save for a long time because, he said, “how often are you going to see that?” 

PRESSURE AND PRIDE 

Both teams began the season wanting to win state titles, and while both were plenty motivated, but they also dealt with pressure to win, Camree St. Hilaire admitted in the days leading up to the girls’ state championship game. 

“There is a lot of pressure in Lewiston as a hockey player,” Fuller said. “The expectations are great, and whether it’s from immediate family to generations later, you know what I mean, there’s some pressure there to be successful, and I think that’s really hard. The expectations certainly weigh on you as the season goes on.” 

Fuller said the players’ ability to handle that pressure “speaks to the commitment and dedication and the mental toughness of each of the kids.” 

That pressure comes from the pride in hockey that exists in Lewiston. 

“Lewiston’s hockey programs have been reputable for many years,” Belleau said. 

Dumont knows that well. He played for the Blue Devils during the heydays of the 1970s — a decade in which the Lewiston boys program claimed four state championships.

“And there was many teams before that did very well,” Dumont said. 

Lewiston’s Gemma Landry, Brie Dube and Camree St. Hilaire rush to their fans with their newly won state championship trophy on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020, in Lewiston. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

The girls team wanted to be part of that history, and build on their own, which included wins in the inaugural girls state championship game in 2009 and again in 2015. The following year, the boys won the first of three straight titles, then added No. 24 this season. 

“It’s going to be tough catching up,” Dumont said. “I’m not going to be the guy responsible for catching up with the boys, with all the titles they have.” 

The girls did add title No. 3 this season to equal Greely and St. Dom’s for the most in the short history of varsity girls hockey being sponsored by the Maine Principals’ Association. 

But the girls were hungry to add to their own haul, according to Dumont, to match what the boys have done in recent years. And disappointing losses in the previous two postseasons was part of that hunger. 

“I was telling the girls before our final, I said, ‘You know, we missed an opportunity last year,'” Dumont said. “But I said, look at that banner up there girls, when we’re done here, who knows, a lot of kids that grow up in this community stay in this community, some day you may bring your babies, your daughters, even your sons, and say, ‘Mama played on that team.’ And I think that’s a neat thing for the community, and for people growing up in this community and then raising their own kids.”  

Lewiston’s Leah Dube is crushed in jubilation between teammates Bailee St. Hilaire and Leah Landry after scoring the winning goal of the state championship game in Lewiston on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

COMPLETING THE TASK 

The girls had to win a title first to start the rare double-championship. Unlike last year, when the girls were 20-0 heading into the state final, this year’s Blue Devils (20-0-1) finished their regular season with a tie against Scarborough, which the players admitted refocused them for the playoff run.

Lewiston won its first two playoff games by identical 5-0 scores, first against Yarmouth/Falmouth in the semifinals and then Edward Little/Leavitt/Poland in the North regional final.

Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland, which ousted Scarborough in the South final, proved to be a worthy title game foe by holding the high-scoring Blue Devils scoreless until Leah Dube scored in overtime to secure the state championship.

This year’s Lewiston boys (21-0) didn’t have even a tie during their season. They won every game leading up to the state final by at least two goals, so any adversity they faced rarely happened late in any of their 45-minute games. 

Belleau made sure his team was laser-focused going into every contest by reminding the players that “every team wants to beat us … and we’re going to get every team’s best game.” 

Kurtis Pelletier reacts after scoring a goal for Lewiston in the first period of the Class A state championship game against Lewiston on Saturday, March 7, 2020. Pelletier scored his second goal of the game in the second overtime to lift the Blue Devis to a 2-1 win. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

It wasn’t until the state final against Scarborough that it looked like a team’s best game might be good enough, as the Red Storm took the Blue Devils to overtime, and then double-overtime.

And that made Dumont, as a spectatorthat day, sweat. 

“After what we went through a year ago, and we were undefeated — obviously we had the tie (this year) — but you certainly don’t want a repeat of that, and there I am watching the boys, I’m like, ‘Ugh, don’t do this to these poor kids,’ because we knew how it felt, and they go into overtime,” Dumont said. “I said, ‘Oh, god, please,’ and good for them, they did a great job and they got that goal to win it, so I think that’s awesome.” 

As Leah Dube had done for the girls three weeks earlier, Kurtis Pelletier came up clutch for the Lewiston boys, scoring the game-winning goal in double overtime to make the Blue Devils state champions with a 2-1 victory.

The win was especially memorable for the Pomerleau family. 

“(Paige and I) talked about it, and when both teams are going, having great years, and just say how cool it would be (to both win titles),” Pomerleau said, “and we finally got to do it.” 

“It’s awesome,” Pomerleau added. “She won it a couple weeks ago. She put the pressure on me to win it, a little bit. And my brother (Reid) winning one his senior year also. And we’re all friends, from girls and boys team, and it’s really cool to win it with them same year.”

The Lewiston boys ice hockey team celebrates after its Class A State championship win over Scarborough on Saturday at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Saturday, March 7, 2020. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

MORE TO COME? 

If everything had fallen into place, as Dumont said, the past two years, maybe Lewiston could have won twin titles already, perfect or not. 

Perfect seasons are difficult to predict, but Belleau and Dumont both don’t see their programs dropping off the talent cliff after this season. 

“I think any time you have numbers, and any time you get more kids involved at the JV level, it bodes well for the future of the program,” said Belleau, whose team’s freshman numbers were in double-digits this season. “So I think, I feel pretty good if we don’t lose kids to juniors or prep schools, that our program will be strong next year, and it will be strong the year after that.” 

“I think we’re still going to have a really good team,” Dumont said. “Obviously, you got to replace Cam (in goal), who’s a senior, and we’re in the works of getting that done, but the core group is all going to be here. And I’m not quite sure who’s coming in, but the long and short is we can still be very competitive.” 

Lewiston fans congratulate the Blue Devils’ girls hockey team after they won the state championship in Lewiston on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Even if both Blue Devil teams do repeat, this year will always be special to Fuller, who is a Lewiston lifer. 

“I’ve always wanted to say the boys and girls won together, but to do it and be undefeated is remarkable,” Fuller said. “It is truly an outstanding accomplishment, and I feel lucky as an AD to be part of it. And a small part, but it’s still special to be part of something that doesn’t happen a lot, in any sport.” 

 


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