LEWISTON — The Waterville High hockey team won’t repeat as Eastern Class A champion, but it didn’t go down easily.
Colt Steele scored on a penalty shot with 3:46 left in the third period to lift top-seeded Lewiston past No. 4 Waterville 3-1 in a regional semifinal Saturday night at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
Lewiston (16-1-2) will play No. 2 St. Dominic (14-4-2) in the regional final Tuesday night at the Colisee.
No. 4 Waterville, which lost to Lewiston for the fourth time this season, finished 9-10-1.
The Blue Devils were awarded a penalty shot when Purple Panthers forward JT Whitten was called for covering the puck in the crease.
Waterville goalie Cody Thibodeau came out to challenge Steele on the penalty shot, but Steele faked to his left and tucked the puck into the net on his backhand.
Jon McDonough and Sam Cloutier also scored for the Blue Devils, who are seeking their first state title since 2002.
Tim Locke scored a short-handed goal for Waterville, the two-time defending regional champion, and Thibodeau stopped 34 shots.
Lewiston goalie Cam Poussard, who stopped six shots, improved to 54-15-5 in his career.
Lewiston trailed 1-0 after the first period but pulled even 4:23 into the second on a power-play goal by McDonough, a senior foward. Kyle Lemelin won a faceoff in the offensive zone and Brandon Tiner fired a shot from the high slot. McDonough then redirected the puck between Thibodeau’s pads.
Lewiston carried the play for long stretches in the second period, outshooting Waterville 13-1.
In their previous meeting – the regular-season finale at Waterville – the Panthers jumped all over the Blue Devils early but couldn’t push the puck past Poussard, and the teams were scoreless after one period.
On Saturday, the Panthers again pounced on the Blue Devils, but this time they were able to convert.
Lewiston went on the power play just a minute into the game, but Locke put the Panthers up 1-0 with a short-handed goal, thanks to strong forechecking. Kyle Bishop got tied up with a Lewiston defender in the corner but was able to send the puck out front to Locke, who roofed a shot over Poussard for a 1-0 Waterville lead just 1:21 into the game.
The Panthers clogged up the neutral zone early to throw Lewiston off its game a bit and keep it scoreless through one period. Thibodeau was tested a few times but made several big saves in the period.
Bill Stewart — 623-3811, ext. 515