LEWISTON — C.J. Maksut was in the middle of the action all night. And he was there when it counted.

Maksut tipped in a Sam Canales slap shot after 6:33 of the second overtime to give Thornton Academy the Class A hockey state championship Saturday night, beating Lewiston 4-3 before a rocking, standing-room-only crowd of 4,000 at the Colisee.

Thornton (17-5) was playing in its first state title game. Lewiston (17-2-2), looking for its 21st championship but first since 2002, instead lost a final for the fifth straight time.

Jon Pate, Canales and Andrew Carignan also scored for Thornton. Sam Cloutier, Matt Therrien and Desmond Gagne answered for Lewiston.

Thornton goalie Jay Finch made 35 saves, including a come-from-nowhere sliding pad stop early in the second overtime when it looked like the Blue Devils had an open net.

Cam Poussard had 26 saves for Lewiston.

The Blue Devils seemed to be taking charge late, but the Trojans countered often.

Late in the second overtime, Lewiston tried to clear the puck. Canales kept it inside the blue line.

“It hit off the boards and I threw it on net. C.J. was right there like he usually is,” Canales said.

Maksut was in the slot and redirected it into the net

“Great play by Canales,” Maksut said. “I got my stick on it. It was an unbelievable feeling to see it go in.”

But not a complete surprise, considering Maksut has been the catalyst for the Trojans all season and created most of the chances Saturday night.

“Before the second overtime, I whispered in his ear that players like you live for these moments,” Thornton Coach Shawn Rousseau said. “He’s a big-time player.”

As the Trojans danced about the ice, the Blue Devils filed out, again one of the state’s top teams but not the champion.

“They scored, we scored. It was a heck of a game,” Lewiston Coach Jamie Belleau said. “The teams didn’t quit. (In overtime), somebody had to score sooner or later.”

Thornton took the lead three other times, but Lewiston responded each time. All the regulation scoring came in the second period.

The Blue Devils began the second period on a power play. Thornton got the puck out of the zone and looked to be changing lines when Canales dumped the puck into the Lewiston zone.

Pate sprinted into the zone. The puck bounced hard off the boards to him, and he swatted it in at 1:41 for a 1-0 Trojans lead.

Cloutier skated past three Thornton players and tied it at 3:49.

Maksut then raced in, took a loose puck and passed to Canales, who buried it at 5:47 for a 2-1 lead. Therrien scored at 9:02, tying it again.

Thornton took the lead for a third time when Pate slid a pass to Carignan at the back door. He scored at 12:07. But six seconds later, Lewiston tied it. The Blue Devils won the faceoff and Gagne skated to the top of the right circle, where he sent a shot over Finch’s glove at 13:13.

The Blue Devils outshot Thornton 12-7 in the third period, but Finch made stellar stops. Yet was none was better than the one in the second overtime. Ben Wigant’s one-timer at the back door looked certain to go in until Finch burst over and blocked it.

“I saw the blue jersey coming in so I had an idea of what they were trying,” Finch said. “I was able to get there in time.”

Rousseau was appreciative: “Unbelievable. C.J. Maksut does not get the opportunity (to win the game) without that.” 

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or: [email protected]