LEWISTON – The fifth-ranked Yarmouth-Freeport girls’ hockey team saw improvement and increased confidence as the regular season progressed.
Given a third chance against fourth-ranked Lewiston, this time in the Eastern quarterfinals, Yarmouth-Freeport made good Wednesday night, shutting out the Blue Devils 2-0 at the Colisee.
Yarmouth-Freeport (8-11) advanced to the semifinals at 3 p.m. Friday against top-ranked Brunswick at Watson Arena at Bowdoin College.
Yarmouth-Freeport got goals from freshmen Emily Johnson and Michelle Robichaud, and strong goaltending from Hannah Williams, another freshman.
Lewiston (10-8-1) beat Yarmouth-Freeport 6-1 and 2-1 in the regular season. But the second game, played a week ago, gave the team confidence it could play with and beat the Blue Devils.
“The girls are amazing,” said Coach David Neujahr. “Three week ago it clicked. After the last game against them, we knew we could win here.”
Neujahr said he told his players not to chase the Blue Devils around the rink, keep the puck in front and make low shots. Yarmouth-Freeport did all that in carrying play for much of the game.
Yarmouth-Freeport outshot Lewiston 22-15 for the game with a 9-4 edge in the third period. Early in the period, Yarmouth-Freeport pressured the Devils for a full minute, getting off several shots. None found the net but the message was clear — there would be no let-up.
Yarmouth-Freeport had to beat Cheverus last Friday to even make the tournament.
“We were hungry for another win,” said the captain, Suzanne Driscoll. “Beating Cheverus got us into the tournament and gave us more confidence. We’ve improved as a team since the first time we played Lewiston. We made long passes, which was a key.”
Johnson gave Yarmouth-Freeport a 1-0 lead 28 seconds into the second period. In a scramble, she stuffed the puck by freshman goalie Paige Fontaine.
Yarmouth-Freeport kept the pressure on before the Blue Devils recovered to apply their own pressure.
But the defense, led by Williams and Meredith McLoon, never cracked.
Yarmouth-Freeport sealed it with 2:35 remaining when Robichaud, streaking on the left side, took a cross-ice pass from Taylor Morrison and slid it past Fontaine.
Two minutes earlier, in probably Lewiston’s best chance, Lauren Lessard was stopped by Williams at the left post.
“It was a 2-1 game the last time we played them so we knew they could skate and would apply pressure,” said Lewiston Coach Ron Dumont.
“Whenever a young team like theirs scores the first goal, it takes on a life of its own. We gave an honest effort. It just didn’t happen.”
Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at: