PORTLAND – As Deering boys’ lacrosse players hustled through shift changes at Memorial Field on Saturday morning, coaches encouraged those coming off the field to “keep chopping” against Lewiston in their Eastern Class A semifinal.

For attackers like Matt Flaherty, the term meant to keep shooting. For defenders like Karl Rickett, it might also have meant to keep checking the ball — and even a stick or two — away from the Blue Devils.

The third-seeded Rams (9-5) did as they were told at both ends, overpowering the seventh-seeded Blue Devils (7-7) for a 6-1 victory. Deering moves on to a regional final Wednesday against No. 4 Cheverus (9-4).

“We possessed the ball about 70 percent of the first half, and that usually is conducive to scoring,” said Deering Coach Jon Dubois, “but we just weren’t taking good shots.”

Flaherty led Deering with three goals. He found the net 2:11 into the game, cutting left to right across the goalmouth to beat Blue Devils goalie Tom Lepage (nine saves).

Lewiston tied it with 2:59 left in the first half when Matt Melanson found Chris Johnson at the back post for a shot past Deering’s Nick Martin (eight saves). But that was the only shot to get by Martin.

“We needed to get ahead early if we were to have a chance,” said Lewiston Coach Bill Bodwell. “We hit the post, then we didn’t finish off a one-on-one with (Martin).

“Deering’s a good team, and they kind of made it tough for us on offense today.”

Credit rests largely on the shoulders of Rickett, Steven Doman, James Doyle and Alex Stilphen, who smothered Lewiston’s attack and sent the ball upfield in transition.

“We knew they’d run a 2-2-2 offensive set on us, (and we knew how to defend it well),” Rickett said, who also won 7 of 10 faceoffs. “We definitely got in their head a little bit. We played tough defense, didn’t have many penalties and got in a downhill battle from there.”

Deering opened it up in the third quarter on goals by Flaherty, Anthony Verville, Rick Murray and Isaac Santerre. Flaherty capped the scoring with 4:12 left in the game, finishing a nice pass from Rickett.

“We had a lot of really good possessions and worked the ball around,” Rickett said. “That wears on a defender. If you’ve been sitting in your zone for a half hour, it’s easier to get tired and make a mistake.”