LEWISTON – As his players celebrated on the ice, Falmouth High hockey coach Deron Barton turned to his assistants and asked, “Did that just happen?”
It did. The Yachtsmen won their first-ever state hockey championship Saturday night with a 4-0 victory against Lewiston in the Class A title game before a sold-out Colisee crowd of 3,677.
Andrew Emple scored the initial goal in the first period. Andre Clement added a pair of scores in the third and Isac Nordstrom clinched it with an empty-netter.
Dane Pauls made 17 saves for the shutout. Evan Bourassa made 18 saves for Lewiston.
While Falmouth (18-3-1) won its first title, Lewiston (17-4-1) settled for second again. The Blue Devils last won the state championship in 2002. Since then they’ve been runners-up six times.
“They’re very good and they did a good job shutting us down,” Lewiston Coach James Belleau said. “You can’t make any excuses about it.”
Falmouth looked in control after the first period, leading 1-0 and outshooting the Blue Devils, 8-3.
In the final five minutes of the period, Falmouth turned up the pressure. Kris Samaras took control of the puck and skated behind the Blue Devils’ goal. He passed to an open Emple in the right circle. Emple fired over Bourassa’s left shoulder for a 1-0 lead at 11:05. J.P. White was also credited with an assist.
“J.P. White screened the goalie and it went right in,” Emple said.
The Blue Devils showed more offense in the second period, creating chances but either just missing on their passes, or being thwarted by Pauls.
Falmouth’s defensive lines also came through with key stops. Emple paired with Jack Pike and Ethan Low with Alden Weller. The Blue Devils outshot Falmouth 9-6 in the second period.
“We had a letdown in the second period,” Barton said. “I came into the (locker) room and I didn’t have to say anything. They knew exactly what the problem was.”
Pike said, “We just had to reset and play like the first period.”
Clement made it easy, stuffing in a rebound off William Mullin’s shot 44 seconds into the third for a 2-0 lead.
“It went off his pad or a skate and I just jammed it in,” Clement said.
Then Clement got a breakaway on a heads-up clearing pass by Pike, skating alone into the zone.
“Pike chipped it out and I had speed coming through,” Clement said. “I fumbled it, pulled it back to my forehand and shoved it into the far post. It slid in barely.”
The puck just got by the goalie’s glove for a 3-0 lead at 5:35.
At 2:33, Lewiston called a timeout and pulled the goalie. After a Pauls save, Nordstrom sent it down the ice and in for the clincher.
Falmouth outshot Lewiston 8-5 in the third period.
“Even when we generated some offense, a lot of the shots were from the outside,” Belleau said.
That’s how Pauls liked it.
“Credit to these guys,” Pauls said, pointing to his teammates. “They let me see everything; made my job really, really easy.”
Soon, Pauls was giving his coach a bear hug. The victory was sinking in.
“To actually look up at the scoreboard, to see it, I had to pinch myself,” Barton said. “It is true.”
Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or: