Lewiston High Coach Jamie Belleau knows better than most that no lead is safe against the Falmouth boys’ hockey team.
Twice this season the Yachtsmen have rallied from deficits of two goals or more against Lewiston, and they handed the Blue Devils their only loss.
After splitting two games during the regular season, the teams will face off again at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston for the Class A state championship.
“We’ve got to minimize mistakes,” Belleau said. “You make a mistake, they’ll probably make you pay for it.”
Falmouth (16-3-1) won the Class A South final in similar fashion – down 2-0 before rallying to defeat Cheverus 3-2 on Tuesday. Falmouth Coach Deron Barton said his team was “solid” despite trailing 2-1 after two periods.
“We knew that they were tired and we had the momentum swing,” Barton said. “We focus on the next shift, forget about the score and just keep working hard. It paid off again.”
But he also understands the risk of playing from behind.
“We certainly can’t play like that Saturday night,” Barton said.
Not against the defending state champion. Lewiston (19-1), which defeated Scarborough last year in the final, is a deep and experienced squad that rolled past Bangor 6-0 on Tuesday for the Class A North title.
Joe Bisson and Jeromey Rancourt scored 44 points each for the Blue Devils during the regular season – the second-most in Class A.
“They’re a quality team. They’ve proved it all year long,” Barton said of Lewiston. “We’re young. The majority of our players are underclassmen with very little experience in this kind of showcase.”
Falmouth’s roster boasts only two seniors: the Armitage twins, Robbie and Reece. They are two of Barton’s leading scorers, with juniors Brendan Hickey and Theo Hembre. Robbie Armitage led the team in points during the regular season with 33; the other three each put up 22.
The Yachtsmen will be hard-pressed to get their shots past Lewiston goalkeeper Jacob Strout, who has four shutouts and allowed fewer than two goals a game on average. Falmouth is the only team to put up four goals against him.
“They’re a hungry team. We’re going to have to play our best game,” Belleau said. “We’ve got a lot of depth, experience and speed.”
The Blue Devils, who average seven goals a game, will face goalkeeper Spencer Pierce. Pierce has five shutouts, allowed an average of two goals per game, and stopped 48 shots for the Yachtsmen in a 3-2 win over Lewiston on Jan. 16.
The Blue Devils led 2-0 until late in the second period, when Hembre kicked off Falmouth’s comeback. He scored twice before Marcus Cady put away Reece Armitage’s rebound in the third period for the winner.
Five days later, Lewiston let a 3-0 lead slip away; Hickey and Robbie Armitage each scored twice to put the Yachtsmen ahead 4-3 late in the third. But the Blue Devils didn’t lose their cool – Cody Doyon and Bisson scored 25 seconds apart for a 5-4 victory.
“We have to come to play them like we did the last two times we played them,” Barton said. “If we can maintain the tempo and keep it close, it’s going to be a hell of a hockey game.”
CLASS B: YORK VS. WATERVILLE
York will take on an unfamiliar foe in Waterville, the defending state champion, in the Class B state championship game Saturday. That game also will be played at the Colisee, at 1 p.m.
More than 100 miles separates the schools, which didn’t meet in the regular season.
“We haven’t seen them and they haven’t seen us, so I’m sure we’re both scratching our heads about what we’re up against,” said York Coach Jim Powers. “I know they’ve got a good squad. They have a lot of dynamic forwards.”
Waterville (19-1), the Class B North champ, has averaged eight goals a game. Two of its forwards led the state in scoring during the regular season. Jackson Aldrich had 70 points (29 goals, 41 assists) and Justin Wentworth had 68 (42 goals, 26 assists). In all, seven players had more than 20 points,
“Our offense scores a lot goals,” said Waterville Coach Dennis Martin. “Both teams are going to be in the same boat. They’re probably going to be making adjustments on the fly during the game.”
Powers said there’s “a lot of distribution of goal scoring” among the Wildcats (17-2-1), with Tommy Carr (38 points), Julius Lundgren (37), Jake Martin (33) and Spencer Pickett (27) leading the team in the regular season. York goalie Keenan Gamache has six shutouts and allowed fewer than two goals a game.
“The strength of our team has been to consistently skate three lines out there against pretty much anybody,” Powers said. “Our kids are some very solid, powerful skaters.”
Taylor Vortherms can be contacted at 791-6417 or