LEWISTON — Lewiston’s Jeromey Rancourt didn’t have much of a voice after the Class A boys’ hockey state championship game Saturday night against Falmouth.
“I hope you can hear me,” Rancourt said with a smile before turning away to cough. “I’m fighting everything right now.”
The senior forward certainly didn’t appear sick during the game, helping the Blue Devils repeat as champions with a 6-2 win at a packed Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
Rancourt had a goal and two assists as Lewiston scored six straight goals in the second and third periods before Falmouth answered with two late goals.
The state title was the 22nd for the Blue Devils (20-1), whose only loss this season was to Falmouth (16-4-1).
“This game boiled down to making smart decisions with the puck, utilizing our strengths and keeping our composure,” Lewiston Coach Jamie Belleau said. “We know that they like to play a physical game.”
Belleau said his team fell into that trap of trying to match Falmouth’s physical style when they played during the regular season. The Yachtsmen crawled back from two- and three-goal deficits in those games while the Blue Devils “spent too much time in the penalty box,” said Belleau.
This time, however, they maintained their composure and capitalized on two of seven power plays while allowing Falmouth just one.
“They’re just a powerhouse team. They’re well-coached, they’ve got incredible talent,” Falmouth Coach Deron Barton said. “When you come up against that, you almost have to be perfect. Maturity shows itself. They capitalized and made us pay for our mistakes.”
The Blue Devils outshot Falmouth 40-14. Jacob Strout stopped 12 shots for Lewiston, while Spencer Pierce made 34 saves for the Yachtsmen.
After a scoreless first period, Cole Ouelette kicked off Lewiston’s run 1:34 into the second period with an unassisted power-play goal.
“We just kept to our game,” said Ouelette, who finished with two goals. “Defense first, and offense will come.”
Alex Robert scored from Joe Bisson and Alex Rivet just 2:33 later before Rivet converted another power play, assisted by Rancourt and Nick Bisson, at 10:58.
Still, Barton said his team had a positive attitude going into the third period.
“We’ve come out of this before – we’ve got the resources in the room to do it,” Barton said he told his team. “We certainly were not thinking we were out of the game.”
But the Blue Devils never let up. Ouelette scored again from Cody Doyon with 11:16 left, and Joe Bisson made it 5-0 just 37 seconds later. Rancourt capped the surge with 8:39 remaining.
“You never feel safe,” Rancourt said. “At any moment in that game, they could take that one goal and that could spark them.”
After a 5-minute major on Falmouth late in the third period, the Yachtsmen came alive with two short-handed goals – an unassisted tally by Robbie Armitage with 4:03 left and a goal by Brendan Hickey, assisted by Marcus Cady, with 1:20 left.
But it was too little, too late for Yachtsmen. They will lose only two seniors, twins Robbie and Reece Armitage, who Barton said will be “sorely missed and very hard to replace.”
And Barton is already looking ahead to next season.
“When we get back here next year,” Barton said, “we’ve got to bottle this up and learn from it. It’s a growing experience.”
As for Rancourt – one of seven Lewiston seniors – he ended his career on the highest of notes. No illness could make him feel anything short of amazing.
“I feel the love between all of these guys,” Rancourt said, just before a teammate interrupted him with a hug. “This is my family.”
Taylor Vortherms can be contacted at 791-6417 or: