Wednesday, December 11, 2013
By SCOTT MARTIN Kennebec Journal
LEWISTON — Matt Swan faced shot after shot early in the first period of an Eastern Class A boys' hockey semifinal Saturday afternoon. And for a little while, the Cony senior goalie stopped shot after shot against Lewiston.
The Blue Devils kept coming, though, and Swan could only do so much.
Swan made 45 saves, but top-ranked Lewiston put on an impressive offensive display, beating the Rams 9-0 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee to advance to the regional final.
"He played very well," Cony Coach Chad Foye said of Swan. "We haven't gone against a team that moved the puck like that all year. (That's a case where) your scheduling kind of hurts you. We won some games, but it would have helped to play some teams like that."
Fourth-ranked Cony, which earned its first playoff win since 2002 when it beat Maranacook/Hall-Dale/Winthrop in the quarterfinals, ends the season 15-5. The Rams played only other game this season against the other Eastern Class A semifinalists -- a 5-2 loss to No. 2 Bangor on Feb. 13.
Top-ranked Lewiston (14-4-1) advances to play No. 3 St. Dom's in the regional final Tuesday night at the Colisee.
Swan was under pressure from the start and stopped 24 shots in the first period, but the Blue Devils were relentless and opened a 4-0 lead.
Lewiston's broke through 7:35 into the first when Kyle Lemelin made a nice crossing pass to Devon Beland, who tucked the puck past Swan.
A minute later, the Blue Devils broke it open with goals seven seconds apart. Stefan Vallee made it 2-0 when he stuffed in a rebound, and Desmond Gagne pushed it to 3-0 on the ensuing faceoff, beating Swan on a breakaway.
"That was certainly a bonus," Lewiston Coach Jamie Belleau said of his team's quick start. "We knew Swan was a legit goaltender.
"Our game plan was to get a lot of pucks to the net, a lot of rubber to the net. We took 28 shots in the first period."
Lemelin added a goal late in the first period, and the lead grew to 5-0 in the second period when Jake Bergeron's shot trickled past Swan at 8:22.
Lemelin, Cam Marquis, Matt Poulin and Evan Gosselin scored in the third for Lewiston.
The loss ends a turnaround season for the Rams, who won just four games last season.
"The kids knew me because I coach at the school and they bought into what we were trying to do right away," said Foye, who previously coached the Rams from 2000-07.
"I'm just glad we put Cony hockey back on the map," Swan said.
ST. DOM'S 2, BANGOR 1: Cody Rodrigue knocked in a rebound 2:47 into overtime to give the third-seeded Saints (14-6) a win over the second-seeded Rams (14-6).
Bangor goalie Chris Howat (38 saves) stopped three straight shots before Rodrigue finally poked the puck into the net, sending the Saints to the regional final for the fourth year in a row.