LEWISTON — In the final, nerve-wracking minutes, Biddeford High kept peppering the net, straining for a tying goal.

It never came.

And when Jacques Ouellette sealed St. Dominic Academy’s win with an empty-net goal, the Saints could finally breathe.

St. Dom’s defeated Biddeford 4-2 for the Class A boys’ hockey state championship Saturday night, before a crowd of about 3,000 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

Dominic Chasse, Lucas Pushard, Leo Naous and Ouellette scored for St. Dominic. Trenton Ouellette and Trevor Ouellette scored for Biddeford.

St. Dom’s (16-4-1) won its 26th title, but first since 2000. The Saints had lost in their last five state final appearances.

Biddeford (15-7) was the runner-up for the second straight year.

Biddeford outshot the Saints 16-5 in the third period as it tried to erase a 3-1 deficit. St. Dom’s goalie Gaston Fuksa (28 saves) stopped all but one, while his defenseman, led by Ouellette, Mike Ciley, Derek Wolverton and Ben Gosselin, blocked chances and cleared away rebounds.

“We got it to where we needed to,” Biddeford Coach Jason Tremblay said. “It was pretty close. (Fuksa) made some nice saves down the stretch.”

The third-period push looked similar to the Class A North final, when Lewiston dominated with 54 shots but St. Dom’s prevailed.

“Going through the Lewiston game gave us the courage and experience to go through that in a big game,” St. Dom’s Coach Rob Parker said. “It paid off today. Biddeford was tough, really tough.”

Saturday’s game featured Biddeford’s explosive top line vs. St. Dominic’s depth. The Tigers skate nine players, while the Saints use three forward lines and six defensemen.

Biddeford’s best chance was to get a quick lead, but the Saints were flying early. They finally broke through when Chasse sent a breakout pass to Will Fletcher, who was covered by a defender. Chasse raced up the middle with two Tigers on him. Fletcher returned a perfect lead pass, and Chasse dove and poke the puck up and underneath the crossbar at 6:55.

“Will is such a great player and I knew he’d send it back,” Chasse said. “All I had to do was chip it over (the goalie).”

With two minutes left in the period, Biddeford’s leading scorer, Nick McSorley, finally got free in the slot, but Fuksa made a glove save.

McSorley had to work for open space all game. He often bolted toward the neutral zone when the Tigers were regaining possession. But that tactic was no secret to the Saints.

“He’s such a prolific scorer,” Jacques Ouellette said. “We wanted to put a guy on him whenever he stretched the ice.”

Biddeford did tie the game in the second period. Seven seconds after the Tigers’ first power play expired, Trenton Ouellette scored an unassisted goal at 7:16.

Chasse then drew a penalty and the Saints capitalized, as Ouellette fed Pushard for a one-timer at 8:18.

“I was really lucky because my one-timer is usually awful,” Pushard said.

The Tigers looked gassed near the end of the second period, and the Saints went up 3-1. Chasse stole the puck in Biddeford’s zone, and his cross-ice pass was buried by Naous at 13:56.

“We put so much effort in to claw back,” Tremblay said. “In the last three minutes, we got tired … But then we came back out in the third.”

Biddeford got one back on a power play at 6:57, as Trevor Ouellette converted a pass from Nick Reissfelder.

With 1:47 remaining, the Tigers pulled their goalie. They kept attacking until Jacques Ouellette stole the puck and skated up the ice.

“My heart was racing,” Ouellette said. “I looked up, and when I got over the red line, I decided to take the shot.”

It slid into the net, all but sealing the win.

“It was amazing,” Ouellette said. “That was actually my first goal of the year.”

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: KevinThomasPPH

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