Gus Lappin (11) of South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete skates with the puck during Tuesday’s Class A boys hockey semifinal at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston. Looking on our Red Riots Harry Millspaugh (23), Austin Gross (28) and goaltender Liam McGibbon (31), along with Lewiston’s Brock Bergeron (6). The top-seeded Blue Devils downed the No. 4 Red Riots, 5-1. (Adam Robinson / The Times Record)

LEWISTON — A late-period goal by Lewiston calmed the nerves of the Blue Devils after a one-goal deficit.

The goal also propelled the Blue Devils to a 5-1 win over the South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete in a Class A boys hockey semifinal on Tuesday night.

Brock Bergeron scored two goals to lead Lewiston, which will play Scarborough on Saturday for the State Class A title.

The Red Riots entered the Blue Devils’ ice with little apprehension, immediately pushing the puck up the ice and putting shots up. Lewiston had a slim shot-on-goal lead for the majority of the first period before a breakaway by the Red Riots put up two shots, both saved by Lewiston’s Keegan McLaughlin with three minutes remaining.

Twenty seconds later, Owen Anderson put the Red Riots (12-7-1) on top with a goal.

The lead didn’t last long, as the undefeated Blue Devils (20-0) put up a myriad of shots during a power play.

Lewiston found the back of the net on a Brock Bergeron goal with just nine-tenths of a second on the first period clock.

“We played really well and I thought we were right with them,” Red Riots coach Joe Robinson said. “It kind of took the wind out of our sails when they tied it but it was still a tie game with half an hour left of hockey.”

Bergeron had no idea that he had just seconds to score the goal.

“I wasn’t paying attention to the clock and then I turned around and I saw the puck was in the middle and put it on net,” Bergeron said. “I was pretty happy, it got us back into that second period with a tie game.”

In the second, the Blue Devils opened up the scoring with two goals. The first came from Kurtis Pelletier on a 2-on-1 break. With the Lewiston fan section to his left, Pelletier went left before deking right for a finish around the goalie to give the Blue Devils a 2-1 lead.

The Blue Devils poured on the shots in the second period, out-shooting the Red Riots 21-4. Red Riots goalie Liam McGibbon made 19 saves in the second, but let in a second goal with 5:06 left off the stick of Lewiston’s Logan Tripp. The 3-1 lead for the Blue Devils was a huge momentum swing for the Class A favorites.

The No. 4 seed was hurt by a pair of penalties — a five-minute major and a two-minute minor — that served to turn the ice into Lewiston’s favor.

“It’s hard when you take a five then you have to take a two on top of it and you’re exhausted,” Robinson said. “He’s running four lines of guys that can start or be on a second line on most teams but we have to run two. You get gassed in that situation and it’s hard to hang in there for the long haul.”

For Lewiston coach James Belleau, his team was prepared for the adversity faced early in Tuesday night’s contest.

“All season long we talked about adversity and keeping your composure and I reemphasized that in the playoffs, the games are going to be hard,” Belleau said. “Every playoff game is hard, whether it’s for a period, a shift, there’s going to be adversity and it’s how you respond to it and how it’s going to contribute to your success… We had a lot of puck possession in the first period and good scoring opportunities but they responded big so we had some adversity and tied it with point-nine seconds left. I thought after that we really took control.”

In the third, Bergeron scored again, this time to put his team up 4-1 with 10:17 remaining in the game. Later, with 1:09 to play, freshman Daxton St. Hilaire put the cherry on top for Lewiston. The Blue Devils controlled the puck in the third, as well, holding the Red Riots without a shot for the first 8:35 of the third.

Despite the loss, Robinson was happy with his team’s performance and said it exceeded the performance his team put up against Lewiston in the regular season, a 2-0 loss.

“We have a lot of youth on the team even though we have a senior goalie, a senior defenseman and three forwards, the rest are freshmen and sophomores,” Robinson said. “I had three defensemen that are freshmen. It’s hard but they played well. It’s trial by fire. I can see when the youth shines through but it’s good signs for the future. We’ve got the personnel and the skill, it was tough. I thought we didn’t play well in the first game. We didn’t put up as many shots in the first game, we put up way more shots in this one. I was happy.”

 

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