LEWISTON—For 14 minutes and 59 seconds of the first period of Tuesday evening’s Class A state semifinal at the Colisee, the upset hopes and dreams of the South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete co-op boys’ hockey team were alive and well.

But that pesky final second of the period changed everything and it wasn’t long before the Red Riots learned that there’s a reason no one has beaten the Lewiston Blue Devils this winter.

Because, they’re close to unstoppable and they have every intention of winning the state title.

Something the Blue Devils will have an opportunity to do Saturday night.

Fourth-seeded South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete was every bit top-ranked Lewiston’s equal in the first period and even grabbed a 1-0 lead when junior Owen Anderson scored with 2:40 to go, but with 0.9 seconds on the clock, Blue Devils’ freshman Brock Bergeron got the puck past Red Riots’ senior goalie Liam McGibbon to not only tie the score, but to turn momentum for good.

Lewiston went on top to stay at 3:27 of the second period, when senior Kurtis Pelletier finished, and while South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete killed off a five-minute major penalty later in the period, it couldn’t capitalize on the power play and in fact gave up a backbreaking short-handed goal at 9:54, when junior Logan Tripp scored for a 3-1 advantage.


The Blue Devils then put it away in the third period, getting goals from Bergeron and freshman Daxton St. Hilaire, as they closed out a 5-1 victory.

Lewiston won its 20th straight game, advanced to meet Scarborough (15-4-1) in the Class A state final Saturday at 6 p.m., at the Colisee, and in the process, ended the Red Riots’ season at 12-7-1.

“We’ve never been this far before and it’s pretty cool,” said South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete coach Joe Robinson. “I feel bad for the seniors, but they accomplished a lot and they should be proud.”

No stopping these Devils

Lewiston is synonymous with boys’ hockey success, but the Blue Devils, who won state titles in 2016, 2017 and 2018, have taken it to another level this winter, winning all 18 regular season contests by a composite 92-16 margin. The Blue Devils shut out seven foes and held six others to just once goal. In Saturday’s state quarterfinal, Lewiston advanced with a 6-0 win over No. 8 Bangor.

After losing to eventual regional champion Biddeford in a second-ever trip to the semifinals a year ago, South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete posted an 11-6-1 mark this winter, its best in a decade, and Friday, rallied to edge No. 5 Thornton Academy, 5-4, in the state quarterfinals.

The teams played Jan. 18 in Portland, where the Blue Devils held on for a 2-0 victory.


Tuesday marked the first playoff encounter between the squads and it would be Lewiston taking care of business after a sluggish start.

McGibbon kept the Blue Devils off the board for most of the first period, denying Tripp, sophomore Evan Knowlton, senior Ryan Pomerleau and Pelletier.

Then, with 2:40 remaining in the first period, Anderson got the puck past Lewiston junior goalie Keegan McLaughlin (freshman Dylan Hannan and senior Deven Hannan were given assists) and just like that, the Red Riots had a 1-0 lead.

South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete then killed off a penalty and was on the verge of taking the lead to the first intermission, but Bergeron got the puck alone up top and fired a shot that McGibbon got a piece of, but couldn’t stop, and with under a second to go, the game was tied.

“I wasn’t really paying attention to the clock,” Bergeron said. “I was trying to go for a change and then I turned around and the puck’s right in the middle. I turned around and just put it to the net. I mean, it was big.”

“That goal got us going,” said Lewiston coach Jamie Belleau. “I talked to the kids that playoff hockey is hard. Games are never easy. You’ll face adversity at some point. They scored first, they were blocking shots, they kept us to the outside, we weren’t getting a lot of quality opportunities and when we did, their goalie came up big. We capitalized at the end of the period. That shows a lot of no-quit from our kids. They’ve done that all year.”


“That was pretty tough,” Robinson lamented. “We’d been talking about our defensive zone, nothing up the gut. To panic like that when we’d addressed it, that was tough. I don’t think it totally took the wind out of our sails, but it got them going.”

The Blue Devils completely controlled play in the second period, out-shooting the Red Riots, 21-4, en route to opening up a two-goal lead.

After McGibbon denied Pelletier, he made a save on a shot from junior Mason Beaudoin, but with 11:33 to go in the second period, in transition, Pelletier took a pass from Pomerleau and got the puck past McGibbon (senior Drew St. Hilaire also was credited with an assist) to put Lewiston on top to stay.

“The second goal, we had the guy, then the D backed off at the last second,’ Robinson said. “I’m starting three freshmen defenders against those guys. I feel bad in a way because they’ve got skill, but you forget they’re 14-years-old. It’s a lot to put on them, but I’m proud of how they played.”

Twenty-six seconds later, Deven Hannan was sent off for five minutes for a major penalty after boarding Blue Devils’ sophomore defenseman Damon Bossie.

Lewiston couldn’t capitalize, however, even when playing 5-on-3 late in the penalty, as McGibbon denied senior Sam Laroche, Michael Belleau, senior Owen Cox twice and Pelletier with his glove.


Then, the Red Riots went on the power play, but after McLaughlin preserved the lead by saving a bid from senior Eric Walker, the Blue Devils got a pivotal short-handed goal, as Michael Belleau set up Tripp for a 3-1 lead at 9:54.

“That goal was big,” Jamie Belleau said. “Luckily, we got by without scoring on the power play. We’ll work on that.”

“That was another example of youth,” Robinson said. “One of our younger forwards went to play the body when he didn’t really have to. The puck kicked out to their guy streaking in. Frustrating.”

Lewiston didn’t score again, but was up two when the third period began.

And it didn’t take long for the Blue Devils to end any remaining doubt.

After McGibbon robbed Michael Belleau on a breakaway, Bergeron scored his second goal (from Tripp and Belleau) at 4:43 of the third to make it 4-1.


“Brock is a skilled player,” Jamie Belleau said. “His line contributed well. Logan got a couple assists. Michael got three assists. It’s been balanced scoring all year for us.”

South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete could never respond and with 1:09 remaining, Daxton St. Hilaire beat McGibbon with a high shot (Beaudoin and junior Joey Gendron got assists) to account for the 5-1 final score.

“This game always makes me nervous and I can’t emphasize enough what won us this game was responding to adversity, working hard and keeping our composure,” said Jamie Belleau. “I’m happy for these kids. Everyone contributed. We rolled three lines. We got the fourth line out for three or four shifts. That’s a recipe for success.”

McLaughlin made 13 saves for Lewiston.

Looking ahead to Saturday, the Blue Devils will look for their third win over Scarborough this season, after prevailing, 5-1, at home Dec. 18 and 3-1 at the Red Storm Feb. 1.

The teams met just once before in the postseason, Lewiston’s 2-1 victory in the 2016 Class A state final.

“Scarborough is well-coached, disciplined and they have three good lines,” Jamie Belleau said. “They’ll be structured and play well defensively and do things the right way. We’ll be in for a challenge.”

As for the Red Riots, who got 33 saves from McGibbon, graduation will hit hard, but this program is used to be a top contender and that should be the case again next winter.

“We took another step in the right direction,” Robinson said. “We want to stay at this level.”

Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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