LEWISTON — Biddeford sophomore goalie Jonathan Fields found himself out of position at the wrong time.
His ability to get back into position in time to rob Lewiston’s Zack Parker may have saved the game.
Fields has a long way to go if he wants to match Lewiston goalie Cam Poussard’s lofty career statistics, but the young netminder took a giant step in the right direction Wednesday.
With both teams missing key offensive personnel, the spotlight shined brighter on the teams’ defensive corps and goaltending. On the strength of Fields’ 28 saves, a power-play goal and one of the more peculiar scoring plays of the season, Biddeford earned a victory in the battle of the last remaining unbeaten Class A hockey teams, a 2-0 win at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
“They’ve been our biggest competition of the season,” Fields said. “We tied them earlier in the season, 2-2. Tonight, we had an all-around team effort. We won the draws in our zone when we needed to, iced the puck when we needed to and buried some goals, got a few bounces.”
And some solid goaltending from the modest Fields, who sports a season goals-against average well under 2.00.
“We certainly got a lot of help from Fields, certainly in the third,” Biddeford coach Rich Reissfelder said. “The past five, six weeks, we’ve really had trouble in the third, but it was nice to see different guys step up.”
And no save in the third was bigger than his glove save on Parker.
“It was definitely a high-pressure situation, I got caught out of position a little bit,” Fields said. “I was able to scramble and was lucky to get a glove on it. A save in the third period, that can win or lose a game. I was glad to be able to get a glove on it and help out the team.”
Both teams were without serious firepower. All three of Lewiston’s top-scoring forwards were either sick or injured and could not play Wednesday. Biddeford was also short three players, including No. 2 scorer Bryan Dallaire.
“They’re the defending state champion, they have depth and they took it to us,” Lewiston coach Jamie Belleau said. “The kids played well, but they’re obviously the defending state champion for a reason.”
With much of the high school hockey community’s focus on the fact that Lewiston and Biddeford are home to the top two scoring offenses in Class A, it’s been easy to overlook the fact that the Blue Devils and Tigers play pretty darn good defense, too.
That piece of the game was on full display in the first period. At even strength, Lewiston outshot Biddeford 4-2 in the opening frame. Lewiston managed one shot on its power play chance, and Biddeford mustered a pair of shots in its opportunity with an extra skater.
The Tigers cashed in on one of them when Tyler Audie tipped in a wrist shot by Brady Fleurent from the left side of the crease, giving the visitors a 1-0 advantage 8:14 into the game.
“We didn’t execute on the PK, and we can’t do that against a team like that,” Belleau said.
The goal snapped Lewiston keeper Cam Poussard’s shutout streak at 272:03, a streak that dated back to January 24 in a game against Thornton Academy.
The offense returned for both teams in the second, with both launching 10 shots on goal.
Biddeford again came away with the lone tally, though, this time in most bizarre fashion.
Lewiston successfully cleared its defensive zone and started up the ice. Having lost his stick on the previous exchange — a 2-on-0 with Fleurent bearing down on the cage — Poussard left his crease to retrieve it in the right corner. The Tigers stuffed Lewiston’s rush in their defensive zone and quickly transitioned back to center ice. There bodies and sticks converged and collided, and the puck went sailing high in the air. Neither Poussard nor any of his teammates (nor any of the Biddeford players) knew where it had gone, until it landed flat — on the goal line — and bounced into the cage.
“No one saw that, and you can’t fault anyone for a goal like that,” Belleau said. “Things like that happen in a game. Unfortunately, it probably took the wind out of our sails a little bit, and they were strong the whole game.”
“That was a crazy goal,” Reissfelder said. “I didn’t see it. I was trying to get a call because I felt Poussard had thrown his stick on the 2-on-0 the previous play. I was trying to get that call, and everyone started going crazy. If you’re Lewiston, it’s a tough goal to give up.”
Lewiston carried the third period territorially and outshot the Tigers 13-1 in the final frame. But Fields and the Biddeford defense stood tall to preserve the shutout.
“He makes the saves when he has to,” Reissfelder said. “He keeps the puck out of the net. As a former goalie, and as a current coach, it gives me heartburn when we don’t keep it out of the net.”
Copyright (c) 2011, Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine
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