LEWISTON — There’s a reason rivals at higher levels of hockey play best-of-seven series.
Emotions swing violently. Confidence spikes and wanes accordingly. And the pipes and sticks that provide friendly bounce one night break your heart the next.
The third time was a convincing charm for Saint Dominic Academy, which saved its first victory of the winter over Lewiston High School for Saturday’s Class A East semifinal, an impressive 4-2 victory at Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
Brad Berube, Dillon Pratt, Chase Haineyand Caleb Labrie had the goals for St. Dom’s.
And after allowing a soft goal early in the game, St. Dom’s senior Caleb Dostie was brilliant with 30 saves.
No. 3 St. Dom’s (12-7-1) will face No. 1 Bangor here at 6 p.m. Tuesday for the regional title. The Rams ousted the Saints 3-2 in double overtime in the 2013 regional semis.
Kyle Morin and Matt Poulin scored for the Blue Devils.
No. 2 Lewiston (15-5) won both regular-season meetings over its historical nemesis, 6-5 in overtime here in December and 3-2 in February.
Round three had all the earmarks of another high-scoring slugfest from the drop of the puck.
Four of the Saints’ first nine shots found a seam past Lewiston goalie Nick Hawk, chasing him from the game in favor of freshman Jacob Strout 4:08 into the second period.
St. Dom’s led 2-1 at the end of furiously paced first period, one that featured many more near-misses than the Devils’ 6-5 edge in shots on goal would indicate.
The Saints connected with their first offering only 35 seconds into the contest. Chase Hainey’s feed from behind the net set up a lonely Brad Berube at Lewiston goalie Nick Hawk’s doorstep.
Lewiston’s equalizer was a gift.
As Kyle Morin’s casual, no-look service from center ice floated perilously through the St. Dom’s defensive zone, goalie Caleb Dostie lost sight of the puck. It floated into the net at 3:46.
Dillon Pratt retrieved the lead for the Saints, one-timing Labrie’s dish from the boards behind the net at 11:19.
The Devils narrowly missed on multiple opportunities to tie, including Kyle Lemelin’s launch just wide left of Dostie on a 2-on-1.
Berube also sacrificed his body on a penalty kill to block Lewiston’s bid from the point and preserve the lead at the horn.
Dostie made two more denials in the first minute of the second stanza to kill the rest of the short-handed time and get into a rhythm that carried him through the remainder of the game.
And his teammates kept piling up the goals, the next two coming in a window of 28 seconds.
Berube returned the favor for Hainey’s earlier set-up, furnishing his power-play goal at 3:40 of the second. Lewiston fought off all but the final 15 seconds before Berube dropped the puck to an open Hainey at the outer edge of the right circle.
Caleb Labrie made it 4-1 when Pratt skated along the back boards from left to right and zipped the puck to Labrie in the slot.