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Falmouth senior Theo Hembre celebrates the first of his three goals during the Yachtsmen’s 4-1 victory over Lewiston Saturday night in a rematch of last year’s Class A state final.
Mike Strout photos.
More photos below.
FALMOUTH—Falmouth’s boys’ hockey team didn’t need much motivation Saturday night when the two-time defending Class A state champion Lewiston Blue Devils came to Family Ice Center.
For starters, the Yachtsmen were looking to avenge last year’s four-goal setback to the Blue Devils in the state game.
But perhaps of even greater and more pertinent importance, however, after losing at York earlier this week and forfeiting their locker room as a result, Falmouth wanted to regain access, but to do so, it would have to hold a prolific offense at bay.
And the Yachtsmen would do precisely that.
Falmouth grabbed the early lead when senior goal-scorer extraordinaire Theo Hembre finished on the power at 11:47 of the first period.
Lewiston drew even with a power play goal of its own from junior Sam Frechette at 5:45 of the second period, but that was the only time the visitors would solve Yachtsmen freshman goalie Sam Kidder.
With 3 minutes to play in the second period, Falmouth retook the lead, as senior Marcus Cady scored on a rebound.
Then, in the third period, with Kidder denying every Blue Devils’ bid, Hembre provided some breathing room when he scored after a terrific individual effort with 8:10 to play, then Hembre completed his hat trick with an empty-net tally with 43 seconds to go, bringing the curtain down on the Yachtsmen’s impressive 4-1 triumph.
Falmouth improved to 9-5-1 while handing Lewiston its second loss in 14 games in the process.
“The coaches punished us by taking away our locker room and that was our primary motivation tonight,” Hembre said. “We used that and came out and buried them. We knew we could beat them.”
Lewiston was clearly the premier team in last year’s state final, downing Falmouth, 6-2, as it repeated as Class A champions.
Both teams have been strong again this winter and project to play into March.
The Blue Devils won their first 10 outings, including a 5-4 home victory over Falmouth Jan. 3. After a 2-1 home loss to Cheverus, Lewiston rebounded by downing Bangor (3-1) and Gardiner (9-0).
The Yachtsmen started with wins at Massabesic (9-0), Scarborough (6-1) and Thornton Academy (5-3), then battled host St. Dom’s to a 3-3 tie. After a 4-2 home loss to Biddeford, Falmouth downed visiting Scarborough, 5-1. The new year started with a 7-3 loss at Greely in the “Dudley Cup” and a 5-4 setback at Lewiston. After a 5-3 home win over Portland/Deering, the Yachtsmen fell in overtime at Biddeford, 4-3. After twice beating Bangor, 4-2 at home and 5-2 in Bangor, Falmouth handled host Portland/Deering (9-2) before losing at York Monday, 4-2.
Saturday, the Yachtsmen returned to form and beat Lewiston for the first time in five tries.
Much of the first period was devoid of good scoring chances, but eventually, Falmouth would strike on the power play.
Less than a minute in, Blue Devils junior captain Alex Robert rushed in and shot, but Kidder made the save.
Falmouth’s first chance came in transition the other way, but Cady was denied by Lewiston junior goalie Jacob Smith.
After Kidder made a save on a bid from Blue Devils senior Gunnar Wade and Smith denied Yachtsmen senior Kyle Kaserman and senior Lou Mainella, the Blue Devils went on the power play at 6:46, but didn’t register a shot.
Falmouth got its chance man-up at 11:04 and the Yachtsmen capitalized, as with 3:13 to go in the first period, Hembre tickled the twine with senior Brendan Hickey and Cady getting assists.
Senior Garrett Tracy almost made it 2-0 at 12:37, but was denied and a bid from senior Evan Cox to tie the game for Lewiston sailed high, sending the contest to the first intermission with Falmouth in possession of a 1-0 lead.
The Yachtsmen had a 9-3 shots advantage in the first 15 minutes.
In the second period, the Blue Devils pulled even, but only momentarily.
After going on the power play at 4:58, Lewiston needed just 47 seconds to strike, as Robert set up Frechette for a shot which eluded Kidder to make it 1-1.
Falmouth didn’t let the Blue Devils keep the momentum, however, as after it killed another Lewiston power play, Cady produced a 2-1 lead when he rebounded Hickey’s shot past Smith with 3 minutes to go in the period.
Late in the session, Kidder denied Robert and made a save on a bid from senior Cam Dionne to preserve the lead.
The Yachtsmen outshot the Blue Devils, 9-5, in the second period.
As expected, Lewiston pushed for the equalizer in the third period, but Falmouth wasn’t about to buckle and went on to prevail.
After Kidder stopped shots from Robert and Frechette, Kidder denied a wrister from Frechette.
Hembre then put on a show to extend the lead, as at 6:50, he stole the puck, raced in and beat Smith for a 3-1 lead.
“I stole the puck and went wide,” Hembre said. “That was awesome.”
After Kidder made one more clutch stop, on Lewiston senior Ryan Bossie, Hembre put the puck into an open net with 43.7 seconds left and the Yachtsmen went on to the 4-1 victory.
“Our team stuck together after a tough game at York and a rough week in practice,” Kidder said. “We came out and got the first goal. It was a good team win.”
“We came out and played defense first,” Hembre said. “Coach made that our mindset. We came out and executed.”
“Defense wins championship at any level in any sport,” added Falmouth coach Deron Barton. “We hadn’t committed to it early in the season. It was spotty, hit or miss. A commitment like that against a team like that is what we need every night. We’ve always preached that a strong defense creates a strong offense. If you play well in your own end, scoring opportunities present themselves.
“We had an interesting week. We hit the reset button. We had to protect against complacency.
“This is just one of those traditional rivalries. It’s lacking at a more consistent level in high school hockey. They love playing us, we love playing them. Our kids love playing each other. It’s always a game where anyone can win.”
Falmouth was outshot, 13-5, in the third period, but still wound up with a 23-21 advantage. Kidder made 20 saves.
“It’s been a little nervewracking, but I have the team by my side,” said Kidder. “The defenseman play a huge role. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
“Sam is a success story,” Barton said. “A young player who came in with a lot of weight on his shoulders. We’ve worked with him. He’s committed to us, we’ve committed to him. He’s such a competitor. He’s playing with the maturity of an upperclassmen. He gives us a chance to win.”
Smith stopped 20 shots as well for Lewiston.
Lewiston (first in the Class A North Heal Points standings) is back in action Wednesday when Thornton Academy pays a visit. After going to Bangor and Cony, the Blue Devils close at home versus Biddeford.
Falmouth (now third behind Cheverus and Biddeford in Class A South) has two showdowns in three days against Cheverus upcoming. Tuesday, the teams meet in Falmouth. Thursday, they play in Portland. The Yachtsmen then close the regular season at home versus St. Dom’s.
“We have to fine tune and play as a team,” Kidder said.
“We can’t slow down,” Hembre said. “We have to keep our foot on the gas. We have to play every game like it’s Lewiston. We know we can do it now. We just have to keep executing.”
“There’s more parity in the South than there’s been,” Barton added. “Consistency is the name of the game going into the playoffs. We look at this as preparation for the playoffs. The schedule is by design. We want hard competition at the end and that’s what we have.”
Falmouth freshman goalie Sam Kidder denies Lewiston senior Chad Lynch for one of his 20 saves.
Falmouth senior Marcus Cady carries the puck up the ice.
Falmouth senior Lou Mainella takes a shot.
Falmouth senior Theo Hembre shoots and scores.
Falmouth senior Steve Camuso shoots as Lewiston senior Chad Lynch defends.
Falmouth junior Garrett Tracy takes a shot as Lewiston senior Ryan Bossie looks on.
Falmouth freshman Owen Drummey handles the puck while Lewiston junior John Mathon defends.