LEWISTON — The hockey rivalry between Waterville and Lewiston may have dissipated since the Purple Panthers moved down to Class B two years ago, but the two traditional hockey powers know there is still something to be gained from using each other as a measuring stick.

Unbeaten Waterville got the full measure of Lewiston in the final two periods of their only meeting this season and hung in with the top-ranked team in Class A North most of the way before succumbing 5-1 at Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

“We knew coming in here this was going to be a heck of a hockey team to play. This is getting us ready for later on down the road,” Waterville coach Dennis Martin said.

Alex Rivet and Jeromey Rancourt each tallied a goal and an assist for the Blue Devils (10-1-0). Michael Oliveira scored the lone goal for the Purple Panthers (10-1-1), who are at the top of the Class B North Heal points.

Rivet and Rancourt figured in both of Lewiston’s first period goals. Rancourt gave the Devils the lead 1:25 into the game when the rebound off a Cody Doyon shot found him in front of a wide-open back door behind Waterville goalie Nathan Pinnette.

Oliveira tied it at just under the three-minute mark by following Andrew Roderigue’s shot from the lower left circle.

Rivet put Lewiston (10-1-0) back in front after Rancourt wheeled out of the left corner with the puck and crossed it to the slot, where Rivet skated unaccompanied but still wasted no time wristing it top shelf for the 2-1 lead at 8:19.

“I thought we moved the puck exceptionally well against a hard-working defensive team,” Lewiston coach Jamie Belleau said.

Waterville couldn’t capitalize on two power plays in each of the first two periods. The Panthers were outshot, 23-14, but couldn’t complain about lack of opportunities.

“When you’re playing a team like Lewiston, you’ve got to take advantage of every chance and every break you get,” Martin said. “They won the loose pucks and they outworked us in certain parts of the game. Our goaltender held us in there.”

After Doyon tipped home a screen shot by Cole Ouellette to make it 3-1 5:17 into the second. Pinnette (18 saves) kept the margin at two the rest of the period with several outstanding stops. It started with a sliding save to rob Sam Frechette, then wasn’t fooled when Rivet connected with Doyon in front with a behind-the-back pass.

“Nathan’s been improving every game,” Martin said. “Any mistake we made, they turned into a nice offensive chance for them.” “I thought in the second period, we really took it to them and only got one goal for it,” Belleau added.

Kyle Morin and Alex Robert added insurance goals in the third period.

“And then late in the second, after taking it to them for the whole period, we take a penalty and let them have a chance to get back in the game,” Belleau said.

Lewiston limited the quantity and quality of Waterville’s chances with the extra man. Lewiston goalie Jacob Strout made 13 saves.

“(Waterville was) one of two teams in the state that was undefeated. They wanted to come and beat Lewiston and show that they’re 10-0-1 record is for real,” Belleau said. “Likewise, we knew that that was a quality hockey team, and we wanted to make a statement as well and be the first team to beat a very good, well-coached squad.”

Waterville will look to get back on the winning track with back-to-back games at home against Houlton/Hodgdon/Southern Aroostook/Katahdin on Saturday and Messalonskee on Tuesday.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33


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