LEWISTON — The best season in the history of the Black Tigers came to a sweeping halt Friday night.

Gemma Landry had a goal and an assist, and top-seeded Lewiston/Monmouth/Oak Hill turned aside a valiant effort from No. 4 Winslow/Gardiner to post a 3-1 win in the semifinals of the North regional tournament at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee. The Blue Devils completed a three-game season sweep of the Black Tigers with the victory, having beaten them in the regular season, the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championship and the playoffs.

Junior Anna Chadwick cut a two-goal deficit in half for Winslow/Gardiner (12-7-1) by punching home a breakaway goal 2:32 into the final period, but Lewiston defenseman Grace Dumond answered with just over five minutes remaining to clinch it.

Black Tiger senior goalie Cassie Demers was brilliant in the losing effort, stopping 37 shots as the second-year co-op made its first appearance in the regional semifinals. Her sophomore counterpart Camree St. Hilaire made 13 saves to lead the Blue Devils (17-2-0) to the reigonal finals.

In all, Lewiston outscored Winslow/Gardiner 21-1 in the three games between the two teams this winter, with Friday’s semifinal easily the closest of the three.

TURNING POINT: Landry’s goal in the final minute of the second period effectively dashed any hopes of a comeback Winslow/Gardiner might have entertained.

The Black Tigers were outshot by a wide margin through two periods — 25-9 — and faced three Blue Devil power plays through 30 minutes of play. But Winslow/Gardiner was able to manage the game and stay within a goal of an upset bid late in the middle frame.

A blown coverage in front of the Winslow/Gardiner net left Landry open, and she took Sara Roberts’ feed out of the left wing corner and fired past Demers to make it 2-0 with just 31.6 seconds remaining until the intermission.

“I was not expecting that pass to come out,” Landry said. “It looked like it was going to get stopped by a skate, and then I saw the open net and just shot it.”

“That second goal was really huge,” Winslow/Gardiner coach Alan Veilleux said. “We were hoping to get out of there 1-0, and then come out in the third period only needing one goal to capitalize. It didn’t happen.”

BEND BUT DON’T BREAK: While most of the evening was played on ice tilted heavily in Lewiston’s direction, the Black Tigers employed an effective — if unattractive — game plan to stay in contention until late in the contest.

“We had to feel them out tonight,” Veilleux said. “We’d played two games with them already, and they really kind of blew us out. We were going to take it to them. We had nothing to lose… We knew we had to slow them down somehow. Cassie was huge tonight, and our defense was huge tonight.”

While icings, blocked shots and long dump-ins don’t make for free-flowing hockey, it did afford Winslow/Gardiner an opportunity to hang with the Blue Devils. It also helped the Black Tigers conserve energy after playing just 24 hours earlier in the quarterfinals.

“You match up the past history, you’d have thought this wouldn’t be so tight,” Lewiston coach Ron Dumont said. “But I’ve coached enough to know that nothing’s in the bank. Young team or not, (we) seemed ready and didn’t seem nervous. But I think they got set back a little bit when we weren’t getting anything and the clock keeps ticking.”

ONE FINAL PUSH: Chadwick’s goal came when slipped behind the Lewiston defense for a breakaway goal.

“We were pretty excited,” Chadwick said. “We knew if we could get one in, Lewiston would be like, ‘Oh crap, they’re in this and they want this, too.'”

St. Hilaire challenged with an aggressive try at a pad save on Chadwick, but the winger took a good whack at the puck to chip it over St. Hilaire to make it a 2-1 Lewiston lead.

“We were right back to square one, so to speak,” Dumont said.

The Black Tigers never got another good look at goal, leaving Demers to rely on her play — and three hit posts by the Blue Devils in the final period — to try and keep Winslow/Gardiner’s hopes alive.

UP NEXT: Lewiston/Monmouth/Oak Hill will play the winner of Saturday’s other semifinal between No. 2 St. Dom’s and No. 3 Greely/Gray-New Gloucester in the North regional final on Wednesday.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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