AUBURN — Each Cony action in the offensive zone was met with an equal and opposite action from Edward Little on Thursday.
The Eddies jumped out to an early, three-goal lead, and each time the Rams tried to counter, EL added to its total. The final tally continued to favor Edward Little in a 6-3 victory over Cony at the Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn.
“We’re a young team, and usually when we face adversity, we tend to shut down,” EL coach Craig Latuscha said. “Today we bounced back, faced a little adversity, counterattacked and put the game away at the end.”
Liam Benson and Cade Chapman scored a pair of goals each for the Eddies (9-5-0), and Devin Dumont stopped 19 shots to earn the victory.
“This was a big win, Heal Points-wise for us,” Latuscha said. “Our boys knew this was a big game for points, and it’s a team we lost to once and tied once last year. They’re a good hockey team. Our goaltender played well in the first period, kept us in the game, and we capitalized on the opportunities we got in the offensive zone.”
“We’ve kind of had this attitude of, when we start to get down, they start trying to do a little too much themselves,” Cony coach Chad Foye said. “We’ve continued that and we can’t break it.”
Cony formed a cooperative team this season with Monmouth Academy. Goaltender Thomas Small, one of those Monmouth students, stopped 16 EL shots in the loss.
EL got on the board first, at 6:22 of the opening period, when Branden Dyer tucked his own rebound past Small from the right circle.
Chapman made it 2-0 for the home team 1:08 into the second on a power play when he stuffed the puck 5-hole from the left side of the cage, and Benson ran the Eddies’ lead to 3-0 at 5:39 with a snipe from the center of the slot after a double move high in the zone.
“He took advantage of his opportunities,” Latuscha said. “When you get a chance to score, when you’re in front of the net, you’d better take advantage of that. Today, most of the team did that.”
Cony battled back with a goal at 6:32 off the stick of Andrew Keithley, but just before the end of the second, EL regained its three-goal edge. This time, Chapman stole the puck at the blue line and ripped a wrister blocker side.
“The first two periods was just a lack of effort, we played better in the third, I thought,” Foye said. “We got a little offense going. But again, they answered back when we scored. They answered back quickly.”
The give and take started early in the third. Austin Davis pulled Cony within a pair again at 4:25, only to have EL respond — twice.
Twenty-four seconds after the Rams’ second goal, Benson finished a 2-on-1 with a backhand flip from the left side of the net.
“Liam generates a lot of offense,” Latuscha said. “He’s pretty fast, takes people to the outside, and when he’s on, he’s on. The linemates he has with him are grinders, they have some skill as well, but when he’s on, he brings other people up around him.”
Linemate Cody Woodward benefited less than a minute later when he helped shovel the puck past Small for a 6-2 EL lead.
The Rams capped the scoring when Zachary Gagne netted a power play goal at 6:59.
“We played as a team the other night, early on against Brunswick,” Foye said. “We had a great game. That was probably our best game of the year. Then we come back and play one of our worst games. It’s frustrating. When you play that inconsistent, you never reach your potential, because you’re so up and down.”
The Eddies crawled back into sixth position in Eastern A with the win, and are shooting for the 4-5 position when the playoffs begin.
“Winning some games down the stretch will certainly help the cause,” Latuscha said.