Edward Little’s Aaron Perkins on the left, throws his arms up in celebration after teammate Ben Cassidy scored a goal during Saturday night’s hockey game at the Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn.(Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)
AUBURN — Step by step, Edward Little has started the season 3-0 in head coach Norm Gagne’s first season at the helm.
Saturday night was the biggest step so far for the Red Eddies, who shut out previously undefeated Bangor 2-0 at Norway Savings Bank Arena.
“It’s huge. And the kids were talking about it’s been a while since they beat ’em,” Gagne said. “I was telling ’em, I said, ‘When I got up this morning, I had that feeling this was going to be our day,’ because after the last game we showed the mental toughness and the mental discipline, and I was really, really pleased. And we took another step forward again.”
The Red Eddies (3-0) had to grind it out against the Rams (2-1) in the first period, with each team sending five shots on goal and overcoming a penalty kill.
The first power play of the second period went in favor of the Red Eddies, and they took advantage. Ben Cassidy put EL up 1-0 less than five minutes into the period.
“The puck came off the boards hard and I knew I had to whack it in quick because the goalie was coming over, so I tried to do that and I did,” Cassidy said. “We were close a lot in the first, so to come out and get that goal was a huge lifter.”
The goal came in front of EL’s student fan section, and Cassidy said the players fed off their rowdy peers.
While the Red Eddies might have felt an extra boost in their spirits, they weren’t able to boost their score in the second. The score stood at 1-0, with EL holding just a one-shot advantage. Some of that had to do with Bangor goalie Zach Alden.
“The score could have been a lot higher,” Bangor coach Quinn Paradis said. “Our goalie made some great saves. They were driving the net, and he was still keeping the puck out.”
Alden denied Cassidy 15 seconds into the third, but EL’s junior forward got the last laugh six minutes later on a rebound of Eli Thibodeau’s shot.
“They out-worked us in the first part of the third period, and they scored, and we never really got our life back after that,” Paradis said.
EL senior goalie Ben Feldman made sure the Rams didn’t come back, stopping two solid shots during a Bangor power play in the third, and six total during the period. Feldman made 16 saves for the shutout.
Alden also made 16 saves for Bangor.
The Red Eddies now step into a matchup with rival Lewiston on Wednesday. Gagne called the upcoming game a “measuring stick” for his team, who he admitted will be underdogs.
“I feel that the next game will be a big, big test,” Gagne said. “Tonight was a big test, but every game from here on out, I told them, ‘We can’t be satisfied where we are.'”
Edward Little’s Marius Morneauand Bangor’s Dan Beal watch the puck skitter over to Bangor’s Zachary Cowperthwaite during Saturday night’s hockey game at the Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn.(Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Edward Little’s Aaron Perkins shoots the puck between Bangor’s Ben Lane and Anthony Caccese during Saturday night’s hockey game at the Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn. Bangor’s Hunter Neale skates in from the left to assist in the play. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Edward Little’s Ben Cassidy watches the puck slide away from the goal from his perch on top of Bangor’s Jacob Munroe during Saturday night’s hockey game at the Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn. Bangor goalie, Zach Alden watches from the left.(Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Bangor’s Zachary Cowperthwaite controls the puck behind the goal as Edward Little’s Gunnar Winslow chases behind him during Saturday night’s hockey game at the Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn.(Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Edward Little’s Logan Alexander maintains control after being hip checked by Bangor’s Ethan Scripture during Saturday night’s hockey game at the Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn.(Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)