Yarmouth goalie Allison Perrotta waits to make a save after a shot by EL/Leavitt/Poland’s Audrey Varney during Saturday night’s game in Auburn. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
AUBURN — Young teams need to learn how to win games.
The Edward Little/Leavitt/Poland and Yarmouth/Freeport girls’ hockey teams got halfway to learning that lesson Saturday night. Each team let leads slip, but after three periods of regulation and overtime they both skated off with a 3-3 tie at Norway Savings Bank Arena.
“I think we have a very young team this year, a very different team than last year,” Clippers coach Megan Vaughan said. “(We need to) learn how to play together, learn how to play a varsity sport. They’ll get there.”
Red Hornets coach Dana Berube, in his first game as head coach and with many players skating in their first varsity game, said he was “happy with the result.”
“I was happy that they stuck with it and that they competed the whole way,” Berube said.
The two young teams played to a scoreless stalemate in the first period, though the Clippers (0-0-1) nearly doubled up the Red Hornets (0-0-1) in shots on goal, with a 9-5 advantage. Red Hornets sophomore goalie Manny Guimond kept the Clippers out of the net early and often.
“She was huge early on. We were playing girls in unfamiliar spots with little-to-no experience,” Berube said. “She really held us in there in that first period-and-a-half.”
The Red Hornets were the first team to break through, late in the second period. Rebecca Raby scored her first varsity goal by squirting a shot through the legs of Clippers freshman goalie Allison Perrotta.
Vaughan immediately called a timeout to stop the momentum from getting away from her team.
“I just told them relax,” Vaughan said. “They started to run around and panic a little bit, so we just called a timeout to reset and relax and remind them to play their game they know how to play.”
The breather paid dividends soon after. Paige Caulfield and Paige Rinaldi scored goals 13 seconds apart less than three minutes after the timeout to give the Clippers a 2-1 lead.
The Clippers doubled their lead less than a minute into the third, with Lizzie Guertler finishing from the left circle.
Berube called his team’s response to that goal “a make-it-or-break time,” and the Red Hornets wasted no time in answering. Raby re-directed a feed from Caroline Tracey 50 seconds later to cut the deficit to one.
“We’ve been talking to the girls about not skating around with their stick at their hip, keeping it on the ice because it gives their teammates some other options,” Berube said, “and that was a prime example of her just going to the net with her stick down and she just quickly put it in.”
Taylor Cailler tied the game up 62 seconds after that with a mini breakaway, getting a shoulder ahead of the defender and beating Perrotta right to left.
Both teams had close calls in the waning seconds of regulation, but Guimond was able to poke away a shot with 11 seconds left and Perrotta casually deflected a last-second long shot by Cailler at the horn.
The Red Hornets started out hot in the overtime period, but to no avail. Perrotta poked away a chance by Cailler early on, and then the post later denied Cailler as well.
“She definitely got stronger as the game went on, I noticed,” Vaughan said of Cailler.
A power play with 1:24 left gave the Red Hornets one last chance, but Perrotta and the Clippers defense fought off the penalty to secure the draw.
“This is the best we’ve done against this (Red Hornets) team in my three years as coach. So a tie’s on the way to the win,” Vaughan said. “We got some goals in the net, so we just have to be a little stronger next time.”
Perrotta finished with 22 saves in her varsity debut, and Guimond had 27 for the Red Hornets.
After making a steal and breaking in on Yarmouth goalie Allison Perrotta all alone, EL/Leavitt/Poland’s Caroline Tracey takes a shot that Perotta swatted wide during Saturday night’s game in Auburn. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
After making a steal and breaking in on Yarmouth goalie Allison Perrotta all alone, EL/Leavitt/Poland’s Caroline Tracey takes a shot that Perotta swatted wide during Saturday night’s game in Auburn.