AUBURN — Leavitt/Edward Little and Greely met three times last season. All three games were decided by one goal. The third time, the Red Hornets were on the wrong end of the score and it ended their season.
Their first meeting of the 2012-13 season followed the same script, but with a different ending, a much happier one for the Red Hornets.
Taylor Landry scored twice and Tori Sanford stopped 30 shots in net as Leavitt Little handed the defending state champions their first defeat, 2-1, at Ingersoll Arena on Saturday night.
"It's a big win. They kicked us out of the playoffs last year," Landry said. "We just wanted to show that we could beat them."
Leavitt/EL (3-0) did it with excellent penalty killing and opportunistic offense from Landry. Greely (2-1) went 0-for-6 on the power play, ending a frustrating night by coming up empty-handed on a 6-on-4 after pulling their goalie 42 seconds into their sixth power play and with 30 seconds left in the game.
"Hard work is really what it comes down to on penalty kill," Leavitt/EL coach Shon Collins said. "We weren't giving them time and space to make the passes. I told the girls before the game that they're an excellent passing team and we've got to take away that time and space. If we give them time, they're going to find that open man to make you pay."
Landry made Greely pay for not clearing her or the puck out after her shot bounced off the pads of goalie Maura Perry and back to her. Landry sent it back between Perry's pads to put the Red Hornets in front for good at 7:15 of the second period.
The junior center doubled the lead at 10:11 of the third, taking a pass from Emma Martineau in the high slot and skidding a change-up between the pads of a screened Perry.
"Coach was telling us to use their defense as a screen and shoot low at five-hole," Landry said.
Greely, which ended up with a 31-16 advantage in shots, couldn't find any weaknesses in Leavitt Little's net. The Rangers fired at Sanford from all angles but couldn't get the puck behind her until Paige Tuller scored on a rebound with 3:35 left in the game.
"The girls were all over me. I saw (the puck) for a second and then it was gone," Sanford said. "I was definitely nervous before this game. Anything could have happened and I was a little jumpy out there today."
In their three wins, the Red Hornets have handed their opponents' their first defeat of the season. Next week, they'll face two teams already in the loss column, St. Dom's and Lewiston, but Collins isn't expecting a letdown.
"The last two games of the season have been a really good team effort, a lot of girls contributing and doing the little things that matter," Collins said. "All of the girls went out and were doing their jobs."