BRUNSWICK — The Edward Little and Mt. Ararat/Lisbon boys' high school hockey teams came into Thursday night’s Eastern Class A contest at Bowdoin College’s Watson Arena looking to begin a run toward a possible playoff spot.
Mt. Ararat/Lisbon left the ice with a leg up after getting an overtime power-play goal from Allan Leech just 23 seconds into the extra session for a 3-2 victory.
The Eagles are 3-4, while the Red Eddies dropped to 2-4-1.
“Coach said we had to go all the way, and really didn’t set anything up on the power play, but it just worked out,” Leech said of his game-winning goal, which came on a rebound of an Eric Stuckey shot. “With the playoffs coming up, it was a big game for us to win.”
“I thought they came at us the whole game, with us having trouble getting the puck out of our zone,” said Mt. Ararat/Lisbon coach Mike Bishop. “We were running three lines with them and just trying to stay with Edward Little.”
EL fired the first four shots of the contest on Eagles netminder Zach O’Connor, but Mt. Ararat/Lisbon took the lead when Shane Cyr tipped an Evan Tome shot over the shoulder of Red Eddies netminder Zachary Gosselin at 7:56 of the opening frame.
Despite a large territorial advantage for Edward Little, the Red Eddies had trouble getting shots through the Mt. Ararat/Lisbon defense led by Logan McGuire, Bru Abreu, Jason Kenney and Cyr.
Still down by a goal heading to the third period, Edward Little dug itself a bigger hole when Kyle Lussier converted his own rebound for a 2-0 Eagles lead 4:15 into the final frame.
The Red Eddies suddenly found their legs, firing a barrage of shots at O’Connor. Edward Little took the final 18 shots of the third period and, more importantly, tied the game on goals by Brendon Pelletier (9:52 of the period) and Branden Dyer (11:21).
“We shortened the bench a little at the end, and maybe we should have shortened it about two shifts earlier,” said Bishop, whose squad was outshot 32-11 through regulation, with O’Connor making 30 saves.
Near the end of regulation, EL’s Liam Benson was whistled for a slashing infraction, giving the Eagles a power-play opportunity to begin the overtime period.
Mt. Ararat/Lisbon made the chance pay off quickly. Stuckey carried the puck into the EL zone. His shot was blocked by the Red Eddies defense, but a fortunate bounce allowed Leech to gather the puck and slip a shot inside the post to give the Eagles the 3-2 victory.
“We settled down too much with a two-goal lead, and Edward Little took it to us,” said Leech. “We had to get our game back and refocus. We are happy to come away with this win.”
“It’s great for the team and for Allan, who showed some maturity,” said Bishop, who sat a handful of players, including Leech, when the Eagles took on rival Brunswick on Saturday (a 3-0 loss). “I think we are competitive. If we play like we should, there is not a team that we shouldn’t win or lose by a goal or two. It is composure. If this team keeps its composure, they can compete. Plain and simple."
Gosselin turned aside nine shots in the loss.