AUBURN — Poland/Gray-New Gloucester christened its new hockey home in dramatic fashion Tuesday.

Kolby Arnold’s goal with 32.3 seconds remaining gave the Patriotic Knights a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over a scrappy young Brunswick team at Ingersoll Arena in their season-opener.

The goal capped a roller-coaster final 83 seconds for both teams.

The Patriotic Knights got their first power play of the game when James Waring was sent to the box for interference. Ryan Davala appeared to score the game-winning goal three seconds into the power play, but it was waived off. Thirty-nine seconds later, Sam Mayer was called for slashing, putting the teams at even strength.

But the 4-on-4 may have been just what Arnold needed. Brunswick had done a good job keeping the 12th-leading scorer last year in Eastern A (22 goals) under tight watch the entire game. But then the senior center collected a loose puck in the neutral zone, skated down the left side, juked around a defender at the blue line and fired far post past Brunswick freshman goalie Jason Blier.

“Time was running low and I knew we needed a break, so we rushed up and it went in,” Arnold said. “I saw a teammate (heading for the far post), but I saw the defense between us, so I decided not to pass.”

“They were very physical with Davala and Arnold and did a very nice job on them,” said Poland/GNG coach Aaron Rand, whose team had previously called Hebron Academy’s ice arena home. “He just got free at the end and he had an extra burst of speed, for sure.”

Brunswick (0-2), which has 12 freshmen on its roster and starts six of them on its first two lines and in goal, withstood early pressure from Poland/GNG thanks to Blier (21 saves). He kicked away two Arnold bids early, then stopped Cody Girouard rebound of an Evan Baggs shot late in the first to keep the contest scoreless after one.

“We didn’t come out tentative like we did our first game (an 8-2 loss to Maranacook),” Brunswick coach Mike Routhier said. “We were quicker on pucks, stronger on pucks and we kept it simple. We’re the smaller team, but we bounced back up and kept going.”

Blier stood firm against a Davala rush about midway through a very physical second period. The Dragons then took the lead on a hustle goal where Ryan Maciejewski shot from the right circle then followed his shot all the way to the other side of the net. Tyler Niven tipped the puck across the crease to Dwayne Palmer, who knocked it past Matt Ouellette (18 saves) for a 1-0 Brunswick lead at 12:03.

“It was frustrating,” Arnold said. “We let up our pressure and we didn’t really get anything done during the middle of the game, but we knew we needed something (in the third period).”

The Patriotic Knights came out on their toes for the third period, but the Dragons still had a chance to double their lead when a shot squirted through Ouellette, who found the puck just in time as it sat unattended to his right with Palmer crashing the net.

The young Dragons got caught playing back on their heels when Arnold found Davala on the left wing for a back-hander that tied the game at 2:23.

“The third period, we were finally able to get 10 or 11 shots on goal,” Rand said. “We had a little bit more pressure and held them in their zone. Give them credit. They really worked hard tonight.”

“We were gassed a little bit,” Routhier said. “We’re skating two-and-a-half lines and pretty much three deep. Credit goes to them. They had a couple of good individual efforts.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: