AUBURN — Trevor Haley picked the perfect time to make a good first impression.

Haley, a sophomore and a defenseman by trade, filled in at forward for Edward Little coach Craig Latuscha as injuries continue to claim a handful of his players. He may stay at forward after his debut.

Haley slapped home a pass from Jared Pelletier from the top of the crease late in the second period, scoring what turned into the winning goal for EL as the Eddies scored an important 4-2 win over Cony at Ingersoll Arena on Thursday.

“I was very proud of him, that’s the first time he’s ever played forward,” Latuscha said. “he was great, got in front of the net. It was a big morale booster for us to win this game. We’ve played a tougher Tier I schedule this year compared to last year, and I think to get back to 7-7 that’s good for us right now.”

The win also keeps Edward Little in the playoff picture in Eastern Class A. The Eddies began the day in the seventh and final playoff position, and face a daunting few games to finish the campaign, including one each against St. Dom’s and Lewiston.

What started calmly as a mildly physical contest slowly escalated to a simmer in the opening frame.

EL added fuel to the pot later in the first when Pelletier flew up the left wing boards and around a Cony defender. Running out of real estate to Cony goalie Matt Swan’s right, Pelletier rifled a wrister through the keeper’s pads and celebrated a 1-0 Eddies advantage as the puck thumped the protective padding in the cage.

“I saw the five-hole was open,” Pelletier said. “I beat the defenseman up the left side and I saw the opening, so I took the shot.”

Dylan Nadeau sent the Eddies to the locker room on a positive note. Seeing no open passing options, the EL forward snaked his way through two defenders and bore down on Swan. Tripped up as he reached the crease, Nadeau deked to his backhand and stuffed the puck into the Cony goalie’s pads. Swan — with the puck — slid into the cage, giving the host Eddies a 2-0 lead.

“That was important to get off to that start,” Latuscha said. “It’s a very different game if we aren’t up 2-0 there.”

The Rams cut the Eddies’ lead in half just 24 seconds into the second, proving Latuscha’s point, when Dakota Bowie rushed through the EL defense and beat goalie Rich Belanger high blocker to put Cony on the board.

“I thought we outworked them on that one,” Cony coach Bruce Dostie said. “I thought even in the first period, we were playing with them, no problem, we were working hard and doing what we’re supposed to do. The story of our season, we can’t put the puck in the net. How many opportunities did we have tonight to bury the puck? We’re just not getting the bounces to put it in the net.”

The game got rough through the middle of the second, with the squads whistled for matching penalties on four separate occasions.

“You always expect a tough game against Cony, every year,” Latuscha said. “They play hard, and they play physical, and we knew that going in. I thought our penalty killers did a great job going six-for-six against their power play.”

In the waning minute of the middle frame, EL reestablished its two-goal advantage when Pelletier rushed up the left, curled behind the cage and dished to Haley in front. The sophomore ricocheted the puck off Swan and in to put the Eddies back in front by a pair.

“That was a great team effort, a good move to be there where he needed to be,” Pelletier said of his makeshift linemate.

Nadeau tacked on a fourth EL goal on the power play with 4:39 to play in the third period, and Cony’s Galen Casey rounded out the scoring with a breakaway goal at 14:07.

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