LEWISTON — For the second time this successful and explosive inaugural season for the Lewiston/Auburn Fighting Spirit, an NA3EHL opponent decided that eight is enough.

The Spirit’s snowman-shaped winning streak melted Saturday night, courtesy of the New England Stars. Ryan Gauvin scored both goals for the Tyngsboro, Mass., outfit, which skated away from Androscoggin Bank Colisee with a 2-0 win.

East division-leading L/A (16-2) hadn’t tasted defeat since a 6-0 loss Oct. 10 to Jersey Shore, the top team in the West. That ended an eight-game winning streak out of the gate.

Four of the Spirit’s eight victories in the most recent streak were shutouts, and the loss in New Jersey is the only game in which L/A has allowed more than two goals all season.

“I think we worked hard. I think we competed. Things were just a little bit sloppy tonight,” L/A coach Rod Simmons said. “We got away from our team systems which have given us success so far this season. We had guys pulling in all different directions on the rope in a sense.”

Dominic Lamanno made 25 saves to notch the Stars’ first shutout of the season. His 1.34 goals-against average leads a three-goalie rotation for New England.


Twenty of his stops came in the first two periods.

“We feel pretty comfortable putting any of the three out there,” New England coach Darryl Green said. “We kept to the game plan. It’s not easy to score on these guys and also keep the puck out. It was a total team effort.”

Gauvin, who leads the Stars in total points, scored his ninth goal of the season at 4:14 from Steve Crocker and Jake Latham.

He hit double digits on the power play with 7:23 remaining in the game, set up by Nolan Arbuckle.

“He’s really good on the defensive side of the puck, with the penalty kills. He does it all,” Green said of Gauvin. “He’s really matured. This is his fourth year with us, and he just keeps getting better and better and better.”

Claes Endre made 22 saves for L/A, which edged New England, 3-2, in their only previous meeting of the season. The Stars have won five of their past six games and are third in the East behind L/A and Cape Cod.


L/A cruised to a 6-1 home win Friday over the Maine Wild and couldn’t quite match New England’s intensity and continuity in the second half of the back-to-back.

“They took away time and space very well. They were aggressive,” Simmons said. “We didn’t have that type of game last night. We haven’t had a lot of that type of game this season, so it was a shock to us. We knew they were going to come hard. The effort was there tonight, but all-around the team play in the sense of everybody buying into the system wasn’t there.”

New England made its first extended second-period activity in the offensive zone pay off with the eventual game-winner.

Endre knocked down a breakaway bid by Ian Gately. The Spirit shuffled the puck to center ice, but the Stars won another battle there, leading to Gauvin’s goal.

“You’ve got to have all 20 guys contributing against a team like this, and we had that tonight,” Green said.

The tenor of the game changed dramatically in the second period, with the whistles adding up to 32 penalty minutes. New England lost starting right wing Mitchell Fehd to a 10-minute misconduct, and the Stars failed to take advantage of three power-play opportunities.


Simon Corriveau, Brady McNulty, Dylan Vrees and David Fish shone for the Spirit’s penalty-kill unit along with Endre.

“Claes had some big saves, which helped us. I think our overall defensive zone coverage was lacking tonight,” Simmons said.

Lamanno’s glove save to stone Vrees at the end of a 2-on-1 in the final minute was the highlight of a quick, scoreless first period.

He denied two point-blank offerings by Corriveau and squelched Brett Bittner’s bid on the rebound in a bang-bang sequence earlier in the stanza.

Lamanno also turned away Colby Siering at the doorstep in the opening moments of the Spirit’s lone power play in the period. That advantage evaporated when a Siering toppled Lamanno to the ice in frustration, picking up a roughing minor.

Corriveau also rang the post for L/A, and hustling Nick Johnson doused a breakaway opportunity for Bittner.

“It’s 17, 18, 19-year-old kids. If they were 100 percent consistent all the time, every time, every shift, they’d be playing college hockey right now,” Simmons said. “They’re here to develop. If we can use this as a learning experience to make us better tomorrow and in the future and in the playoffs, then that’s good. We’ll take a positive out of it.”

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