Saturday, at the team’s shared home at Norway Savings Bank Arena, the Red Eddies finally buried those demons.

Senior Liam Benson scored a natural hat trick as EL rallied back from an early deficit to topple the Saints, 4-2.

EL head coach Craig Latuscha had never defeated the Saints (4-5) in his 10-plus years at the helm. The last time the Red Eddies (7-3) came out on top in the cross-town rivalry, Latuscha was an assistant on a team that beat St. Dom’s for the Class A state championship in 2004.

“This was one of the games that was marked down on our calendar,” Latuscha said. “One of those games that we wanted to win. One of our goals.”

Latuscha said his team has come close in the past, noting a 4-3 overtime defeat a year ago. Saturday’s matchup looked like it could go that way, as well. The Saints jumped on the board first when Reese Farrell’s shot from the right side banked in off an EL player 10 minutes in. That came less than four minutes after Benson’s shot from the point rang off the bottom of the crossbar and out.

The Red Eddies tied it up just over two minutes later when Cody Woodward scored on the power play, but the Saints took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission when Gavin Bates’ shot from the boards was re-directed by Justin Keaney with 41 seconds left.

“I told them, ‘It’s a long hockey game, and you got two more periods. You’re all over them, you’re playing pretty well. Just keep shooting the puck,'” Latuscha said.

One player who never stopped shooting was Benson, an All-State forward and three-year varsity player. He knotted the game with just over five minutes to go in the second, passing the puck to himself through a St. Dom’s defender before beating Saints goalie Alex Michaud.

“As a family, we bring each other up when we score,” said Benson, who jumped into the boards near the EL cheering section as it roared.

Benson then put the Red Eddies on top for the first time 1:36 into the third period off of a faceoff.

“He’s a gamer,” Latuscha said of Benson. “When the big games are on the line, he’s going to show up to play.”

It was fitting that Benson found the puck on his stuck with an empty net and an open shot late in the game. The Red Eddies were on their fifth power play, but down one goal the Saints were forced to pull Michaud. Benson received a pass from Ben Steele and fired a shot right at the red line with exactly one minute left to put the final nail in the coffin.

“We just wanted to put the game away as a team right there,” Benson said. “We did it.”

The assist was the third of the game for Steele, the Red Eddies’ captain.

“They just kept plugging, they kept putting puck on net, and they kept working hard,” Latuscha said. “I’m proud of them. They worked hard for three periods.”

Michaud stopped 28 shots, and St. Dom’s assistant Dan D’Auteuil (who along with fellow assistant Richard Paradis split head coaching duties with Bob Parker suspended for the game) said none of the three goals that went past the senior netminder were his fault.

It was a disappointing performance overall for the Saints, who have lost three straight after a four-game winning streak.

“I think they kind of stepped up the pressure, and we couldn’t match it,” D’Auteuil said. “They started beating us to pucks, and they wanted it. They wanted it a little more than we did.”

For the Red Eddies, Saturday’s win marked one of their biggest victories of the season so far.

“It’s a huge win,” Benson said. “I think it proves that we can play with anyone in the league.”

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