AUBURN — The last thing Edward Little (losers of three straight) needed against Bangor on Wednesday night was an early deficit. Yet, that’s what the Red Eddies faced less than a minute into the game. They spent the next 44 minutes chasing the Rams, but to no avail. Bangor held off the host Red Eddies for a 3-1 victory in a Class A boys’ hockey clash at Norway Savings Bank Arena.

The Rams (7-4-2) made their mark at the start. A big Bangor hit in the neutral zone level EL’s Jason Cote 38 seconds into the game. Then 15 seconds later Josh Sherwood ripped a shot while skating across the blue that made its way into the back of the goal.

“They got a big hit to start the game off, and that kind of threw us off a little bit,” EL coach Craig Latuscha said. “Then unfortunately they got in that goal. The shot went in and we weren’t really mentally prepared to start the game.”

The Red Eddies (7-7) nearly let in another goal in the opening minutes, but Alex Landry slapped away a loose puck in the crease that got away from goalie Devin Dumont.

Edward Little had its chances on a pair of power plays in the first period, but four shots across the two man-advantages all were unsuccessful.

“We need to perform a little bit better maybe on the power play,” Latuscha said. “And take advantage of the chances that we did get, because we got some glaring opportunities tonight.”

Those power-play shots made up more than half of the Red Eddies’ total of six in the first period. They added just four more in the second period, a stat that pleased Bangor coach Quinn Paradis.

“Our defensive game plan is just to sure up the middle and take away the lanes, which I thought we did,” Paradis said.

The Rams went up 2-0 midway through the second period by scoring on one of their three power plays. Zach Cowperthwaite’s shot from the right side found its way up and over Dumont.

The Red Eddies gained some momentum heading into the third by cutting the deficit in half two minutes later. Cody Woodward and Cote skated down the ice on a 2-on-1, with Woodward on the left side finding Cote by the right post to make it 2-1.

“They’re learning. Pass the puck, stretch the ice, put your stick on the ground like you’re supposed to and you’re going to be alright,” Latuscha said. “That was a great play.

“I got to give my kids credit. We didn’t give up. We faced a little adversity and we could have gave up and completely collapsed, like we’ve done in the past. Today we kept fighting, kept working hard.”

Edward Little had its best period in the third, firing eight shots at Bangor goalie Zach Alden, who was up to the task of stopping all of them.

“Our goaltender played very well in net,” Paradis said. “Backing up to Derek (Fournier) is tough, and he came out and got a win for us.”

The Red Eddies had the edge in shots in the third, out-chancing the Rams 8-5, but Bangor got the only to go in. Nick Cowperthwaite scored from Cam Cota to give the Rams some distance against a EL team that was gaining steam.

“I was proud of our guys tonight,” Paradis said. “We haven’t played in a week, and we haven’t seen Edward Little all year. I thought they played a great game, and it was a true test for us coming on the road against a great Edward Little team.”

Dumont was put to work all game, facing 33 shots — including 21 in the second period — and stopping 30 of them.

“We talked about trying to limit the shots to them,” Latuscha said. “Obviously we didn’t do a good job with that.”

The two teams will meet again next Thursday in Bangor. Latuscha said the first meeting felt like a playoff game, and the two teams could certainly meet a third time in the postseason.

“I believe we can be better next time,” Latuscha said. “I honestly think if we put three periods together we can give them a better game.”

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