AUBURN — In order to get a third win this season against Yarmouth/Freeport/Gray-New Gloucester, Edward Little/Leavitt/Poland needed a third goal in the third period. All those stars aligned for the Red Hornets, thanks to a second wind, for a 3-2 victory in a North regional girls’ hockey quarterfinal Wednesday at Norway Savings Bank Arena.

The fourth-seeded Red Hornets jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period, with Mariah Vaillancourt scoring a goal both early and late in the frame. The two goals came on just three shots in the first period.

“It was nice to get the team up nice and early,” Vaillancourt said. “The team helped me out a lot by getting the puck up there. It was just a bunch of hard work. Coach told us to shoot a lot on net … and pucks just went in.”

It was an important head start for the Red Hornets, who had a majority of the team recovering from the flu over the weekend. The toll of that showed in the second period. The No. 5 Clippers scored less than three minutes into the second, with the Red Hornets caught looking at Colleen Sullivan, who then passed to an open Georgia Giese for the goal.

Katie Clemmer tied it it 2-2 with just over a minute left in the second, sniping a shot from the slot through three Red Hornet players and past goalie Sarah Hammond.

“I think the girls, they started working together,” Clippers coach Meg Vaughan said. “We stress a lot about playing smart hockey and playing disciplined hockey, and not relying on individuals.”

“That second goal they scored, we had three people skating backwards below the hashmarks and letting the girl shoot. No one was stepping up to force the issue,” Red Hornets coach Shon Collins said. “I thought that was symptomatic across the whole second period. Came in and told them ‘look, when we pressure them they make mistakes, and we can capitalize on it.'”

Vaillancourt said the intermission between the second and thrid periods was a welcome one. it helped recharge the Red Hornets’ collective batteries — namely Saige Arseneault. The sophomore forward rallied from an early penalty in the third to create three quality scoring chances, including a shot that deflected off Clippers goalie Miranda O’Shea and off the crossbar, but stayed out of the net.

“They had one player who came out with fire under her skates and we couldn’t control her,” Vaughan said of Arseneault. “She didn’t score any goals, but she turned that game around for them.”

Abby Roy was able to score for the Red Hornets, taking a pass from Angel Drouin from the left point and putting it in at the right post with just over six minutes left.

“I think the third period to a certain extent was more just will power and mental fortitude than it was really having the energy inside us,” Collins said.

The Red Hornets also caught a break similar to the Clippers surviving Arseneault’s deflected shot off the crossbar. Hammond had a puck go through her legs in the crease by stay out of the goal early in the third. Collins said his team “did dodge a bullet” on the play.

The win was the closest of the three games for the Red Hornets against the Clippers, who they beat 5-2 and 10-1 during the regular season. Now the Red Hornets get a regional semifinal date Saturday with top-ranked and undefeated Greely, which won 5-2 and 3-1 earlier this season.

“You don’t get a break with Greely. You’ve got to come out and match their intensity, beginning to end,” Collins said. “The great thing about the playoffs, it’s a one-game playoff and anything can happen. And we’ve got no pressure on us this year.”

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