AUBURN — Edward Little/Leavitt/Poland’s game plan worked to perfection Saturday night, and it still wasn’t enough to get undefeated rival St. Dominic Academy.

The Red Hornets held their rivals well below their scoring average for the season, but the Saints scored just enough to skate away with a 2-1 victory in a girls’ hockey game at Norway Savings Bank Arena.

“They’re a pretty tough team to play against,” Red Hornets assistant Larry Morin said. “(The game plan) was just take care of your defensive zone first, and the girls did that very well for the most part. We can’t complain, they did everything we asked of them. Kept it a game right till the end. I wouldn’t say they outplayed us, I think we played pretty even with them.”

It took the Saints (10-0) nearly six minutes to even get their first shot on net, and they put a modest-for-them eight on frame the entire first period.

None were as perfectly set up as Kristina Cornelio’s breakaway with just over five minutes left, but Red Hornets freshman goalie Manny Guimond denied the golden opportunity. Guimond also made a save without the help of her stick during a St. Dom’s power play later in the period.

“Usually the goals come quick and easy for us, and when they don’t they get a little bit hyped,” St. Dom’s coach Paul Gosselin said. “And so they were hurrying a little bit too much tonight, and got excited. So I think we had some missed opportunities.”

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The Red Hornets’ best opportunities came early in the second period, when they fired the first six shots on net before the Saints collected their first more than six minutes in.

Cornelio got her revenge midway through the second, with some puck luck on her side. A shot from in front deflected up and over a sprawling Guimond to finally get the high-scoring Saints on the board. Izzy Frenette and Bugsy Hammerton assisted on the goal.

That 1-0 lead stuck heading into the third period, giving the Red Hornets hope of pulling the upset — something not many other teams can say this season against a Saints team that has averaged more then 10 goals per game.

“We’re a pretty good third-period club,” Morin, filling in for ailing head coach Shon Collins, said. “We know how to come back, and they did that. They didn’t give up.”

The task at hand was made much harder less than a minute into the third, when Frenette sniped a shot from the top of the right circle that snuck by Guimond. Cornelio assisted on the goal.

“They were able to put it together, finally, and get the second goal,” Gosselin said.

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The Red Hornets cut the deficit in half a little more than five minutes into the period when Haley Frolich wrapped a shot around the right post from behind the net, spoiling Payton Winslow’s shutout bid. Linemates Mariah Vaillancourt and Madi Simard assisted on the goal.

“You could tell, the girls on the bench, they were pumped up,” Morin said. “They weren’t giving up for nothing. We were down 2-0 the other day to Falmouth and came back, won 3-2 in overtime. So they know we can do things in the third period.”

But that was as close as the Red Hornets got, having to settle for what Morin admitted was a moral victory.

The Saints were finally able to breathe a sigh of relief after the final horn sounded on their closest game of the season. Gosselin said he was happy it happened the way it did.

“Absolutely love it. We’ve been waiting for this game for a while,” Gosselin said. “We’ve had some real blowouts, and it’s actually not good for my girls. So for them to get in a position where it’s actually close and I get to see how they react and what they do is beneficial for us.”

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