Red Hornets goalie Maranda Guimond swats away a shot by Emily Demers of the Bulldogs during Saturday night’s hockey game at the Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

AUBURN — Lucy Howe put Portland/Deering ahead early with a pair of goals, then Caroline Lerch put the game away for the Bulldogs with two more in the first period during an 8-1 girls’ hockey victory over Edward Little/Leavitt/Poland at Norway Savings Bank Arena on Saturday.

“This is one of the first games that we’ve played well at the beginning of the game,” Bulldogs coach Tom Clifford said. “I think if you look at even the games we’ve won, we’ve started behind. So they responded very well and came out, and we’ve had a couple really good, solid days of practice and I think they’re getting the ‘we have to compete in warmups’ to start there and go from there.”

Howe’s persistence paid off just over two minutes in, poking a second chance at a goal past Red Hornets (2-6-1) goalie Manny Guimond for a quick 1-0 lead. She finished off a pass from Kim Clifford just past the five-minute mark.

The Red Hornets staved off a Bulldogs (8-3) power play, with Guimond stopping five shots, but Lerch put Portland/Deering back on the board 11:14 in with a shot from the slot assisted by Clifford. She scored on her own 19 seconds later.

“I thought we lost D-zone coverage in the slot several times,” Red Hornets coach Dana Berube said. “I think we were so worried about our D-zone coverage that we were standing around watching a lot of play.”

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After sending 14 shots at Guimond in the first period the Bulldogs put 16 more on the sophomore goalie in the second, but it was Guimond who won the battle in the middle frame.

“Her second period was phenomenal. Some of the saves that girl makes you just don’t see other girls making those saves,” Berube said. “I think she would have liked to had a couple of those in the first.”

Meanwhile, the Red Hornets’ offense picked up in the shot category, getting two early in the frame and two more in the final two minutes. Caroline Tracey had the best look at Bulldogs goalie Adrianna Bodge, but her shot from the slot was denied by Bodge’s glove. Bodge then turned away a long shot through traffic off the ensuing faceoff to keep the game 4-0 heading into the third.

“If we play that way in the second for three periods… We’re learning how to play. We’re trying to get some consistency in our game, and once we start doing that we’re going to be a much better team,” Berube said.

The Bulldogs got back to their scoring ways in the third. Emily Demers scored a shorthanded goal 59 seconds in, and after Taylor Caillier ended the shutout for the Red Hornets just over six minutes Lerch and Howe completed their respective hat tricks with goals 14 seconds apart around the eight-minute mark. Lerch fed Howe for the final goal.

The line of Howe, Lerch and Demers combined for 15 points. Clifford said they’ve been that way “all year.”

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“The thing about having them is they set the tempo,” Clifford added.

Guimond finished with 35 saves on 43 shots. Bodge turned aside 13 of 14.

“In the big picture I was happy with our second period,” said Berube, who was ejected from the game with just over six minutes to play in the third. “It wasn’t horrible in the third, but the first, you can’t spot a team a four-goal lead and start coming back.”

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Red Hornets’ Brianna Doucette gets a shot on goal before Bulldogs’ Olivia Ives can get a stick on it during Saturday night’s game in Auburn. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Bulldogs forward Emily Demers, foreground, watches her shot bounce off the shoulder of Red Hornets goalie Emily Demers during Saturday’s game in Auburn. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)


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