Cam Charron, right, of Falmouth and Zack Pelletier of St. Dom’s meet on the boards during the first period in Auburn on Wednesday. Pelletier avoided the penalty box in the game, but a few teammates weren’t so lucky in the loss.  Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

There’s obvious excitement at the start of any new sports season, but where there’s an influx of exuberance there often times can also be a lack of discipline. 

That can spell disaster in hockey, where discipline can be the difference between winning and losing. 

Just in the first week of the season, that difference was felt by a few teams, and one team even experienced both sides. 

St. Dominic Academy has been burned by opposing power plays twice in its first two games, but only one of those was a loss. The Saints survived three power-play goals in their opener against South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete, but couldn’t do the same while giving up three more to Falmouth. 

“It’s a tough lesson we’ve had (in) both our games,” first-year Saints head coach Dan D’Auteuil said after the loss to Falmouth on Wednesday. 

“I think it’s not enough discipline,” he added. “I think they’ve been a little selfish, taking the slashing penalty or macho trying to run somebody, and just not realizing that it puts us down. We skated earlier this week because of it and we’re probably going to skate some more tomorrow. At some point they got to figure it out.” 

Mt. Ararat/Lisbon/Morse coach A.J. Kavanaugh called his team’s play “undisciplined” in a 1-0 season-opening loss to Poland/Leavitt/Oak Hill/Gray-New Gloucester on Saturday. The Eagles went on the penalty kill five times, and while they didn’t allow a goal down a man, they also couldn’t find any offense themselves. 

“We just spent too much time in our own end because of the man-advantages,” Kavanaugh said. 

Capital Region was one team that did survive giving up a plethora of power plays, holding the PLOG Kings scoreless despite five man-advantages on Wednesday. Hawks coach Jack Rioux admitted he’d rather his team not be shorthanded for as long as they were, but called the penalty kill “flawless.” 

PRIOR POUNDINGS HELP HAWKS

Heading into Wednesday’s opener for Capital Region (Maranacook/Winthrop/Madison/Spruce Mountain/Lawrence), the program was used to seeing a high number of shots. 

The season opener against the Kings was no different as Thomas Thornton saw 30 shots. There was no panic in the Hawks, as they appeared to know what they were doing in the 1-0 win. 

“Our (defense) is really solid,” Rioux said. “This year we have the maturity that we didn’t have previously because we have been (a team that sees a lot of shots against) for so long, we know how to play defense now. Now we need to put more offense on the board.” 

Capital Region goalie Thomas Thornton makes a save against Spencer Berube of Leavitt/Gray-New Gloucester/Oak Hill/Poland in Auburn on Wednesday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Wednesday’s win was led by Thornton, who made 30 saves, and the past three years he had been sitting behind goalie Will Hays, who was outstanding in goal for the Hawks. Thornton didn’t look like he was just making his second career varsity start. 

“He had one last year and following Will Hays, he has some big skates to fill, but he did an excellent job tonight,” Rioux said. “I couldn’t ask more from him, his vision was great, he was tracking (the puck), there’s not much there to fix.” 

Rioux said after Thornton’s starting debut last year — also against the Kings — that it was “my job is to get him ready for that for next year.” Thornton certainly looked ready Wednesday. 

A NEW SAINTS STAR? 

After graduating last year’s Becky Schaffer Award winner, Avery Lutrzykowski, the St. Dom’s girls hockey team had a large void to fill in the scoring department. 

It’s only been three games, but Madi Pelletier has shown a flash of star potential. 

The Gray-New Gloucester junior, who spent her first two seasons as part of a co-op with Greely, already has five goals and two assists. Her and the Saints were shut out in their season opener, but Pelletier scored a pair in a win over Yarmouth/Freeport, then tallied a hat trick and assisted on two other goals in a victory over Falmouth. 

Saints coach Paul Gosselin called Pelletier a “good, strong player.” 

“Just getting her to play to her strengths and it’s working well,” he added. 


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