Edward Little’s Gunnar Winslow keeps Biddeford’s Jamie Sperlich at arm’s length during Tuesday’s Class A boys hockey game in Auburn. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

AUBURN — Edward Little dominated the first two periods but only had a one-goal lead to show for it heading into the final period.

Then the Red Eddies scored twice a little more than a minute apart in the third period. 

The goals came at an important time because the seventh-seeded Eddies had at least one player — and sometimes more — in the penalty box for the remainder of their 4-0 victory over 10th-seeded Biddeford/Massabesic/Old Orchard Beach in a Class A boys hockey preliminary game Tuesday at Norway Savings Bank Arena. 

“We were dominating the game,” Edward Little coach Norm Gagne said. “There was no need of what went on in that last (six) minutes of the game.”

The Red Eddies (9-10) advance to the Class A quarterfinals, where they’ll take on second-seeded St. Dom’s (14-4).

Logan Alexander and Jack Keefe scored 66 seconds apart to turn a 1-0 lead into a 3-0 advantage with 5:57 to play. But 26 seconds later the Red Eddies put two players in the box thanks to a misconduct tacked on to a minor and an unsportsmanlike penalty. Another Edward Little player joined the box party less than a minute later to give the Tigers (4-12-3) a 5-on-3 advantage, and they sent three shots at Red Eddies goalie Gage Ducharme during the two-man advantage. 

The Tigers got another two-man advantage moments after the first one went away, but they again didn’t find the back of the net. 

Edward Little’s Logan Alexander sends the puck over to a teammate as Biddeford’s Montgomery Lecerc keeps track of the play from behind him during Tuesday’s Class A boys hockey game in Auburn. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“They knew it would be a long shot,” Tigers coach Jason Tremblay said. “Just weren’t moving the puck that well. Bottom line, got to move the puck, got to make two passes tape-to-tape and get shots off, and that wasn’t happening.” 

Tremblay called a timeout at the start of the second 5-on-3 opportunity, but it was the Red Eddies who scored out of it, as Cam Sturgis fed Keefe for a shorthanded empty-net goal with 2:16 left.

“It was very, very relieving to get that empty-netter and know that it was pretty much over at that point,” Sturgis said.

Wednesday’s victory is Edward Little’s eighth straight. It’s also the first time it has scored more than three goals this season.

Sturgis got the Red Eddies going in the opening minutes of the game. 

Edward Little’s Cam Sturgis gets a congratulatory hug from teammate Tanner Holbrook after Sturgis scored the first goal of the night during Tuesday’s Class A boys hockey game in Auburn. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

The senior defenseman took advantage of a rare opening during the battle between defensive-minded teams and fired a backhand shot from the slot past Tigers goalie Gavin Sperlich 2:10 into the contest.

“It was huge to get that first one on the board, and to get momentum on our side in the beginning of the game and kind of carry that for the rest of the game,” said Sturgis, who admitted he was surprised by the scoring opportunity that was presented to him.

The Tigers had two chances on the power play in the first period, but didn’t muster a shot on goal during either man-advantage, and finished the frame with just one on-target attempt. 

“Our penalty-killing had to be good tonight,” Gagne said. “That’s one of the things we’re good at, is penalty-killing. I’m glad that we are, but I wish we wouldn’t take the penalties that we take.” 

Sperlich, meanwhile, stopped eight shots in the first, including a Wesley Clements breakaway right after the Red Eddies killed off the second penalty less than a minute before the intermission. 

Edward Little’s Campbell Cassidy and Biddeford’s Brayden Locke scuffle during Tuesday’s Class A boys hockey game in Auburn. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Sperlich came up even bigger in the second, stopping all 11 shots he faced, seven of those coming during a five-minute Edward Little power play. He also stopped a Jack Keefe breakaway early in the frame. 

“He was good in the first two periods. He helped us out in the 5-on-4 there, for the five-minute major,” Tremblay said. “He played his game like he usually does.” 

The Red Eddies didn’t allow a shot on goal in the period until Jamie Sperlich’s power-play shot with 1:30 left. Edward Little held a 20-2 advantage in shots on goal after two periods, but still clung to just a 1-0 lead. 

St. Dom’s, which had a bye into the quarterfinals, beat Edward Little in both regular season meetings between the Auburn squads, but that was before the Eddies began their eight-game winning streak. Gagne said EL has some things to spruce up if they want to keep advancing.

“There’s no way we can play the way we did tonight in that third period and expect to come out a winner,” Gagne said. “We’re going to have to clean that up or we’re going home.” 


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