AUBURN — Early on this season, the Edward Little/Leavitt/Poland Red Hornets have had a knack of getting out to an early lead on the opponent.

Wednesday’s “road game” was no different, with two first-period goals in a 4-2 girls hockey victory over the St. Dom’s/Gray-New Gloucester/Winthrop/Monmouth Saints at Norway Savings Bank Arena. Forward Sophia Hartley had two goals in the win.

“We have gotten some early goals at the start of the year,” Red Hornets coach Dana Berube said. “I think we start feeling good about ourselves; we are still learning to win and becoming a better team. We did a lot of good stuff tonight.”

Hartley opened the scoring to give the Red Hornets (2-1) a 1-0 lead early in the first period.

“It felt good (to score the first goal),” Hartley said. “It boosted all of our energy; we needed that (goal) to get up.”

Sophia Castagna, who had an assist on Hartley’s goal, later unleashed a slap shot from the left point that went on goal. Saints goal Aubrey White thought she made the save, but the momentum of the puck trickled past the goal line with 2:30 remaining in the first period to make it 2-0.

“Our girls can move the puck, and they had some good looks tonight. We didn’t capitalize on all of them, but when we needed to, we got it,” Berube said.

Saints coach Paul Gosselin said his girls played well in the opening 15 minutes of the game, despite falling behind on the scoreboard.

“I thought at that time we were controlling play,” Gosselin said. “We felt confident we could get back into it. You claw your way by getting one, then two. Then you go in the third tied.”

Six minutes into the second period, Bella Webster put home a rebound from a Georgie Davidson shot to put the Saints (0-4) on the board.

Both goalies made a big save in the middle of the period. First, it was White who made a big pad save. The puck went into the neutral zone and Saints forward Emma Roy, who just got out of the penalty box, went on a breakaway. Red Hornets goalie McKenzi Horton set herself and made a pad save of her own.

“It was a big save,” Berube said. “Roy is a dangerous player; we were keeping an eye on her for sure.”

The Saints tied the game at 2-2 when Horton tried to cover the puck at the goal line, but West Duffy jammed the puck into the back of the net with three minutes remaining in the second period.

The Red Hornets retook the lead when Kylee Spugnardi passed from the left circle to a waiting Hartley in the slot. Hartley redirected the pass into the goal four minutes into the third period.

“I think it was pretty big because it gave us the lead,” Hartley said of the goal. “It wasn’t a 2-2 game anymore; we had to be good on defense (the rest of the way).”

In the final minute, with the goalie pulled, Webster thought she jammed the puck past Horton to tie the game. The referees quickly waved it off.

“I didn’t see it, I asked the ref to come over, but they didn’t come over,” Gosselin said.

Gosselin added that Webster said the puck crossed the goal line.

Spugnardi scored an insurance marker with 19 seconds remaining in the game.

The Red Hornets were scoreless on four power plays, while the Saints didn’t receive a power play.

Horton made nine saves in the victory, and White stopped 23 shots.

“I think both goalies played well; they made some key saves at key times,” Gosselin said. “They kept the game close on both sides. So, it was a fun game to watch and play in.”


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