GORHAM – The Bonny Eagle hockey team (4-6) got back on the winning track Tuesday night at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham, topping the Fryeburg Academy/Lake Region Ice Cats (4-4) by a score of 3-1. Bonny Eagle’s Garrett McElrath turned away 13 of 14 Ice Cats’ shots while Topi Laakso made 28 saves in the losing effort.

Its been an up and down season thus far for the Scots as they have seen their wins and losses come in bunches. After starting the season 1-1, the Scots proceeded to lose their next three before winning back-to-back games against Noble and Westbrook. After losing their next two to Marshwood and Windham, the Scots hoped to once again correct the ship.

On Tuesday night, Scots struck first as a breakdown in the neutral zone for the Ice Cats allowed Bonny Eagle’s Josh Bagley to get behind the defense. Teammate Kyle Whitman hit him in stride just past the red line and sent him in with nothing but a sheet of ice in front of him.

Bagley deked to his forehand before pulling the puck to his backhand and lifting it over the glove of Laasko to put the Scots out front.

“That was our freshman and sophomore line,” said Bonny Eagle coach Mark Whitman. “It’s where most of the talent on this team is.”

For the young Scots, who dress seven sophomores and four juniors, it was imperative for them to get off to a quick start in order to settle in and allow their defense to play with confidence.

Bonny Eagle dominated the majority of the period, at one point outshooting the Ice Cats 7-1.

The Ice Cats were able to weather the storm and finally start generating opportunities in the Scots’ end. Their best chance in the first came when Ice Cat forward Oskari Filppula was able to take advantage of a Scots’ defensive zone turnover and split two defenders before firing a point-blank shot into the chest of McElrath.

Filppula wasn’t able to get everything he wanted on the shot thanks to a timely hook put on him by Whitman. While Whitman’s decision may have prevented a goal, he was called for a penalty, sending the Ice Cats on the power play.

Whitman’s decision ultimately proved to be wise as the Ice Cats were unable to generate a shot before the penalty expired.

The Scots took the ice in the second holding a slim 1-0 lead, but looked to extend it after Lake Region’s Tyler Hill was whistled for tripping just 59 seconds into the second period.

Despite not being able to score on the man advantage, the Scots were given a second chance on the power play when Ice Cat defensemen TJ Leach went off for interference just two seconds after Hill vacated the penalty box.

The Scots squandered their chance at adding an insurance goal on the power play once again when Bagley was called for interference with 27 seconds remaining on the man advantage.

After a brief stint of 4-on-4 action, the Ice Cats went on the power play but were unable to maintain a quality possession inside the Scots’ zone.

With just under six minutes remaining in the second, the Ice Cats once again let a golden opportunity slip through their hands as a turnover by the Scots led to a short breakaway. McElrath proved up to the task again as protected the Scots’ 1-0 advantage.

A minute later, the Scots made them pay, as sophomores Josh Doustou and Jason Harmon capitalized on another odd-man rush.

Doustou lead the 2-on-1 charge before feeding Harmon in front of the net, Harmon beat Laasko for what proved to be the game winner with 4:40 left in the second.

The Scots suffered a setback with just three minutes remaining in the period as they once again found themselves shorthanded. Though the Ice Cats did not score, Whitman was lost for the majority of the rest of the game after being penalized for a hit from behind and given a 10-minute misconduct.

Again the Ice Cats failed to convert.

“I think that was our best game defensively all year,” said coach Whitman. “The boys played within the system, and it worked.

The Scots’ only defensive miscue came with just 33 seconds remaining in the game as they allowed the Ice Cats’ Tyler Hampden to be left alone in the slot to fire a shot over the glove of McElrath to pull his team to within one.

The Scots put any notion of a comeback to rest when Shayne Plummer was able to ice the Cats with an empty net goal with 16 seconds to play.

Moving forward, the Scots have a favorable match up as they take on the Massabesic Mustangs Saturday. Although the Mustangs are struggling this season, coach Whitman knows his team can’t take anyone lightly.

“Its Class A hockey and the way our schedule is shaping up, anybody can beat anybody,” he said.


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