AUBURN — A two-man advantage can make or break a hockey game for a team.

Any hope for a comeback by Yarmouth/Freeport ended with a 5-on-3 chance late in the second period of its season opener against Edward Little/Leavitt/Poland. Not only did the Clippers not capitalize on the opportunity, but the Red Hornets padded their lead when it went to a 5-on-4 to bring a three-goal lead into the third period.

The Red Hornets closed it out from there for a 6-0 victory in a North region girls’ hockey game at Norway Savings Bank Arena on Saturday.

Taylor Cailler broke the Clippers’ (0-1) back on a shorthanded goal with 24.4 seconds left in the second. Her second goal of the game — and the second time assisted by Caroline Audette — gave the Red Hornets (1-0) a 3-0 lead.

“I skated away from the puck, and I was actually surprised that I got it. And I just went down and tried making a move, and got it,” Cailler said.

“It’s always tough to give up a shorthanded goal,” Clippers coach Megan Vaughan. “But we’re learning. First game of the season, young team. So we just got to work on puck movement and trusting each other.”

Any last hope for a rally ended in the opening minutes of the third. Caroline Tracy scored a pair of goals in the first two-plus minutes, including the first just 42 ticks into the period. Audette picked up her third and fourth assists on the goals, Isabel Berube provided the primary assist on the first tally, and Cassady Bussiere the secondary on the second.

“What I really thought was huge was we talked about it after the second, ‘We’re up by three,’ and I told them ‘Make sure we get the next goal,’ and I think we got two goals in the first two shifts in the third and really kind of put it in a good position for us,” Red Hornets coach Dana Berube said.

Cailler later added another shorthanded goal with a counter-attack rush that started off a pass from Bussiere.

Cailler, the Red Hornets’ senior captain, gave her team an early jolt by opening the scoring 2:23 into the game. She found an opening skating across the slot, then ripped a shot inside the top-right corner of the goal past Clippers goalie Allie Perrotta.

“It was our first couple minutes into the game and I just wanted to get out on the right foot, and I think it really set us off as a team,” Cailler said.

Cassady Bussiere doubled the lead midway through the second period with a power-play goal from the point. Cailler and Sophia Hartley assisted.

“I thought there was a couple of critical points in the game. Cassady’s goal was big,” Berube said.

That gave some breathing room after the Clippers came out flying to start the frame, with three quality shots on goal in the first three-plus minutes.

“I think they picked it up after that (first) period, and we were running around a little frantically to start the game,” Vaughan said. “I think they picked it up, and they just got to work on getting the puck in the net.”

Manny Guimond turned away all 13 shots she faced for the shutout, while Perrotta made 11 saves for the Clippers, who host Biddeford/Thornton Academy/Wells on Wednesday at 6:10 p.m.

 

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