HALLOWELL  — Trailing by three goals after one period of play, Cony coach Shawn Johnson challenged his team between periods. And the Rams responded.

Led by a superb effort from the first line and senior Reed Hopkins, they scored five goals in the second period and two in the third to pull out a needed 7-6 victory over Mt. Ararat/Lisbon/Morse/Hyde. Cony — which includes players from Monmouth and Hall-Dale — is 2-4 in Class A North play, while Mt. Ararat fell to 3-3-1.

“It’s a huge win for us confidence-wise,” Johnson said. “Being down (three goals) after the first period, that was a real gut check for us. I challenged them between periods, ‘What are you guys going to do? Are you going to pack it in? Or fight through this?’ I’m just really proud of the team for not packing it in.”

The game grew into a shootout between Hopkins and Eagles senior Noah Austin. Both finished with four goals — including the last three by their respective teams — and added two assists apiece..

“It’s super important,” Hopkins said of the win. “They beat us the first time around so it’s good to win, especially for Joseph (Arps)”

Arps lost an edge early in the third period, and crashed head-first into the boards, laying motionless on the ice. The game was delayed 25 minutes while he was taken to the hospital by ambulance.


“He went in awkwardly and hit the back of his head,” Johnson said. “They wanted to be cautious. He was not unconscious, and all the extremities had movement. He had a really sore part in the back of his neck that they wanted to check.”

Five seconds after the teams re-took the ice, Austin scored to make it 6-5. It was his 15th goal of the season, and his eighth against the Rams. He scored four in a 6-4 win in Brunswick 10 days ago.

“He does that for us night in and night out,” Mt. Ararat coach AJ Kavanaugh said. “Unfortunately, we just didn’t hold up on defense.”

Hopkins had a little to do with that, too. He tied the game with 5:30 left to play, completing a 3-on-2 break with a shot from 15 feet right in front of the net. Sophomore Tyrell Sousa, who also had a goal, drew his second assist on the play.

Hopkins scored the game-winner with 3:23 left on a beautiful solo effort in which he pinned a clearing pass on the

Cony High School’s Joe Arps gets hit on the boards by Mt. Ararat ‘s Alex Dunn during a hockey game on Thursday at Hallowell. (Andy Molloy / Kennebec Journal)

left boards, skated around a defender and then deked Eagles goalie Cade Charron across the front of his goal to his glove side.


“I probably should have shot it,” Hopkins said. “I don’t think it was the best angle to put a deke on him because he was in the net. I think it just barely went under his glove.”

The Eagles weathered a five-minute major in the first period, then came back for three straight goals — two from Ian Struck and one by Austin — to take a 3-0 lead.

“We played a really good first period,” Kavanaugh said. “I was happy with our effort defensively. Unfortunately, our young defensive corps broke down a little. And some penalties cost us some power-play goals.”

The Rams cut the deficit to two goals on a nice first-line passing sequence between Hopkins, Sousa and Jacob Godbout on a 3-on-1 break with Godbout finishing.

“That got us going for sure,” Hopkins said.

The Eagles restored their three goal lead by a long shot from Austin broke through the pads of Rams goalie Matty Shea, who would come back early in the third period to rob Austin after he broke in alone.


The rest of the period belonged to the Rams. Hopkins scored after Godbout fed the puck ahead to him on a 2-on-1 break, then Sousa netted a power-play goal with Hopkins assisting. The crowd came to life when Rams defenseman Zack Whitney broke in alone and beat Charron with a backhand shot. Hopkins then scored his second goal of the game, this one from Sousa to give his team a 5-4 lead. An ill-timed penalty allowed the Eagles and Austin to tie the score at 5:28 left in the period. The Rams committed just four penalties — none from Hopkins — who didn’t retaliate after being poked in the face in the second period.

“I think that’s the first time I skated away all year,” he said.

The Eagles will look to end a three-game slide when they host Bangor on Jan. 3 at 6 p.m. inside Watson Arena.


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