Bre Hunter of Mt. Ararat/Lisbon/Morse races to the puck with Rosie Panenka of Yarmouth/Freeport during a game Thursday at Travis Roy Arena in Yarmouth. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

YARMOUTH — Out of all the sports that are playing this winter without spectators, ice hockey stands out.

Certainly, the sounds of the game do, anyway.

The scraping of the blades on ice as players cut across the rink. Sticks slapping the ice, the puck hitting the boards and coaches calling out line changes are all the echos throughout empty rinks these days. 

“I think the players have gotten used to it by now, but I don’t know if I have yet,” said Mt. Ararat/Lisbon/Morse girls hockey coach Jeremy Saxton, after his team skated to a 3-1 victory over Yarmouth/Freeport on Thursday at Travis Roy Arena. 

Eagles winger Sarah Moore said there are some pros and cons to weigh when it comes to the empty arenas. 

“It’s a lot to get used to, but I know I can hear my teammates better on the ice this year,” she said. “Of course we’d rather have fans here cheering us on, but our communication has been great on the ice to make up for it.”

Yarmouth/Freeport freshman winger Rosie Panenka said she missed the energy a crowd can bring.

“In a sense it can help when we’re talking with one another, but we try to feed off energy from the fans and the bench,” said Panenka. “This year we just have to make up for the lack of crowds with our energy on the bench.”

The game Thursday was a rematch from just six days ago, when the Eagles also edged the Clippers, 3-1.

Megan Reed of Mt. Ararat/Lisbon/Morse, left, fights for the puck with Averil Sahagian of Yarmouth/Freeport, during a girls ice hockey game on Thursday at Travis Roy Arena in Yarmouth. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

Clippers head coach David Intraversato said his team played a lot better in the rematch.

“I thought we played solid, we still haven’t seemed to find our rhythm yet,” he said. “There’s no better time for us to pick up the pace than these next few days, I think we’ll bounce back.”

The Clippers were playing their first of three straight games in three days. They travel to Auburn on Friday to take on St. Dominic before hosting Lewiston on Saturday afternoon.

Of the 18 Yarmouth/Freeport players, just five are upperclassmen, and all of them are seniors. Intraversato plays all seven freshmen, including starting goalie Erin Balduf, who made 13 saves.

“We’re a young team and still trying to get to know each other on and off the ice,” Intraversato said. “I’m very happy with how we played, we outshot them and held it in their zone for a good amount of time. Regardless of the score, the girls played a pretty good game of hockey today.”

The Clippers outshot the Eagles, 18-16.

The Eagles took control in the second period, behind two goals in the period to maintain control and keep the pressure on the Clippers. 

A Sarah Moore goal midway through the second that doubled the Eagles lead seemed to all but secure the victory, although the Clippers did what they could to keep the Eagles on the edge of their skates. 

Sophie Smith of Yarmouth/Freeport, right, and Ema Hawkes of Mt. Ararat/Lisbon/Morse battle for the puck during a Thursday afternoon game at Travis Roy Arena in Yarmouth. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

“We played big and just passed the puck around, it feels good to take what you did in practice and execute it during a game,” said Moore, who scored two goals. “We just want to keep this momentum on our side as the season rolls on.”

Moore opened the scoring in the first just over five minutes into the game. After a shot by Eagles forward Allie Hunter that was deflected by Balduf, Moore was in the right place at the right time to put home the rebound for a 1-0 lead.

Just 50 seconds into the second period, Hannah Hawkes doubled the Eagles lead, converting passes from Mallory Stuart and Caragh Beasley.

The Clippers cut the lead in half on a Panenka goal from Clippers captain Lizzie Guertler, but Moore responded a few minutes later to push the lead back to two. 

After a tough 7-1 loss to Lewiston on Monday, it was a nice bounce-back win for the Eagles, who improved to 3-2.

“We just went to work in practice on things we needed to improve on and had success with our plan,” added Saxton.

Eagles goalie Greta Marchildon stopped 17 of the 18 shots she faced. 

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