FALMOUTH — Falmouth boys’ hockey coach Deron Barton preaches the importance of special teams and Tuesday afternoon at Family Ice Center, the Navigators’ special teams were the difference against Thornton Academy.

Falmouth trailed by a goal entering the third period before Xavier Grenier tied the score with the teams playing four-on-four. Then, Caden Barnard scored on the power play and the Navigators went on to a 2-1 victory.

Falmouth (2-2) handed the Golden Trojans their first loss in three outings.

“(Special teams have) always been one of my focuses and it’s always paid dividends for us,” said Barton. “We work a lot on it. It wins hockey games. Power plays and penalty kills win at any level.”

Falmouth enjoyed a big edge in possession and shots on goal (9-3) in the first period, but Thornton Academy goalie Gage Tarbox-Belanger (28 saves) kept the Navigators scoreless, with his most impressive work coming just over a minute in when he robbed Grenier one-on-one.

Falmouth started the second period on the power play, but couldn’t generate any offense, while the Golden Trojans had a couple short-handed opportunities, which Navigators freshman goalie Brandon White (13 saves) turned aside.

Finally, with 3:45 left in the second, Thornton Academy broke through.

The Golden Trojans got the puck deep, where Kyle Lesieur fought for it with Falmouth defenseman Sean MacDonald. Lesieur managed to center the puck to Evan Beaudette, who one-timed it past White.

But just 56 seconds into the third, with each side down a player, Grenier gave the Navigators the boost they needed. After Charlie Adams won a faceoff, Grenier got to the puck, turned, then fired a shot through traffic that got past Tarbox-Belanger to tie it, 1-1.

“We were dominating, but we couldn’t put it in the net,” Grenier said. “Charlie’s not a center, but he won the faceoff right to me, I brought it over the slot and put it on net. Good placement. That really changed the momentum and we were just rolling.”

After going on the power play with 9:02 to go, Falmouth got the winning goal 38 seconds later as Barnard fought for a loose puck in front before flicking it home. MacDonald and Adams were credited with assists.

“I was just sitting in the slot, the puck came to me and I fought for it,” said Barnard. “It was all set up by my teammates.”

Thornton Academy had just one shot in the third period.

“I thought we did a lot of things we wanted to do defensive zone-wise, but we didn’t get out in transition,” said Golden Trojans Coach Jamie Gagnon. “We couldn’t exit cleanly and that showed in the shots (30-14 in Falmouth’s favor). I thought we did a good job competing in the second period, but our penalties in the third period threw us off a little bit and we got gassed.”

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