AUBURN — Edward Little/Leavitt/Poland wore down Mt. Ararat/Lisbon/Morse/Lincoln Academy in Saturday’s playoff matchup.

After the third-seeded Eagles got within one goal in the third period, the second-seeded Red Hornets pulled away with two more for a 4-1 win in a North regional girls hockey semifinal at Norway Savings Bank Arena.

“We talked about it (as a team) before the playoffs; if you are going to get far in the playoffs, every game is going to have more challenges, more adversity and more things we got to work through as a group,” Red Hornets coach Dana Berube said. “We told them, the worst lead in hockey is 2-0 and we always have the mentality starting each period 0-0.”

The Red Hornets had a 2-0 lead to start the third period, but the Eagles quickly scored.

Eagles defenseman Mallory Stuart’s shot beat Red Hornets goalie McKenzi Horton early in the period. Horton slid to the near post, but Stuart held onto the puck for a split second and shot the puck inside the far post. The assist went to Marley LeBel.

It was one of the few chances the Eagles had in the game.


“Our game plan was to get the pucks deep and see when we could put pressure on their goalie when the time was right,” Eagles coach Jeremey Saxton said. “We really didn’t get a lot of those (chances) this evening. They were all over a couple of our better players, but the puck didn’t bounce our way tonight.”

The game plan for Edward Little/Leavitt/Poland was to limit Stuart’s and Sarah Moore’s offensive chances.

“Stuart and Moore are very good players; that’s not a surprise,” Berube said. “Sarah is probably the best player in the state and we know that. Our forecheck, we worked on (this week) and not let her beat us, and be good on angles, cut the ice in half. When we are playing good hockey, our (forwards) are in the right positions.”

Edward Little/Leavitt/Poland bounced back with two insurance goals. Caroline Audette ripped a shot to give the Red Hornets a 3-1 lead at the 4:45 mark of the third period.

Sophia Hartley had an assist on the goal, then scored her second goal of the game off of an Audette shot. The goal came in the middle of the third period.

“It felt good to put the puck in the net. We only have a couple of games left in the season, so I wanted to win,” Hartley said.


Kylee Spugnardi had assists on both goals.

After an even start to the game, Hartley had the icebreaker later in the first period. Her shot beat Eagles goalie Greta Marchildon (25 saves) with under two minutes remaining in the frame. Megan Lachance and Molly Sirois had the assists.

Edward Little/Leavitt/Poland carried the momentum to the second period. Forward Gianna Castagna tracked the puck while the Eagles tried to get out of the defensive zone. Castagna pounced at the blue line and stole the puck, then skated all alone and shot it top-shelf.

The goal came just before the three-minute mark of the second period.

Horton kept the Eagles off the board for the first 30 minutes. After making two saves in the first period, she made eight more saves in the second, including two glove saves to keep it a 2-0.  She made five more saves in the third period.

“For a girl who started playing the position last year, she’s a coach’s dream,” Berube said. “She works her tail off in practice and she takes all the coaching we give her. She was mad at (the goal she gave up) because she didn’t have a good angle, but we reminded her (afterward). She’s been tremendous for us.”

Saxton said he is proud of what the Eagles accomplished this season. The 14 wins this season is a program record. Before the game, he had already decided he was stepping down as a coach once the season was over.

“It was an emotional end of the game speech, but it was good,” Saxton said. “I am really proud of the girls and what they did this year. I am excited to watch from the stands next year.”

The Red Hornets now advance to the regional final against No. 1 Lewiston on Wednesday in Portland.

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