BREWER, Maine — The seniors on the Hampden Academy hockey team had never beaten Brewer High School.
That changed on Monday.
Sophomore left wing Luther Vom Eigen scored a pair of goals and assisted on two more and senior linemate Cooper Antone had a couple of goals as the Broncos beat Brewer 5-3 at the Penobscot Ice Arena.
Hampden Academy improved to 3-4 while Brewer fell to 7-3.
Hampden Academy and Brewer both practice and play at the Penobscot Ice Arena.
Sophomore left winger Dylan Cray’s power-play goal 4:48 into the third period proved to be the game-winner.
Sophomore left wing Gabe Valley had a pair of goals for Brewer and cousin and linemate Spencer Valley had the other one while assisting on both of Gabe’s goals.
“This is a really good win for us,” said Hampden Academy coach Bill Schwarz. “We’re a pretty good team but we needed to get some wins.
“We had a lot of positives. We did a better job taking away their time and space and we got some pretty good goaltending,” added Schwarz who received a stellar 27-save performance from junior goalie Ryan Manning.
“We came together as a team and we kept fighting,” said center Antone. “We stepped up to the occasion.”
Cray broke a 3-3 tie as he was positioned just beyond the crease and shoveled Matt Closson’s pass from behind the net inside the post to the right of Brewer goalie Patrick Spaulding.
“It was a one-timer and I put it around his pad to the far side,” said Cray.
“I don’t know how [Cray] got his stick there so fast,” said Spaulding. “He banked it in off the far post. I barely missed it with my toe. It was a good shot.”
Vom Eigen’s shorthanded goal iced it with 25 seconds remaining as he busted down the left wing, sliced in on Spaulding and jammed in his own rebound.
Rob Stowe’s important clear off the glass from the defensive zone enabled Vom Eigen to chase down the puck.
“Rob made a real good chip,” said Vom Eigen. “I just hustled down and pounded the net.”
“I made the initial save but he came at me with full force and shoved it through my five-hole,” said Spaulding, who finished with 17 saves including several gems.
The Broncos never trailed and answered Brewer’s first two goals with goals of their own less than a minute later.
Antone’s shorthanded goal represented the only scoring in the first period.
Gabe Valley tied it 2:43 into the second period but Vom Eigen responded 58 seconds later.
Gabe Valley tied it again at the 12:07 mark of the middle period but Antone scored 22 seconds later.
“Every time we gained some momentum, they took it right back,” said Brewer senior center Spencer Valley.
“We told ourselves if they scored, we wanted to come right back and score,” said Antone.
Antone had opened the scoring courtesy of some tenacious work by Vom Eigen, who attacked the net and forced a couple of turnovers.
The puck squirted to the high slot and Antone one-timed a blast past Spaulding with Vom Eigen serving as a screen.
Gabe Valley equalized while there was a delayed penalty call on Hampden.
Manning made several rapid-fire saves off Spencer Valley until the puck drifted to the slot where Gabe Valley fired it past Manning.
Vom Eigen answered by directing Riley Eastman’s shot past Spaulding.
Gabe Valley tied it with a short wrister from the low slot but Antone struck back by breaking down the middle of the slot and one-timing a short pass from Vom Eigen into the far corner.
Spencer Valley leveled the scoreline for the final time 1:45 into the third period when he blocked a pass at the point, skated in alone and pulled the puck around Manning before sliding it in from a difficult angle at outer edge of the left circle.
Stowe had two assists for the winners.
Manning made a bunch of terrific saves including a stick stop off a Gabe Valley breakaway and a blocker stop off a screened one-timer by Andrew Collins off a Gehrig White feed.
“He had a very good game for them,” said Spencer Valley.
Brewer was without workhorse defenseman Brody Valley (mononucleosis).
“We made a lot of mistakes and the energy wasn’t there,” said Brewer coach Dave Shedd. “We missed Brody.”