Maine Hockey Journal

Fighting Spirit slide past Cape Cod

(PHOTO: Meghan Girouard)

(PHOTO: Meghan Girouard)

LEWISTON– The Lewiston/Auburn Fighting Spirit held on Friday night at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee to scrape by with a slim 3-2 win over the Cape Cod Islanders.

Up by a goal late in the third period, the Fighting Spirit needed to dig deep to try and kill a slashing penalty with 2:01 left in the game. The Islanders pulled their goaltender Anton Zemba with 1:36 remaining to give their team a 6-4 man advantage, but the Fighting Spirit held their defensive ranks as they kept the puck out of the net and tallied another win to their undefeated season.

“Early in the season conditioning is key both mentally any physically,” said Rod Simmons, head coach of the Fighting Spirit. “It’s going to be a grind here to start until things start to click, and we get some things organized. Everything isn’t going to be pretty.”

The Islanders were able to tie the game midway through the third period when forward Aaron Deady rifled a shot over the glove of Claes Endre. With the game knotted at two, the Islanders seemed as though they were gaining momentum the Fighting Spirit held for the majority of the game.

With their backs against the wall, the Fighting Spirit buried a goal with just under five minutes remaining to break the tie and put their team ahead by one. Dylan Vrees grabbed a rebound in the slot and tucked a backhand just past the outstretched leg of Zemba. Both Simon Corriveau and Brady McNulty assisted on the goal.

“We had to really come together as a team and battle it out in the end,” said Fighting Spirit forward Mike Heffernan, who scored in the first period. “We had some iffy plays here and there, but I thought as a team that our captains kept our players in line and because of that we finished strong just like we needed to.”

The Islanders were able to stick with the Fighting Spirit for the entire game but were never able to take the lead in the contest. Lewiston/Auburn was able to answer every goal scored by Cape Cod. The Fighting Spirit won most of the battles along the boards and had many odd-man opportunities, which is something that head coach Jay Punsky is hoping to improve on.

“I felt like we controlled the majority of the play for most of the game, but I think we didn’t do the little things well,” said Punsky. “For example, the game-winning goal came when the puck was in our end, and we came off for a line change and gave them a breakaway. That’s terrible focus at the end of a game, and if we don’t do that we’re probably still playing right now.

Claes Endre provided the Fighting Spirit with a solid backstop in making 19 saves. Opposite Endre, Zemba had an impressive 27-save outing in the loss.

The two teams will meet again at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on October 23rd for their second of ten meetings this season.

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