The Windham Eagles hockey team rallied from a two goal deficit then withstood a late flurry from Mt. Ararat/Lisbon to open their season with a hard-fought 3-2 victory at Watson Arena in Brunswick. Tyler Johnson’s unassisted power-play goal with 7:21 proved the difference as the Eagles came from two goals down to claim the victory.
In an evenly played first period, Windham fell behind 2-0 as Mt. Ararat/Lisbon scored twice in a two minute span late in the period. Austin Fournier broke the ice at 9:42 of the period on a nice pass from Tyler Halls. MTA/L grabbed another goal 1:51 later when Cam Grant’s fluttering shot from the point slipped past Windham goaltender Clayton Owens.
The Eagles finally struck fourteen seconds before the end of the first period. With an MTA/L player in the penalty box, junior captain Zack Callahan picked a puck up along the boards, cut towards the net and ripped a shot over the shoulder of goaltender Parker Lacey.
“The goal was enormous for us,” said Windham coach Greg Leclair. “We felt we had played a good first period and were unfortunate to be down. That goal gave the kids a big lift heading into the locker room and it certainly carried through to the second period.”
Buoyed by the late goal, Windham dominated the second period, outshooting MTA/L 9-4. Gage Chenard, Caleb Klowas, and Giovanni Ruotolo all created good scoring chances as the Eagles maintained possession in the offensive zone for long stretches. Callahan struck with another power-play goal five minutes into the second when he took a pass from Johnson and fired the puck home. Minutes later, it was Johnson who stepped out from below the goal line and stuffed the puck under the goaltender for a 3-2 lead.
From there, the game became the Clayton Owens show. With MTA/L buzzing throughout the third period, Owens stood tall, turning aside 15 shots, including two or three absolute jaw droppers. Clinging to the one-goal lead, Owens dove across his crease to stop a rebound on what was sure to be a goal. Moments later, Owens somehow managed to get a toe to another shot that was destined to find the net.
“I’m still not sure how he managed to make those saves,” said Leclair. “In both instances, I saw the play develop and thought ‘Oh no!’ only to see Clayton somehow keep the puck out of the net. We had to kill a five minute major penalty late in the third, and he was the reason why we were able to do so. We were a bit fortunate to escape with the win, but at the same time, the kids really dug deep and earned the result.”
Owens finished with 25 saves on 27 shots.
Windham opens up their home schedule on Saturday, December 13th at 8 p.m. when they host Westbrook at USM Ice Arena.