WINSLOW — With players sprawled across the ice, including stretched out Cony/Monmouth goalie Tommy Small, Chase Nelson saw the puck at the top of the crease.
“There was a pretty big scrum in front,” the Lawrence/Skowhegan senior forward said. “It was lying right there and I just fired it in. I just didn’t want to miss, and I didn’t.”
The goal, which came with 7 minutes, 33 seconds left in the third period, was the difference Wednesday night in a 3-2 Bandits victory at Sukee Arena.
“This is such a huge win for us,” said Nelson, who also had an assist. “It’s big for our confidence. We needed this.”
The Bandits (2-3-0), who won their first game in more than a month, also received a strong performance from goalie Sam Edmondson. The senior finished with 24 saves, including a few from point-blank range late in the third period.
“He’s been playing well for us all year,” Lawrence/Skowhegan coach Ted Fabian said. “He really stepped up.”
Trey Michonski and Cody Martin scored second-period goals for the Bandits, who erased a 1-0 deficit.
Zach Gagne and Aaron Manter scored for Cony (5-3-0), which has lost two of its last three games.
“Lawrence/Skowhegan played really well,” Cony/Monmouth coach Chad Foye said. “They battled and they out-worked us. That was the key.”
The Bandits trailed 1-0 after the first period but responded with a pair of goals in the second period.
Michonski pulled them even when he converted a rebound off a Nelson shot just two minutes into the period.
Small stopped the Nelson shot from the point but the puck squirted out to an open Michonski, who roofed it to the upper near corner.
It stayed 1-1 until just a little more than two minutes remaining in the period, when Martin took a nice pass from Andrew Carpenter from deep in the right circle and beat Small with a shot to the glove side.
The Rams tied it at 2-2 when Manter beat Edmondson with a good wrist shot through traffic just 3:02 into the third period.
However, Nelson and the Bandits responded about four and a half minutes later.
“We came out pretty strong and didn’t give up even when we got down,” Fabian said. “We brought it tonight.”
The Rams jumped out to the 1-0 lead when Gagne collected a loose puck along the left dasher and skated toward the net.
Gagne ripped a low shot that beat Edmondson to the far post with 8:10 left in the period.
Cony nearly doubled its lead in the final minute of the period when Austin Davis forced a turnover at the Bandits blue line and charged in on Edmondson down the right side.
Davis fired a hard shot toward the upper far corner, but the post bailed Edmondson out.