HALLOWELL — Not much had gone right of late for the Cony/Monmouth hockey team, which came into its Eastern A game Saturday night against Gray/New Gloucester/Poland having lost two straight and three of its last four games.
One minute late in the opening period was all it took for the Rams to snap its slide.
Connor Perry and Dakota Benson scored in the final minute of the first period and Cony/Monmouth held on to grab a 5-2 win over GNG/Poland at the Bank of Maine Ice Vault.
“It was a good win for us,” Cony/Monmouth coach Chad Foye said. “We needed it. We haven’t been playing too well.”
Austin Davis, Cam Wilson and Aaron Manter also scored for the Rams (6-4-0) while Tommy Small had 18 saves. Anthony Brunelle also had two assists.
Ethan Cailler and Kaleb Bridgham scored for the 26ers (3-6-0).
“It was definitely a big game,” Davis said. “We definitely wanted to put some pucks in the net.”
Cony/Monmouth, which had been outscored 19-9 in its previous four games, played strong from the start Saturday. It controlled the neutral zone and generated one quality scoring chance after another before it broke through in the waning seconds of the first period.
It marked the second time this season Cony/Monmouth skated past GNG/Poland. The Rams cruised to an 8-4 victory on Dec. 14.
This one was much closer.
The teams traded scoring chances early before Perry opened the scoring with just 52.3 seconds left in the first period when he buried a rebound off his own shot past 26ers junior goalie Nick Hemond.
“I just kept hustling,” said Perry, a sophomore. “I got a pass and just kept going. I flipped it over the goalie.”
Then, with 4.1 seconds left in the period, Benson converted a rebound off an Evan Bowers shot, stuffing the puck through a crowd and past Hemond.
The goals came after a flurry of Cony/Monmouth chances, including two from leading scorer Davis.
GNG/Poland twice pulled within a goal, at 2-1 and 3-2, but Davis iced it with a terrific goal with 3:18 left in regulation. After forcing a turnover along the dasher, Davis charged down the left side, cut to the front of the net and beat Hemond with a nice shot to the far post.
“I knew their goalie liked to go down,” Davis said. “I ripped it top shelf.”
Cony/Monmouth returns to action Monday, when it visits Waterville.