WINSLOW — The Gardiner boys hockey team struggled mightily at the onset of last season, losing its first two games by a combined 13-1 score.

What a difference a season makes.

Alex Nadeau scored with 17 seconds left in regulation to snap a 1-1 game and lift Gardiner to a thrilling 3-1 victory over Lawrence in a Class B game Wednesday night at Sukee Arena.

“It was probably the biggest goal I’ve ever scored,” said Nadeau, a sophomore. “I was skating up the left side and I called for the puck. I got it and I knew I had to go. I took it around a (defenseman) and shot it low.”

Josh Moore added an empty net goal with two seconds left for the Tigers (2-0-0).

“Absolutely, it’s a big win,” Gardiner coach Jeff Ross said. “Every win is big for us. Last year, in a game like this, I think we get frustrated and maybe pack it in a bit. It was a big win for us.”

Seth Wing scored a second-period goal to erase a 1-0 deficit for Gardiner.

Jack Flynn scored the lone goal for Lawrence (1-1-0).

“It was a heck of a game,” Lawrence coach Dave Richard said. “What more can you ask for? It was an entertaining game. It was up and down. It was a great game.”

Brad Moore had 20 saves for Gardiner while Kyle McLain had 26 for Lawrence (1-1-0).

Both came up with big saves in the third period.

Moore robbed Lawrence junior forward Tyler Boudreau with a nice pad save with 3:21 left in regulation. Boudreau was open in the high slot after taking a nice pass from Christian Carpenter on a two-on-one rush.

Moore previously stopped Carpenter on a breakaway with 8:57 left in the third.

“He played well,” Ross said of his goaltender.

Gardiner, which was out-played in the first period and struggled against a tough Lawrence forecheck, finally pulled even in the second on a power-play goal from Wing.

Dalton Sargent broke out of the defensive zone, taking a pass from defenseman Jeff McAuslin. Sargent then hit Wing at the offensive blue line on a nice rush.

Wing gained the offensive zone and fired a wrist shot that beat McLain low to the glove side with 6:44 left in the second period.

The Bulldogs went ahead 1-0 when Flynn scored just 2:21 into the game.

Flynn and freshman Cody Martin were positioned in front of the net and each had a few whacks at a loose puck before Flynn jammed the puck home.

Lawrence used an aggressive forecheck that slowed Gardiner’s breakout for much of the first period.

The Tigers regrouped in the second, however, using quick passes to help penetrate the offensive zone.

“We struggled breaking the puck out a little bit,” Ross said, “but we refocused after the first period. We settled down a little bit.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

[email protected]

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