HALLOWELL — The Cony-Gardiner rivalry was one-sided, at least for one night.

The Cony/Hall-Dale/Monmouth boys hockey team opened its campaign in convincing fashion, skating to a 5-0 win over Gardiner on Saturday night at the Camden National Bank Ice Vault. Junior Reed Hopkins and freshman Duncan Hayes each scored twice for the Rams, and senior goalie Dalton Bowie was good when called upon in a 16-save shutout to backbone an impressive three-goal first-period outburst.

“We knew that we had to come out firing, stay on them and not give them any breaks,” Hopkins said. “Sometimes, (the rivalry) can get in your head a little bit. We try not to let it do that and just remember that it’s another regular-season game.”

Cole Lockhart also scored for Cony.

“We skated, especially the first period, we came out and skated really hard,” Cony coach Chad Foye said. “I’m really happy, too, with how Dalton played. He did a great job.”

It was a disappointing effort all the way around from Gardiner, the defending Class B South regular season champion. The Tigers were flat from the start, unable to sustain any prolonged time in the offensive zone, and handcuffed by a rash of penalties — including a pair of five-minute majors.

Though the Rams were only 1 for 8 on the power play, they did capitalize on the momentum, which included nursing a four-goal lead in the third period by playing with the man-advantage for more than half of the period.

“Some of (us) seemed a little overwhelmed,” Gardiner coach Sam Moore said. “It’s a lot of what we talked about before the season and I’m expecting throughout the year — growing pains. We get a little anxious and don’t have quite the composure we should have with the puck. Cony is a veteran team, and they make you pay for that.”

Cony ensured the climb would be uphill and steep for the Tigers, right from the early going in the first period. Lockhart opened the scoring at the 5:32 mark, and just 2:29 later the Rams had a 3-0 lead.

Hopkins scored on a breakaway after Gardiner defenseman Jared Shaw lost his footing in the neutral zone, and Hayes netted the first of his career at 8:03. After winning a faceoff in the offensive zone, fellow freshman Tyrell Sousa centered for Hayes for a quick one-timer.

“It’s not really sunk in yet,” Hayes said. “The team came out and played really well, and we’re starting off the season with a great start.”

Moore burned his timeout after the third Rams’ goal, and it was enough to at least stem the Cony tide.

The Tigers got off to a better start in the second period. After producing only four shots on goal in the first period, Gardiner came out and peppered Bowie with four shots in the first five minutes of the middle stanza.

The momentum was short-lived, however, as the Tigers registered only two additional shots over the remainder of the period. Hayes netted his second at the 9:57 mark for a 4-0 Cony lead.

“That was a momentum change,” Hopkins said. “That kind of changed things for us. We didn’t want to relax, but it was a big goal.”

Two late Gardiner penalties in the period essentially killed any comeback hopes the Tigers might have otherwise entertained, the second of which was a five-minute major to Nate Malinowski for boarding.

Though Gardiner got out of the second with only the four-goal deficit, nearly a full four minutes on Malinowski’s major penalty remained at the start of the third period.

Cony, again, couldn’t convert on the power play, but it was of little consequence. When senior defenseman Sloan Berthiaume leveled Hopkins from behind just three and a half minutes into the third, Berthiaume was handed a major penalty and a game misconduct.

Hopkins capped the scoring with a power-play goal at 11:59 of the final period, slipping home a feed from Riley Dowe.

In all, the Tigers racked up twice as many penalty minutes (32) as shots (16) in the contest.

Sophmore goalie Quinn Veregge made 28 saves in his debut in the Tiger nets.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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