AUBURN — A goal 75 seconds into the game was just the start of things to come. But instead of more goals, it was penalties.

Lots of them.

Whistles were blown at an alarming pace, but Cony/Monmouth/Hall-Dale’s early goals to start the first two periods were enough for the Rams to withstand all their time spent in the penalty box in a 4-1 Class A North boys’ hockey victory over Poland/Leavitt/Oak Hill/Gray-New Gloucester at Norway Savings Bank Arena on Saturday.

Reed Hopkins’ shot from the left side on a counterattack got the scoring going for the Rams (4-3) just 1:15 into the game.

“That was important,” Rams coach Chad Foye said. “We’ve been talking about just moving our feet the whole season and going wide on people, and making them kind of chase us down. Too many times we’ve tried to cut back on defensemen and we skate right into them. So having Reed cut wide and get a good shot, and get a good goal off that, that was good for our team morale.”

The morale on the Kings (5-2) bench wasn’t nearly as good.

“We were flat. The whole first period we were flat,” Kings coach Joe Hutchinson said. “What I think was we weren’t mentally prepared for this game. That’s what I think. We didn’t show up to play, we didn’t skate hard, we didn’t have any sense of urgency with the puck.”

The penalties started soon after. The Rams got called for the first of 17 combined minors 4:45 into the game, and they went two men down 59 seconds later. The Kings’ first call to the penalty box came 7:14 in.

“We got to stay out of the box. We can’t keep improving penalty kill because we’re in the box all the time,” Foye said.

The teams both were called for two penalties in the first period, but the Rams went into the first intermission with a 6-3 advantage in shots on goal.

“I thought (goalie Dalton Bowie) played pretty well, but I thought we made them hurry shots much more than we did the last game,” Foye said. “So we challenged them a little bit more in our defensive end. We just worked a little bit harder this time, I think.”

The Rams’ offense lit the lamp again 2:58 into the second. Cole Lockhart finished from Riley Dowe at the right post.

Connor Cyr later answered for the Kings on the power play, cutting the deficit to 2-1 with 5:33 left in the frame. It was part of a Kings offensive effort that sent nine shots at Bowie in the second.

“We finally started to skate a little bit, got a forecheck going,” Hutchinson said. “But it still took us five minutes of that period before we finally started skating hard enough.”

The Kings took a 5-on-3 into the third period, and thanks to a five-minute major on the Rams it was a long man-up for the Kings. But penalties of their own twice spoiled advantages — first the 5-on-3 and later two minutes of part of a 5-on-4.

“We had the power play and we get a penalty that was just a stupid penalty,” Hutchinson said. “Five-on-three and we get a penalty.”

The wasted opportunity made way for the Rams to seize the momentum gained from their penalty killing. Even-strength goals by Lockhart and Avery Pomerleau helped the Rams pull away in the third.

“I thought we moved the puck pretty well tonight,” Foye said. “We got some good scoring chances. We didn’t finish off everything we had, but we finished off enough.”

Bowie earned the win by stopping 16 of 17 shots. Dakota Soucy made 22 saves for the Kings.

“I think this was a good eye-opener, and I think it was good for them,” Hutchinson said. “It’s good it’s happening now than later on.”

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