HALLOWELL — The Gardiner boys hockey team was looking for some momentum going into the holidays. Gabe Poirier made sure the Tigers got plenty of it.

Poirier scored four goals, sparking Gardiner to an emphatic 5-0 victory over Class A opponent and rival Cony/Monmouth/Hall-Dale Saturday night at the Camden National Bank Ice Vault.

“It gives us great confidence. It’s going to start our momentum for the whole season coming up,” senior right wing Cam Bourassa said. “Beating a rivalry team like that, Cony, it goes back years and years. It’s just nice to get the win and it’s good to come together as a team.”

The Tigers (3-2) dominated early, kept control through the final two periods and got contributions from each line that took the ice, but they were sparked by Poirier, who had a game with the Maine Moose immediately after and was unavailable for comment. The sophomore scored even strength, shorthanded and on the power play to bury the Rams (1-4).

“He’s a great all-around utility player,” coach Tyler Wing said. “He does really well at seeing all of the ice offensively and defensively.”

Poirier struck for the first time on the power play with 5:48 to go in the first, taking a feed through the slot from Cody Rizzo and burying it from the bottom of the right circle, giving Gardiner a tally on the board to go with its dominance on the ice throughout the opening period.

“We wanted to step right on them and keep going,” Bourassa said. “We didn’t want to let up and give them any opportunity to get anything on us.”

Gardiner put Cony away in the second period. Poirier sniped a shot from the right slot to make it 2-0 with 12 minutes left, then fired an off-balance shot into the net on the power play off a feed from Jon Flynn to make it 3-0 with 3:41 left.

“It’s a killer to the other teams, and it’s great for us,” Bourassa said of Poirier’s performance. “It gives us a show to watch. He’s a great teammate, he’s all-around good.”

Poirier showed that versatility moments later on the penalty kill, taking a Cony turnover and scoring to bump the lead to 4-0 with 54.5 seconds left in the second.

“Gabe’s scored at least two shorthanded goals now for us,” said Wing, whose team got its last goal from freshman Cam Rizzo with 13 minutes left in the third. “He does very well at seeing the puck and where it’s going to go.”

Special teams was an asset all night for the Tigers, who have been hamstrung by a lack of discipline at points this season. Gardiner still allowed six Cony power plays, but permitted only two shots on the kill.

“With the penalties that we took we capitalized on being able to maintain a proper penalty kill,” Wing said. “We were able to work on special teams this week and really focus on it, knowing that penalties were kind of our weakness.”

Cony appeared to break through on the power play with 13:40 left in the second period, as a pass from Zach Whitney hit off Jacob Godbout and went into the net. Officials, however, waved off the goal, which would have tied the game at 1, and Poirier scored his second goal moments later.

“They said our kid had guided it in,” Cony coach Shawn Johnson said. “I was hoping that would be … momentum for us.”

Johnson said Cony struggled the rest of the night getting shots through the Gardiner defense and onto goalie Quinn Veregge.

“It seemed like every shot we took tonight was blocked,” he said. “We were in the right position, (but) every shot was off a shin pad. (Gardiner) was well-positioned, and our shots weren’t well-placed.”

Johnson found a positive in the play of freshman goalie Matty Shea, who turned away the Gardiner attack for much of the first period and kept the Rams in the game early.

“I’m very proud of Matty,” Johnson said. “He’s come a long way. … I’m very happy that Matty’s in net. He does a great job.”


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