AUBURN —  The Capital Region Hawks were on the penalty kill tor the final 7:26 of their game against the Poland/Leavitt/Oak Hill/Gray-New Gloucester Kings on Wednesday.

The Hawks — made up of players from Maranacook, Winthrop, Lawrence and Spruce Mountain — had to kill off a five-minute major penalty that went against Max Thamert and then two minor penalties, but behind a Thomas Thornton’s 30-save shutout they defeated the Kings 1-0 at Norway Savings Bank Arena.

The Kings were 0-for-5 on the penalty kill in the game.

“Our penalty kill was exactly how we have been practicing,” Hawks coach Jack Rioux said. “They were flawless with it. I don’t want to be short-handed for that long, but they did an absolutely excellent job on it. As long as we can keep (the opponent) to the outside (of the circles) I am not worried.”

Rioux said the biggest difference in the team so far this season is maturity, which it sometimes lacked in previous seasons.

Thornton, who was making only his second varsity start, gave credit to his teammates in front him for allowing to make the saves that he had to make, especially on the penalty kill.


“That was some stressful hockey, some of the best hockey I have seen them play in a long time,” Thornton said. “I am glad to come out with the win and we played as hard as we can.”

Thornton added that the addition of the Lawrence players this season has really helped the Hawks, who were playing their first regular season game Wednesday.

The Kings, who were down 1-0 when they began the five-minute major, thought they had tied the game up when Thornton wasn’t able to hold onto the puck as it crossed goal line. However, the play was blown dead.

“(The referee) said he blew the whistle because he thought the goalie had it,” Kings coach Joe Hutchinson said. “He didn’t see it squirt out, so, unfortunately, that’s (how the puck) the bounces sometimes. It’s too bad.”

Hutchinson didn’t pull goaltender Vincent Lupardo until the final minute because he didn’t have an empty net too early. Lupardo finished with eight saves.

The game was scoreless until late in the second period.


Capital Region’s Cody Dixon ended the stalemate when he skated behind the goal and wrapped the puck around just inside the goal post with seven seconds remaining. Nathan Miller was credited with an assist.

Dixon is one of those Lawrence players new to the Hawks this season.

“I think it’s wonderful, I love this team, and we are doing well,” Dixon said.

The Kings had their chances in the middle frame as two Jon Rioux minor penalties early on the period put the Hawks on the penalty kill twice. The Kings didn’t capitalize on the man advantage.

“We stopped moving the puck, we weren’t moving the puck quick enough and we didn’t have any motion,” Hutchinson said of the lack of production on the power play. “The motion stopped, without the motion, it makes it easy for the other team set up and take away all the passing lanes.”

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