HALLOWELL — There’s been no adjustment period for Cooper Clark.

The freshman scored a hat trick as part of a four-point Monday night, Clark’s second hat trick in as many games to begin the season, leading the Cony/Hall-Dale/Erskine/Winthrop/Monmouth boys hockey team to a 5-0 blanking of rival Gardiner/Waterville/Winslow at the Camden National Bank Ice Vault. Junior goalie Landon Foster stopped 28 shots to post the first shutout of his career.

The decades-long Cony-Gardiner rivalry may have once been the most heated rivalry in Central Maine —and it still remains the biggest, at least geographically speaking, with a total of eight schools in the area providing players for this year’s edition.

“Without those boys from other schools, we wouldn’t have come out with the (win) tonight,” Foster said. “I’m thankful to have those other programs, and I’m sure (Gardiner) is thankful to have theirs, too.”

History be damned, the night belonged to the newcomer Clark. The spark plug turned a 3-0 Cony lead through two periods into a runaway with his third of the night, one of two power-play goals for the Rams, only 41 seconds into the third.

“The team was working hard and buzzing around, working together and talking,” said Clark, who also had three goals in a season-opening loss to Mt. Ararat on Saturday. “I knew we had more left in us (after a scoreless first period).”


The diminutive Clark was all over the ice in the second period and dictated the game’s pace.

Half a minute after he forced a point-blank stop from Gardiner goalie Aiden Paradis (29 saves), Clark got free on a breakaway to open the scoring at the 2:30 mark.

The Rams (1-1-0) forced a turnover at the Gardiner blue line, and sophomore Zack Waddell made a great pass straight up the gut to set up Clark for his second at 10:34.

Cony/Hall-Dale/Winthrop/Monmouth’s Caleb Larette draws a two minute penalty from Gardiner/Waterville/Winslow’s Donnie Gurney during a hockey game on Monday in Hallowell. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

Clark wasn’t done with his second period heroics, however, playing a significant role in helping put things out of the Tigers’ collective reach less than two minutes later.

Cony defenseman Ethan Fortin zipped a breakout pass up the gut to send Clark in on another breakaway, though Paradis held his ground and made the initial stop when Clark tried to thread a shot through the netminder’s wickets. Ray Dineen kept driving the net and was there to wrist the rebound into an open cage for a 3-0 lead.

“He’s just an Energizer bunny out there,” Cony coach Shawn Johnson said of Clark. “He just works so hard and keeps going and going. He’s tough, too.”


After a first period that saw Gardiner (0-2-0) produce some good looks, the Tigers weren’t able to use their size advantage to establish the same forechecking pressure in the middle stanza.

After four icings in the contest’s first three minutes, the Cony breakout steadily improved as the night went on. The Rams were able to find the open ice to operate through the neutral zone and utilize their speed to create goals.

Cony finished the start-to-finish effort with more shots (34-28), more high-danger chances (20-14) and more puck possession — winning 32 of the 50 faceoffs on the night.

Gardiner/Waterville/Winslow’s captain Camdyn Lasselle clutches a stick adorned with the name of his best friend, Chase Fossett, during a hockey game against Cony/Hall-Dale/Winthrop/Monmouth on Monday in Hallowell. A 2020 graduate of Gardiner Area High School, Fossett, 21, died Saturday in a car accident along with three fellow Maine Maritime Academy students. “I’ll always remember him,” Lasselle said between shifts. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

“One of the things we do well is forecheck, and we just didn’t do that,” Gardiner coach KC Johnson said. “We didn’t get it deep on them, we didn’t forecheck them. That played into the frustration part of it, and when frustration happens it’s no good.”

The Tigers tried to push back late in the third period, but Foster did his best work in the final 15 minutes, including a point-blank stop on Camdyn Laselle midway through the frame.

“That was pretty much all I was focused on in the third period,” Foster said of securing the shutout. “Three goals isn’t anything to Gardiner. That’s a really good team. They were going to come out flying in the third period, obviously, and I just had to shut them down.”

“You can tell when Landon’s in a groove,” Shawn Johnson said. “He was just seeing the puck and tracking it really well. He was really good.”

Lincoln Dawbin scored for the Rams in the final minute to cap the victory.

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