HALLOWELL — Camden Hills fell behind 1-0 against host Gardiner/Waterville/Winslow in another road high school ice hockey game on Wednesday, Dec. 21 at the Maine Ice Vault, but, this time, the Windjammers held steady and scored three unanswered goals the rest of the way for a 3-1 victory.

The Windjammers, who have three wins in four road games this season, tallied one goal in the second period and two in the third. The host Tigers scored in the first period.

Lucas Wyman, Cam Brown and Alden Howard score for the Windjammers, and Flynn Lilly, Zanni Sabatini and Bennett Gardner added assists.

Camden Hills tallied goals at the 10:28-mark of the second period and 2:29- and 1:01-marks of the third.

Quinn Hoppin (saves on 14-of-15 shots) earned the win between the pipes for Camden Hills, while Aiden Paradis (saves on 19-of-22 shots) took the loss.

Garret Doyle scored for the hosts in the first period.

The Windjammers finished 1-of-7 on the power play and Gardiner/Waterville/Winslow 0-of-6.

Windjammer coach John Magri said he and many of his players have been dealing with illness (or injury) and have not, in the past week, been up to normal speed.

Magri said Gardiner/Waterville/Winslow is a first-year cooperative team, which had most of its more experienced players for the matchup with Camden Hills. On the flip side, the Windjammers left nine players home due to injury or influenza and two other players were recently back on the ice and certainly not 100 percent, he said.

“It appeared adversity would be the name of the game again for the Windjammers,” Magri said. “With Camden Hills taking away Gardiner’s playoff run with a big score lashing at the end of the season last year and their dismal 0-3 start to this season as a new co-op and under their new head coach, we figured Gardiner would be hungry to win this game.”

The coach said the hosts looked to capitalize on turnovers and transitions out of their own end, moved the puck north to south and shot the puck when they gained entry. The hosts also attempted to place forwards in the neutral zone behind the visitors’ defensemen.

“Due to the fact that many of our players were low energy coming off illness or young and inexperienced we certainly produced a lot of bobbled pucks, soft passes, and turnovers for Gardiner to capitalize on throughout the game, but specifically in the first and second periods,” he said.

On a positive note, the coach said Flynn Lilly has worked hard to grow his contributions on the blue line, logged many minutes in this game and exceeded expectations. Quinn Hoppin, another freshmen, “was outstanding in the second period as he fended off way too many odd-man rushes and a few breakaway opportunities to keep Camden [Hills] in the game,” Magri said.

The coach said the first period saw Gardiner capitalized on a turnover five minutes into the action and notched the first goal by ripping a strong shot by Hoppin “who was deep in his net and looking young and inexperienced against a heavy shot. But, again, he found his game later and really turned in a great performance.”

Toward the end of the first period, the Windjammers began to find their speed and work ethic, but still in a sloppy game, Magri said.

Five minutes into the second period Camden Hills, on a power play, moved the puck well in the Gardiner end as the Windjammers looked for the right opportunity. Sabatini moved the puck to Lilly and Lilly let go with a shot from the point and Wyman tipped it in from net front.

“The rest of the period the Windjammers increased their speed and work ethic but were still plagued by botched plays and turnovers that resulted in multiple opportunities for Gardiner which Quinn Hoppin turned away with some very confident play in the net for the Windjammers,” the coach said.

Magri said Windjammer coaches told the players between the second and third periods they basically had a 15-minute game to play and needed to play their best for 15 minutes. The advice was heard and heeded.

Camden Hills dominated in the third, but the Gardiner defense blocked shots and goalie Paradis turned in a strong performance. However, it seemed inevitable the pressure would pay dividends and, with two minutes left, Brown was fed a puck in the high slot from Gardner and Brown fired the puck straight to the net through a crowd and it found its way to the back of the net.

Gardiner pulled its goalie in an attempt to even the score, but Howard carried the puck out of the Camden Hills’ end into the neutral zone and cut hard and wide and gained the Gardner end before he placed a wrist shot into the back of the empty net.

With key games on the horizon, including a road match with Messalonskee of Oakland, the number one team in Class B North, on Wednesday, Dec. 28, “we are optimistic that as a team we will be healthy and whole and be able to throw our ‘A’ game on the ice which we have not been able to do since our victory in Presque Isle [to open the season].”

MaineStay Media/VillageSoup sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com.