There were only 53 seconds left on the clock in Auburn’s season opener against Leominster when Carrianne Fortier scored the tie-breaking and game-winning goal for the Rockets who prevailed 4-3. Another statistic may be more significant, however, the Blue Devils’ goalie had 36 saves which means the Rockets are shooting aggressively. But, that was 10 days ago.

On Monday night, Auburn met Oakmont at Horgan Arena, and while the outcome was not positive, the game certainly was. The Rockets lost 4-2, but they didn’t lose some of the confidence they built up 9 days earlier. Julie Siemen scored the home team’s first goal 2-1/2 minutes in with Fortier and Kelsie Lorden assisting. The Spartans came back with 3 of their own and ended the first period up 3-1.

When the Rockets skated onto the ice in the second, they brought a team energy that was astounding. Fortier scored a goal 29 seconds in, and while it was the last goal, it was not the last effort. Auburn had 21 shots on net, and the Spartans had 0. The puck never got close to the Auburn net. If the superbly skilled goalie Bridgette Martin had not dug in for the Spartans, Auburn would certainly have added to their tally.

Oakmont added another goal in the third period and the game ended in their favor, 4-2. In today’s slide show, one thing should be obvious: a lot of girls are moving the puck and doing it well. The Auburn team has progressed past a game with one or two stars and into a hockey team. Each line was credible, and the energy was great.

Auburn Coach Pete LaPrad said, “This is a young team. We have freshmen playing along side girls who are going to college next year.” He added, “We’re more balanced and deeper than in the past. We’ll be competitive in every game, but we’re going to have to earn the wins.”

We’ll be watching. Good luck as the season progresses.