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The New England Stars notched their first win of the season on Saturday, defeating the Maine Wild, 6-2. The Stars special teams came up big, scoring on five of their power play opportunities.

The game kicked off the newest Northern States Junior Hockey League rivalry, as both teams are owned by the same parent company, The Hockey Academy.

Stars Head Coach Darryl Green was happy with the final score, but unhappy with the team’s style of play in the beginning two periods of the game.

“Our first and second periods were sloppy and penalties contributed to that,” he said. “In the third, we had our best period of the game by far and we were rewarded for it.”

Stars forward Ryan Gauvin put the first point on the board, assisted by Steve Upton and Wes Monson, six minutes into the first period. It was the only even-strength goal of the game.

The Stars would capitalize on their first power play when Levi Marden found the back of the net behind Maine Wild netminder Benoit Niclot, assisted by Ricky Mulligan. The Maine Wild answered back with a power play goal from Keith Barnaby, his first goal of the season, assisted by Hunter Lynch and David Wilcox.

The Wild opened the second period with a jump in their step and tallied another power play goal, this time from David Sullivan, after to tie the game up at two-all. The goal was assisted by Barnaby.

However, the Wild struggled again and the Stars broke the tie quickly with a goal netted by Steve Upton two minutes and two seconds later. The goal was assisted by Monson and Gauvin. Nick Bartholomew also registered his first goal of the season on the man advantage, assisted by Cam Webster, to make the score 4-2 in the Stars’ favor.

Green was happy with the way the power play looked in the contest.

“Our defense also did a great job getting shots close to the net,” he said. “We did give up two power play goals though, so that is something we will have to address this week.”

The third period sealed the win for the Stars as Steve Crocker registered two goals, again capitalizing on the power play. The goals are his third and fourth of the season; the first was assisted by Mulligan and Ryan Donohue, the second assisted by Webster and Brian Glover.

Green said Crocker had an outstanding performance on the ice in the match-up.

“Crocker also played very sound defensively,” he said.

Maine Wild Head Coach Mike Tenney said although the team worked hard to get the game tied, momentum died due to taking ill-timed penalties.

“We again spent half the game in the penalty box – 27 minutes of 60. If we hope to be competitive in this league, we have to cut our penalties way down so we are not relying on our penalty kill so much,” he said. “It is a tall task to ask to kill 12 penalties. We have allowed 14 goals in three games and 11 have been on the power play for the other team.”

Tenney said it boils down to a discipline issue for the team.

“It will be addressed,” he said. “We have to get things right in a hurry as we head into our home opening weekend against a very good Fighting Spirit team. I am also looking for a boost being in front of our home crowd next weekend.”

Next weekend, the Maine Wild will host the AHI Fighting Spirit in their home opener on Sept. 28. The Wild, who are 0-3, will look for their first win of the season. The New England Stars are 1-1 and will travel to Wilkes-Barre, Penn., to face off against the Wilkes-Barre Miners.

A college hockey fan and hockey player, Krista Patronick decided to pursue a career in sports management after earning a degree in English from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell in 2009 and spending three years in journalism. She received her Master's of Sports Management from Southern New Hampshire University in 2013. After realizing she was meant to work in the hockey world, Krista went to work in any press box she could get into. She kept statistics, wrote shot charts, tweeted and live-blogged her way to a job as an operations coordinator and marketing director at The Hockey Academy in Hudson, N.H. She works with the company's two junior teams, adult hockey players, and youth teams. Krista is a goalie and enjoys playing hockey in her spare time. She is a die-hard Bruins and River Hawks hockey fan. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @KristaPatronick

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