February 3

HOCKEY NOTEBOOK: Messalonskee gears up for showdown

Eagles to face Camden on Wednesday

By Bill Stewart bstewart@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

The Messalonskee hockey team has faced some of the best teams in Class A, with victories over Bangor and Falmouth.

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• Waterville forward Nick Dennis scored a goal and an assist in a 4-2 win over Hampden and scored a goal in a 4-3 loss to Presque Isle.

• Lawrence/Skowhegan forward Cody Martin scored four goals in a 5-1 win over Houlton/Hodgdon.

• Lawrence/Skowhegan forward Chase Nelson had five assists in a 5-1 win over Houlton/Hodgdon.

• Gardiner forward Ryan Kelley had a hat trick in a 4-3 win over Windham.

• Gardiner forward Courtney Cotnoir scored a goal in a 4-3 win over Windham.

• Messalonskee forward Chase Cunningham had four goals and three assists in a 9-0 win over Brewer.

• Messalonskee forward forward Jared Cunningham had two goals and five assists in a 9-0 win over Brewer.

• Cony/Monmouth defenseman Zach Gagne had two goals in a 4-2 win over Brunswick.

Kennebec Journal / Morning Sentinel Top 10

1. Messalonskee

2. Lewiston

3. Scarborough

4. Falmouth

5. Bangor

6. Biddeford

7. St. Dominic

8. Thornton

9. Greely

10. Camden

Now, the Eagles are preparing to face one of the top teams in Western B.

Messalonskee (11-0-0) will host Camden Hills (10-1-1) on Wednesday at Sukee Arena in a possible preview of the Class B state final.

The Windjammers, like the Eagles, feature a prolific offense.

“It’s going to be interesting to see how we measure up,” Messalonskee coach Mike Latendresse said. “This is the first team we’ll see from Western B this year. It’s going to be a really good challenge for us. We’ll see how we’ll perform.”

Messalonskee, which played at Hampden on Monday night, received a boost with the return of senior forward Josh Towle, who’s been out with a broken arm. Towle has been practicing for a few weeks.

“We’re going to ease him back in,” Latendresse said. “There is no need to rush him back in there.”

Towle skated with the Cunningham brothers, Jared and Chase, last season and Latendresse said he plans to keep the trio together.

Forward Dan Condon, who had been skating with the Cunninghams with Towle out, will skate with Kalib Bernatchez and Jake Dexter.

“We’ll see how it goes,” Latendresse said. “The Dan, Kalib and (Dexter) line has the potential to be a really physical and productive line.”

Camden coach Karl Enroth, whose team is battling two-time defending Class B state champ Greely (5-5-3) for the top spot in Western B, said he, too, is excited about the matchup Wednesday.

“They are one of the best teams in the state,” he said. “It should be a great game. We’ve been looking forward to it.”

• • •

Waterville suffered a tough 4-3 loss to Presque Isle on Saturday morning but still has a strong lead for second place in Eastern B.

The Purple Panthers (9-4-1) entered play Monday with a comfortable lead over Presque Isle (8-5-1) for the coveted second spot.

The top two teams in Eastern B receive byes to the regional semifinals.

Although Messalonskee has all but wrapped up the No. 1 seed, second place is still undecided.

“We had a real sloppy game against PI,” Waterville coach Dennis Martin said. “We want that bye. It’s what we’re shooting for. The second seed not only gives you a bye but it gives you a chance to scout who you might play. Plus, we’d be able to rest a few guys.”

Waterville has four games remaining in the regular season, beginning Tuesday against John Bapst (6-7-0). The Panthers also face Orono/Old Town (1-11-0), Messalonskee and Camden Hills.

“If we win two more games, we should be OK for second,” Martin said. “We’ll see.”

• • •

Cony/Monmouth scored its biggest win of the season last Thursday with a 4-2 decision over Brunswick in a key Eastern A game at the Bank of Maine Ice Vault.

“It was our best effort of the year,” Cony/Monmouth coach Chad Foye said. “It really helped us. We needed that win.”

Cony/Monmouth (8-5-0) began to slip down the standings after it lost three of four games earlier last month.

However, it jumped back into fifth place with victories over Winslow and Brunswick (8-6-1), which entered play Monday sitting third in Eastern A.

“We’re going to play Brunswick again so we have to keep working hard,” Foye said. “Every game we have left is against teams we are competing for playoff points. It’s going to be a good finish.”

Cony/Monmouth still has games left against Brunswick, Edward Little (8-5-0), Lawrence/Skowhegan (8-5-0) and Bangor (8-3-0).

“We’re going to have to show up every night,” Foye said.

Bill Stewart — 621-5640bstewart@centralmaine.comTwitter: @billstewartkj
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