WINSLOW — The Waterville hockey team will need a strong finish to avoid missing the Eastern A playoffs for a second consecutive season.
The Purple Panthers took a small step in their playoff quest Tuesday night with a 4-1 win over rival Lawrence at Alfond Rink.
Chris Lee scored two goals and assisted on two others to lead Waterville (3-12-0), which snapped a nine-game losing streak.
“We needed this one,” Lee said. “We had to snap that streak.”
Tom Sturtevant scored the eventual game-winning goal on the power play just 1 minute, 20 seconds into the third period to snap a 1-1 game.
Lee and Dalton Denis then scored 31 seconds apart midway through the third to ice the game.
“We turned it on in the third period,” said Waterville coach Dennis Martin, whose team scored twice on the power play. “We haven’t been scoring a lot on the power play; actually we just haven’t been scoring a lot of goals period.”
Opponents held Watervillle to just a goal in each of its last six games. The Panthers last scored four goals in a game on Jan. 3 — a 5-4 overtime loss to Maranacook/Hall-Dale/Winthrop.
Lawrence, which came in clinging to the seventh and final Eastern B playoff spot, dropped to 6-9-0.
Adam Littlefield scored the lone goal for the Bulldogs, which came late in the first period to tie the game at 1-1.
After a scoreless second period, Waterville took command of the game in the third, beginning with Sturtevant’s goal.
Will Bolduc set up the play with a nice effort to keep the puck in the offensive zone. He passed the puck down low to Sturtevant, who then kicked the puck to his stick before sticking it past Lawrence goalie Kyle McLain.
“I kicked it to myself and I had an opening,” Sturtevant said. “I got lucky. It was a big goal, though. We got rolling after that.”
Lee scored his second of the night with 7:51 left in the third. Lee took a pass from Bolduc and blasted a shot through traffic past McLain for a 3-1 lead.
“I took a ripper at the point,” Lee said. “There was a good screen and it just got through.”
Denis made it 4-1 just 31 seconds later when he sliced his way down the slot with a series of nifty moves before roofing a shot past McLain.
“They took it to us in the third,” Lawrence first-year coach Ted Fabian said. “They capitalized on their opportunities. Tonight was a tough one.
Waterville opened the scoring just 1:49 into the game when Lee took a nice pass from Michael Oliveira through the slot and ripped the puck past McLain with a low shot to the far post.
Lawrence tied it with 5:50 left in the period with a well-executed two-on-one rush.
Cody Martin gained control of the puck down the right side, fed the puck to Littlefield, who then buried it to the near side.
Bill Stewart — 621-5640