Two-time defending Eastern B champion Messalonskee beat Bangor 3-2 on Saturday night to earn one of its biggest regular season victories in recent years.

“Bangor is really, really good team in Class A East,” Messalonskee coach Mike Latendresse said. “They are one of the top two or three teams in the East. They are big, physical, fast and they have some depth. This was a key victory for us. It was a big challenge. As far as regular season games, this is one of the biggest we’ve had a in a long time. We’ve played Greely the last few years in the regular season but never came out on top.”

The Eagles and Rams were tied 2-2 when freshman defenseman-turned-forward Brandon Nale scored the game-winning goal midway through the third period.

“We played extremely well,” Latendresse said. “We stuck to the game plan and really just played a sound game.”

However, it wasn’t all good news for Messalonskee.

Top line forward Josh Towle broke an arm during the game could be out anywhere from three to six weeks. Towle skates with brothers Jared and Chase Cunningham. After the injury, Latendresse moved Nale to forward.

“We’re not all that healthy, but we still stepped up,” Latendresse said.

Messalonskee is at John Bapst on Wednesday. The Eagles return home Saturday for an 8 p.m. showdown with Western A power Falmouth.

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There are different philopshies to piecing together the forward lines.

Some coaches will group their three best players to form a clear top line. Others choose to spreading the talent around trying to creating balance.

New Winslow boys coach Andy Dube said he looks for one thing when determining his groupings.

“Speed,” he said. “I try to set it so each guy on the line has comparable speed. That’s how I’ve always done it. Having two really fast guys coupled with a guy who is just good with the puck doesn’t always work.”

The Black Raiders opened the season with an impressive 5-2 victory over Presque Isle on Saturday at Sukee Arena.

Jimmy Fowler and Alex Berard each scored two goals to lead Winslow (1-0-0).

Fowler, Berard and Jacob Trask skated together while Dube paired Keegan Cain, Jacob Larsen and Jacob Boudreau on another line.

The results paid off against the Wildcats (1-1-0), who were coming off a victory over an Eastern A team, Skowhegan/Lawrence, the night before.

“We feel we have two really good, solid lines,” Dube said. “We also have a third line we feel very comfortable with we skated four defensemen.”

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Lawrence/Skowhegan (1-1-0) rebounded from a season-opening loss to Presque Isle on Friday with a shut out of Mt. Ararat/Lisbon the following night.

“It was really important for us,” Bandits coach Ted Fabian said of his team’s 3-0 win. “We expected to come out Friday with a lot more than what we did. We just didn’t bring it. We had to do better than that. It was good we had back-to-back games.”

Andrew Carpenter scored both goals in the 5-2 loss to Presque Isle. He then had a goal and two assists against Mt. Ararat/Lisbon.

“He’s a special player,” Fabian said. “He’s a natural goal scorer. He has a knack for the net.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5640[email protected]Twitter: @billstewartkj