The Waterville and Winslow hockey teams will renew their rivalry Wednesday at Sukee Arena. The Eastern B teams last played Dec. 27, with the Purple Panthers skating to a 2-0 victory. Both teams are looking to move on from tough losses in recent days.

Waterville dropped a 3-2 decision to Maranacook/Winthrop, which scored the game-winner with just 37 seconds left in regulation. Winslow, meanwhile, lost a 10-0 decision to Messalonskee last Thursday. The Black Raiders played Hampden on Monday night.

“It’s a big rivalry game and it’s always a hard-fought game when we play them,” Waterville coach Dennis Martin said. “I expect both teams will come ready to play. Coming off our loss, we are looking to respond, to get back at it. We need to finish. We are looking to get back on track.”

The Panthers are in excellent shape for the playoffs. They are second behind Messalonskee in Eastern B Heal points. Winslow is in seventh, with only the top six qualifying for the postseason.

“We have to cut down on our mental mistakes,” Martin said. “We’re still in second, but that was a tough loss to (Maranacook/Winthrop). We had some breakdowns that you just can’t have.”

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Messalonskee (7-0-0) had its game last Saturday at Houlton/Hodgdon postponed and it won’t play again until it meets Orono/Old Town on Friday at the University of Maine.

The time off will benefit the two-time defending Eastern B champs, coach Mike Latendresse said.

“We haven’t had a good week to practice since training camp,” he said. “We’ve had some time off, around the holidays and with the weather, but not just time to practice.”

The Eagles are rolling, having outscored the opposition 48-12 in seven games. Still, Latendresse said there are several areas in which thy need to improve.

“Our neutral zone play definitely needs to be better,” he said. “We need to be tougher to play against in that area. The other aspect I’m still not pleased with is our special teams play, especially on the power play. Sometimes we’re trying to be too cute, too fancy. We’re creating but we haven’t had good results.

“This time off will really help us. We’ll get ready for the second-third of the year and try to refocus.”

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Lawrence/Skowhegan finally has its top two goalies healthy after Kyle McLain recently returned from a high ankle sprain. McLain, who competes with Sam Edmondson for the starting job, missed five weeks.

“Kyle, he’s ready to go,” Bandits coach Ted Fabian said. “When he was out, Sam really took over the reins. He’s done a great job for us.”

Edmondson has indeed played well, particularly in a 3-2 win over Cony last week. However, now that McLain is back, Fabian acknowledged the two goalies may split the time again.

“It’s a real battle,” Fabian said, “and it’s based on their performance in practice. I really see them battling all year and I think that’s a healthy thing. They push each other and make each other better. Unless someone really just steps up and grabs it, I just see them competing all year for it.”

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AROUND THE STATE: Two-time defending Class B state champ Greely is off to a 1-4-2 start, and to make matters worse it learned standout junior goalie Kyle Kramlich could miss significant time after fracturing his wrist in practice last Tuesday. “It happened out of nowhere,” Greely coach Barry Mothes said. “It’s frustrating and it’s devastating. We don’t know the prognosis but he could be out for quite awhile.” Senior Christian Kroot started in net the last two games for the Rangers. … Lewiston (7-1-0) is one of the hottest teams in the state. The Blue Devils have won five consecutive games against formidable competition. They have victories over Greely, St. Dom’s, Falmouth, Biddeford and Thornton Academy. “We’re moving the puck very well,” Lewiston coach Jamie Belleau said. “We’ve really been playing well defensively. We’ve been limiting quality shots and against some tough teams, too.”

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