WATERVILLE — Short a few players and still smarting from a tough overtime loss to Winslow last week, the Waterville hockey team rebounded with one of its best efforts of the season Monday afternoon.
Nick Denis scored a hat trick and Chris Lee finished with a goal and three assists as Waterville skated past Cony/Monmouth 6-1 before a modest crowd at Alfond Rink.
“This is probably the best three periods we’ve put together all year,” Waterville coach Dennis Martin said. “We did all the little things and just out-worked them.”
Added Denis: “The Winslow game brought us down a lot. It was a really tough loss. We wanted to come out ready today and we did.”
Michael Oliveira had three assists and Andrew Roderigue also scored for Waterville (6-3-1), which played without forward Dalton Henderson and defenseman Todd Serbent.
Those two served the first of a two-game suspension as a result of being assessed major fighting penalties against Winslow last Wednesday.
“It was an awful game,” said Roderigue. “It was such a tough game for us. Hopefully, we can get rolling now.”
Zach Gagne scored the lone goal for Cony/Monmouth (6-5-0), which was out-played, out-worked and out-shot 37-24.
“We weren’t ready,” Cony/Monmouth coach Chad Foye said. “It’s frustrating. We talked about how you have to show up prepared. We’ll keep working.”
Added Gagne: “It was a lack of fire, a lack of intensity. We just didn’t have it.”
Waterville led 3-1 after two periods before it put the game away with three goals in the final five minutes of the third period.
Lee ignited the outburst when he took a pass from Oliveira and beat Cony/Monmouth goalie Tommy Small from out front with 5 minutes, 5 seconds remaining in regulation.
“Michael moved the puck and got it to me,” Lee said. “I was out front and a wide open net to shoot at. I wasn’t going to miss on that one.”
Denis and Edward Atkins scored in the final three minutes to cap the scoring.
“We just kept working hard,” Denis said.
Cony/Monmouth struck first just 5:29 into the game on a goal from Gagne, who made a nice individual effort in the corner.
Gagne, a senior captain, worked to possess the puck in the left corner then came into the circle and beat Waterville goalie Kaleb Kane with a tough-angle shot to the near post.
“I was fortunate,” Gagne said.
However, the Purple Panthers responded with a pair of power-play goals, the first coming just 48 seconds after Gagne scored.
Oliveira skated behind the Cony net then fed Denis a nice pass out front. Denis beat Small with a quick shot to the glove side.
“We’ve been working on the power play a lot,” Denis said.
With five minutes left in the period, Roderigue made it 2-1 when he called for the puck at the right point and blasted a shot through traffic that beat Small to the far side.
“We just kept shooting,” he said. “We played really well. It was a great win for us.”