It took the Gardiner hockey team more than a month to earn its first victory of the season.
A few weeks later and the Tigers have another first: A winning streak.
Young and inexperienced, Gardiner (3-9-0) skated to consecutive victories over Windham and Old Town/Orono last week, outscoring them 7-3.
“The guys are starting to see that their hard work is paying off,” Gardiner coach Jeff Ross said. “You can see the confidence growing. We definitely needed these wins.”
Courtney Cotnoir scored her first goal of the season in a 4-3 win over Windham last week. Freshman Ryan Kelley had a hat trick as well.
Senior captain Alex Nadeau scored two goals in a 3-0 win over Orono/Old Town last Saturday.
“Alex has really stepped up his game,” Ross said. “He’s been playing really, really well. He does everything we ask him to do. We use him quite a bit in so many situations.”
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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.
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The Kents Hill boys will need a strong finish and then a little help from others to qualify for the New England Prep School Division I playoffs.
Once again, the Huskies (7-13-3) feature several players from around the globe, including Sweden and Canada.
Two players with local ties are contributing for the Huskies.
Jared Cockrell, of Kents Hill, skates on the top line and is one of the top scorers on the team. He has 15 goals and 19 assists for 34 points. Sophomore Riley Boivin, of Augusta, is a third-line forward who is logging plenty of minutes.
Boivin has been out about a week with a concussion but hopes to return this week.
“It’s been a really great experience,” he said. “I came here my freshman year and it took me awhile to get used to the speed of the game here. It’s a much faster pace here and it’s way more serious. Right now my role is to play my position, to be a grinder in the corners. I like to do the dirty work.”
Added Cockrell, a senior captain, and son of coach Larry Cockrell: “It was a rough season in the beginning. We had a lot of new guys coming in and we didn’t gel really well. The last four games we’ve started to pull through.”
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Messalonskee has faced some of the best teams in Class A, with victories over Bangor and Falmouth.
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.”