WATERVILLE — With 22 shots in the first period, it looked like the Waterville Senior High School ice hockey team had a chance to romp over Hampden Academy in their Eastern Class B quarterfinal game. It didn’t happen that way.
The Purple Panthers outshot the Broncos 47-26, and never trailed, but still needed a pair of late goals to put the game away and take a 5-2 win at Colby College’s Alfond Rink.
“We came out focused. We tried to get nerves out early,” Waterville coach Dennis Martin said. “We played really well.”
Waterville, the number three seed, is now 11-7-1 and will face No. 2 Presque Isle in the semis at Winslow’s Sukee Arena at 5 p.m. Saturday. No. 6 Hampden ends the season at 8-9-2.
“We knew we had to jump on them in the first period,” Waterville’s Andrew Rodrigue, who scored two goals and assisted two others, said.
Waterville led 3-1 after two periods, but the Broncos cut into the Panthers’ lead at 7:08 of the third, when Riley Eastman scored a power play goal. The third period was Hampden’s best offesnsively. The Broncos had 15 shots over the final 15 minutes, and controlled play more than they had the entire game, but at the 9:45 mark, the Panthers got the insurance goal they needed. Tom Samson scored with assists from Dalton Henderson and Rodrigue to give Waterville a 4-2 lead.
Rodrigue scored an empty net goal with 12.1 seconds left to seal the win for Waterville.
All the first period scoring came in a 36 second flurry. Andrew Roderigue’s power play blast from the circle to the right of Hampden keeper Ryan Manning gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead at the 10:02 mark.
Added Rodrigue: “The puck was in the corner and I put it right out front. It went five-hole. It was a tough angle shot.”
“It was real big to get that first goal. That got us going. We took a lot of shots, got a lot of pucks on net,” Martin said.
Twenty-five seconds later, Waterville had a 2-0 lead on Michael Oliveira’s goal. Eleven seconds later, ther Broncos got a goal back when Dylan Cray scored, cutting the Panthers’ lead to 2-1.
Oliveira scored Waterville’s second power play goal at 11:41 of the second, tipping in a pass from Rodrigue in front of the left post.
Waterville peppered Manning throughout the first period, outshooting the Broncos 22-3.
“We did really well with our forechecking and our defensive zone coverage,” Waterville’s Nick Denis said. “We took quick shots, and it paid off.”
Kane made 24 saves for the Panthers, and assisted on Rodrigue’s empty net goal.
Staff writer Bill Stewart contributed to this story.