The Messalonskee hockey team entered the season with lofty expectations as an Eastern B title contender. The Eagles feature enough talent and depth to challenge two-time defending Eastern B champ Brewer.

Messalonskee received its first look at Brewer last Wednesday, losing 7-5 in a game it led 3-0 and 5-3.

“They are a great team, a very talented and very skilled team,” Messalonskee coach Mike Latendresse said. “But I felt good about what we accomplished. We didn’t play well enough to win, but it was a chance to see where we’re at against the best in the state, or at least the best in the East.”

The Eagles (2-1-0) led the Witches 3-0 late in the second period and then 5-3 in the third.

“We have room for improvement but we’ve played really well,” Latendresse said. “Our players understand what we’re trying to accomplish.”

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It’s been a tough season-opening stretch for the Winslow boys.

The Black Raiders lost their first two games by a combined 14-1, to Messalonskee and Greely, and will play at defending Eastern B champ Brewer tonight.

“It’s tough when you play the top three teams right away,” Winslow coach Corey Lessard said. “We need to get a little quicker and a little faster to stay with these teams like Brewer and Greely. But as long as I see we’re getting progressively better, I’ll be happy.”

Lessard added that sophomore defenseman Walker Thompson has stood out in the early going.

“He’s stepping into a starting role,” he said. “He’s a big kid for a sophomore and is still working into his body. He’s really showed improvement.”

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The Winslow girls are 2-1-0 in their last three games after losing their first three by a combined 15-5.

“We’ve really pushed a lot on conditioning and on the forecheck,” Winslow coach Eric Lachance said. “We feel we’ve given them enough time for the basics and it’s time to start with the systems. The younger players are understanding the game and the older girls have stepped up their play.”

Sarah Fowler continues to dominate in the early going. The senior has 11 of the team’s 18 goals.

“She’s picked up her game,” Lachance said. “She’s definitely a force and wants to go out on a bang.”

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Despite a 10-1 loss to defending Class A champion Thornton Academy, Waterville coach Dennis Martin saw some positives.

“We did a decent job on our forecheck here and there,” Martin said. “We skated with them for the first 10 minutes of the game. We know we’ve got to stay out of the penalty box.”

The Panthers took 16 minutes in penalties against the Trojans and surrendered four power-play goals. The Panthers need to find an offensive spark, too. In three games, Waterville (0-3-0) has been outscored 21-2.

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Games of the week: Cony (1-1-0) at Waterville (0-3-0), at 6:10 p.m. Wednesday at Colby. The Rams hope to bounce back from a 4-2 loss to MHW while the Purple Panthers hope to rebound from a difficult stretch to open the season. Also, Lawrence (1-1-0) plays Winslow (0-2-0) at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

Staff writer Travis Lazarczyk contributed to this report.

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

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