The Skowhegan Area High School hockey team is off to an impressive start, winning three of its first five games.

The Indians won just once last season.

“I am pleased,” Skowhegan first-year coach Jeff Fowler said. “We’re playing good team defense and our goaltending is solid. We’re staying away from injuries, too. Things are good at this point, but the schedule has favored us so far. It’s going to get tougher from here on out. We’ll play our toughest opponent (tonight).”

Skowhegan will play Eastern B contender Messalonskee (3-1-0) at 6:05 tonight at Sukee Arena.

“We’ll find out more about ourselves,” Fowler said. “Messalonskee has a lot of offensive firepower. We’re well aware of that. It’s going to be a tough game. We’ll definitely be tested.”

Skowhegan, which has a co-operative team with Madison, is rotating Sam Edmondson and Kyle Carrier in net this season. Both are sophomores, although Edmondson attends Madison while Carrier goes to Skowhegan.

Edmondson will likely start tonight after he beat Gardiner 2-1 on Dec. 28.

“If you win your previous start you are probably going to earn the next start,” Fowler said. “It’s yours to lose.”

* * *

It’s common for teams to play and practice sporadically during the holidays.

But factor in a postponement and it can make this stretch all the more difficult for a team to absorb.

Messalonskee, for example, will play just its second game in more than two weeks when it faces off against rival Skowhegan tonight.

“It’s been a slow couple of weeks,” Messalonskee coach Mike Latendresse said. “It’s been slow times during the holidays. It always happens this time of the year, but the (postponement) really slowed us down.”

The Indians (3-1-1) and Eagles (3-1-0) were originally scheduled to play Dec. 21 but the game was postponed thanks to inclement weather.

Messalonskee sank Lawrence 12-0 on Dec. 28, its first game since Dec. 16.

“We’re ready to get back into the swing of things,” Latendresse said. “We’re pleased with where we’re at, but we’re not satisfied and nor should we be. We have a long ways to go.”

* * *

Waterville coach Dennis Martin is confident his team will break out of its season-long slump soon.

“We’ll find a way,” he said. “We’ll be all right. We just haven’t come through. I don’t know why. We’ll figure out something, but we have our work cut out for us.”

Indeed.

Through a third of the season, it’s been nothing but struggles for the Purple Panthers (0-6-0).

They’re averaging just one goal a game while allowing five and a half. Just three players have scored for the Panthers this season.

In an effort to find a spark, Martin moved defenseman Aaron Saucier to forward. He skates with JT Whitten and Dalton Denis.

“We’re just not finishing,” Martin said. “We have to figure out something, and we will. It’s 2012 now so last year is now behind us. We’ll be OK.”

* * *

Cony (3-1-0) is off to a strong start and sits third in Eastern A Heal points.

The Rams, who play at Gray-New Gloucester/Poland on Wednesday, have won two straight.

“We’re in pretty good shape entering the second half,” first-year coach Chad Foye said. “Our defense has done well. We’re not forcing pucks or making blind passes. One thing we have to work on is staying out of the box. We’re taking way too many penalties. But we have a good confidence level right now.”

The Rams hope to return to the Eastern A playoffs for the first time in two years.

“There is a different tone in practice now,” Foye said. “We want to get better. We have a long ways to go, but we’re improving.”

* * *

Games of the week: Skowhegan (3-1-1) and Messalonskee (3-1-0) play at 6:05 tonight at Sukee Arena. Cony (3-1-0) plays at Gray-New Gloucester/Poland (2-2-0) at 8 p.m. Wednesday. Also Wednesday, Gardiner (3-1-0) will play Winslow (0-6-0) at 5:10 p.m., also at Sukee.

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

[email protected]

 


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