The Waterville and Messalonskee hockey teams will play their third annual Cancer Awareness Game at 6:30 tonight at Alfond Rink.

Players from both teams will wear pink laces on their skates and have pink tape on their sticks.

“We’ll take donations from people and do a 50-50 raffle,” Messalonskee coach Mike Latendresse said. “It’s a joint effort on both teams to raise money.”

Proceeds raised will be donated to the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care in Augusta. The teams raised about $350 last season, Latendresse said.

“We hope to do $500 this year,” he said.

The Eagles (5-1-0) and the Purple Panthers (1-7-0) have had quite different starts to their seasons.

Messalonskee is a contender in Eastern B while Waterville is struggling in Eastern A, picking up its first victory of the season last week.

Still, Latendresse expects a tight game tonight.

“It is a big game,” he said. “When you look at Waterville, they’ve had a difficult start but they’re playing much better. They play such a difficult schedule. It’s a top Class A schedule. They are not like any other (1-7-0) team out there. They play all the top teams in both the West and East. Against us, it seems like they always find a way to play a great game.”

Waterville reaches the halfway point of its regular season tonight.

It’s been a tough first half of the season for the Panthers, who are coming off a 7-0 loss to Falmouth. The Panthers have allowed five or more goals in five of their seven losses. They were ranked 11th in Eastern A Heal points with only the top eight making the playoffs.

“We need to pick up a big win here and there,” Waterville coach Dennis Martin said. “We’re playing some top competition.”

And that includes Messalonskee, one of the top contenders in Eastern B.

“They are a rival of ours and they’ve been playing well,” Martin said. “Hopefully, anything can happen. We have to come ready to go.”

* * *

Lawrence is struggling but staying afloat in the Eastern B playoff chase.

The Bulldogs (2-6-0) have lost three straight games but still hold on to the seventh and final playoff spot in the conference.

“We are really young and inexperienced but I do see a lot of improvement,” Lawrence coach Dave Richard said. “We are taking our lumps, though.”

Injuries haven’t helped. Lawrence lost a pair of key defensemen — Clay Turner (shoulder) and Luke Lawrence (knee) — to injuries. Both players could be out for the season.

“That hurt us back there,” Richard said. “We are young back there.”

Richard had already moved the team’s starting goalie, Brad MacKenzie, to defense earlier this season because of depth issues.

Kyle McLain earned the starting goalie job this season.

“Both of those guys were kind of thrown into the fire,” Richard said. “But we’re working hard. We have to get back to the basics.”

* * *

Skowhegan (3-3-1) has lost two straight games, getting outscored by a combined 9-1 to Messalonskee (5-1-0) and Old Town (5-2-0).

“We weren’t expected to beat Messalonskee but I thought we had a good shot against Old Town,” Skowhegan coach Jeff Fowler said. “We’re struggling to score goals right now. If things aren’t working the way you want, then you make changes. And that is where we’re at right now. Nothing major, just little tweaks here and there.”

Fowler moved sophomore defenseman Anthony Paul to forward against Old Town to help rejuvenate the offense.

Paul responded by scoring the team’s lone goal in a 4-1 loss.

“He’s a good skater and he can make plays for us,” Fowler said.

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

[email protected]

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