The Messalonskee hockey team is off to its best start in years, winning eight of its first nine games in mostly dominating fashion.

The Eagles (8-1-0) have out-scored their opposition 61-16 in nine games, and top-line forwards Sam Dexter and Chase Cunningham are each on pace to score 50 points this season.

Senior netminder Nate DelGiudice has posted three shutouts. Thanks to a much-improved defense, DelGiudice is also facing about 16 shots a game — down from about 35 he saw last season.

Despite the dominant run to start the season, Messalonskee still finds itself ranked just fourth in Eastern B Heal points.

The reasoning?

A weak first-half schedule. Messalonskee has faced just two teams — Presque Isle (6-5-0) and Brewer (9-1-0) — with winning records. The Eagles split those games.

“We are beating the teams we are supposed to, which isn’t always easy to do,” Messalonskee coach Mike Latendresse said after his team defeated Lawrence 7-1 on Saturday night. “The second half is much tougher. We’ll have to elevate our game. We’ll have a lot of opportunities to pick up some Heal points.”

Indeed, the schedule does get considerably tougher here on out.

Messalonskee hosts Eastern A playoff contender Brunswick (5-4-1) at 7:10 p.m., Wednesday. On Saturday, two-time defending Eastern B champ Brewer comes to Sukee for a 7:20 p.m. game.

“We have a lot of potential,” Latendresse said. “We haven’t accomplished anything yet, but in a week and half we’ll know a lot more of where we’re at.”

* * *

Skowhegan (3-5-2) is riding a five-game winless streak and has dropped to eighth in Eastern A.

Despite the recent struggles, the Indians have showed a big turnaround from last season.

For starters, the team won just once last year. Furthermore, Skowhegan allowed just 24 goals through its first nine games this season. It allowed 37 through its first nine games last season. The Indians also scored 25 goals after nine games compared to 14 from this point last season.

“The effort is there,” Skowhegan first-year coach Jeff Fowler said. “We are close, but we’re not there yet. We are going in the right direction.”

* * *

Waterville (2-10-0) again switched its lines around to jump-start a stagnant offense.

Coach Dennis Martin moved Aaron Saucier back behind the blue line and moved Chris Lee to forward.

Lee skated with JT Whitten and Dalton Denis in a 6-0 win over Winslow on Saturday.

Lee had a goal in the victory.

“We wanted Aaron back on (defense) because he can play physical,” Martin said. “We had to do something.”

Added Whitten: “It was a different change, but Chris moves the puck well. We do have to get going.”

* * *

Cony (6-3-0) is riding a two-game winning streak to keep pace in the Eastern A playoff hunt. The Rams are ranked sixth in Eastern A Heal points with the top eight making the playoffs.

The Rams blanked Skowhegan 2-0 on Saturday. Although first-year coach Chad Foye said they need to play better to make a playoff run.

“We play well in spurts but not for 45 minutes,” Foye said. “We need to learn to play 45 minutes. We’re just not going as hard as we can. I’m not all that happy with how we played.”

The Rams have received steady play from goalie Matt Swan this season.

The senior has a 2.30 goals against average.

“He’s been steady,” Foye said. “We knew going into the year he would have to be consistent, and he has been.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

[email protected]


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