WINSLOW — Through its first nine games, the midway point of the regular season, the Messalonskee High School hockey team carved up a predominantly soft schedule.

The second half, which began Wednesday with a 6-1 win against Eastern A playoff contender Brunswick, promises to be a bit more challenging.

Sam Dexter scored a hat trick and Travis St. Pierre added four assists to lead the Eagles in a game that should help their Eastern B playoff positioning.

“This is a big win for us,” Dexter said. “There are a lot of (Heal) points involved. They are one of the tougher tasks this season. We’ve had some games that have not been that close.”

James Varney, Jake Dexter and Billy Blake also scored for Messalonskee (9-1-0).

Ryan Maciejewski scored the lone goal for Brunswick (5-5-1).

The victory is the first for Messalonskee over a team with a .500 record since it beat Presque Isle (6-5-0) on Dec. 16.

The Eagles faced just two teams with winning records in their first nine games, going 1-1-0. However, they will play seven of their final nine regular season games against teams with a .500 record.

“This was a good, quality win,” Messalonskee coach Mike Latendresse said. “To beat a Class A team in the playoff hunt, it’s pretty good.”

Dexter jumped on the Dragons when he took a pass from Cunningham down the right wing and beat goalie Jason Blier with a low shot to the far post midway through the period. He made it 2-0 when he converted a breakaway with 1 minute, 14 seconds left in the first period.

Dexter, who took a great pass from St. Pierre up the middle, broke in alone, faked the forehand, then tucked the puck top shelf on a pretty backhand shot.

“It was probably the best pass I’ve ever had from Travis in any sport,” Dexter said. “He put it threw so many legs. It was incredible. I’ve been working on my backhand, and I had to put that one away.”

Added St. Pierre: “I turned around and saw the big guy going and just got him the puck.”

The goals were more than enough for DelGiudice, who had 17 saves.

Dexter got his hat trick just 6:06 into the second period when he charged down the right side and beat Blier with a rising wrister to the far post.

Varney made it 4-0 about five minutes later with a nearly identical goal, beating Blier from inside the right faceoff circle on a high shot.

“We didn’t do well in transition,” Brunswick coach Mike Routhier said. “Four of their six goals were on fast breaks.”

Next up for Messalonskee is a showdown with two-time defending Eastern B champ Brewer (11-1-0) on Saturday at Sukee Arena. The Witches edged the Eagles 7-5 on Dec. 14.

Both teams said they eagerly await the game.

“It should be a good one,” Brewer coach David Shedd after his team beat Winslow 16-2 in the early game Wednesday at Sukee. “Mike (Latendresse) has a good hockey team there. Saturday should be fun.”

Added Latendresse: “We’re playing the best team in (Eastern B). We didn’t want to look ahead, and we didn’t. We took care of business (Wednesday).”

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

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