The Waterville Senior High School hockey team moved back into the Eastern A playoff mix with a tough 4-2 victory over Maranacook/Hall-Dale/Winthrop on Saturday night.

The Panthers (4-12-0) have won two straight games for the first time this season to climb into ninth place in Eastern A.

The top nine teams will qualify for the playoffs if Skowhegan finishes in the top eight. The Indians (5-8-2), who are in eighth place, were granted playoff eligibility despite playing primarily a Class B schedule this season.

“We’re in position,” Waterville coach Dennis Martin said. “We’re playing pretty good team hockey. We’re doing a lot of the things we weren’t doing in the beginning of the season. We’re more solid in our end. We’re blocking shots.”

The question is this: Is it too little, too late for Waterville?

The Panthers hold a slim lead over Mt. Ararat/Lisbon (5-8-1) entering games Monday night.

Waterville closes the season with games against Eastern A frontrunners Lewiston (11-3-1) and Bangor (11-3-0).

A win in either of those games would clinch a playoff berth. However, Waterville would need help should it lose both.

Mt. Ararat/Lisbon finishes with MHW (8-7-0), Cony (11-3-0), Massabesic/Old Orchard (5-8-1) and Fryeburg/Lake Region (5-8-0). A victory in any of those games, coupled with two Waterville losses, would move it into the postseason.

“We don’t want to rely on someone else doing it for us,” Martin said. “It’s going to be really, really close. We’re playing pretty good hockey now. Hopefully, it’s not too late.”

• • •

Messalonskee (14-2-0) has just two games left and appears locked in as the No. 2 seed for the Eastern B playoffs.

Brewer (15-1-0) maintains a healthy 38-point lead over Messalonskee. The Eagles, however, hold a similarly comfortable cushion over No. 3 Presque Isle (10-6-0).

Messalonskee is off until Saturday, when it plays Western B power Greely (10-3-2).

“It’s a good week for us to get healthy,” Messalonskee coach Mike Latendresse. “We’ve had some kids who have been sick and out, so this is good for us. Now having a game this week will allow us to get the whole team back and ready to go.”

Latendresse added he is excited to face Greely at the Falmouth Ice Center at 6:10 p.m. Saturday.

“They are really deep,” he said. “They can rotate three lines. It’s going to be a lot of fun. We’ll see where we stand.”

• • •

Lawrence received a boost last Saturday with the return of junior Clay Turner, who has been out most of this season with a shoulder injury. Turner played a little at forward and defense in a 4-2 loss to Winslow at Sukee Arena.

“We skated him everywhere,” Lawrence coach Dave Richard said. “He played well.”

The Bulldogs (2-12-1) are winless in their last 10 games, and Richard said he’s already prepping for next season.

“Mathematically we are already eliminated from the playoffs,” he said. “We’re trying to get guys playing time and experience at the varsity level. We’ve started re-grouping.”
• • •

Skowhegan will host Orono on Wednesday night in a game each team could use to help solidify playoff spots.

The Indians, who’ve dropped three of their last four games, are eighth in Eastern A. The Red Riots are seventh in Eastern B.

“Orono is worth some points,” Skowhegan coach Jeff Fowler said. “They are a tough team. We’d like to get this one. You can never get enough separation. We know teams are gunning for us.”

“We have to take care of our business,” said Fowler, whose team is 5-0-2 when it scores first this season.

• • •

MHW has lost three straight games for the first time this season, stalling its charge for a top four seed in Eastern A.

“We have to get back on track,” MHW coach Andy Dube said. “Everyone seems to be getting better but us. There is not a lot of time left, there is some, but not a lot. We need a big win here.”

MHW lost to Edward Little and Waterville (4-12-0) last week.

“The Edward Little game hurt us,” Dube said. “They’re gaining. This is a slump. I keep telling the kids to hang in there. The puck will bounce the right way eventually. The perfect time to come out of it is this week.”

The Hawks will play Mt. Ararat/Lisbon (5-8-1) today before they host Eastern A frontrunner Lewiston (11-3-1) on Friday.

MHW will also play Messalonskee (14-2-0) on Feb. 22

“We haven’t beaten a team above us in the rankings,” Dube said. “We’re capable of beating Lewiston. I really believe we can. Messalonskee and Lewiston, we have to win one of those games, if not both.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5640
[email protected]

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