WINSLOW — Brewer and Messalonskee opened the regular season as the teams to beat in Eastern Class B boys hockey.

The Witches and the Eagles maintained their status as frontrunners throughout the winter, carving up their opposition with relative ease.

“All season, there’s been this feeling that we’d be the two teams in the Eastern Maine game,” Messalonskee junior defenseman Dominic Dexter said.

And here they are.

Top-seeded Brewer (18-1-0) and No. 2 Messalonskee (17-3) will play for the Eastern B championship at 7 tonight at the University of Maine’s Alfond Arena.

“We want this so bad,” Messalonskee senior forward Billy Blake said. “We’ve been working so hard for this since Day 1. Everything (Brewer) does, it motivates us. We are right there with them.”

Brewer edged Messalonskee three times this season, including the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B title game in which both teams rested key players.

The Witches won the regular-season meetings, 7-5 and 6-4. The Eagles squandered late leads in both games.

“We’re looking forward to Brewer,” Messalonskee senior Sam Dexter said. “It’s going to be a fast, physical game. We’ll be ready to go.”

Added Messalonskee goalie Nate DelGiudice, whose 16 shutouts are a program record: “We’ve played them three times so we know what they are all about.”

Brewer, the two-time defending Eastern B champ, put up lofty numbers this season. It scored seven or more goals in 10 of its 19 games.

The Witches’ lone loss came Jan. 4 to Eastern A semifinalist Bangor.

“It’s crazy the depth that we have,” Brewer coach David Shedd said. “We’re excited. It’s the two top teams in Eastern B.”

Both teams reached the championship game with convincing victories in the semifinals.

Brewer blasted No. 5 Old Town 7-1 while Messalonskee blanked Presque Isle 8-0.

Both teams also skated primarily three lines this season, but that changed in the semifinal games.

Messalonskee, with the loss of standout senior defenseman Shaun Veilleux (broken collarbone), shortened its bench and skated just two lines against Presque Isle. Third-line forward Corey Foye shifted behind the blue line to fill the void.

Shedd said he, too, skated two lines last Saturday, but for a different reason.

“It was purposeful,” he said. “We wanted to show Messalonskee what two lines can do.”

Joe Fowler, Jake Chapman and Tyler White — all seniors — skate on Brewer’s top line.

All three are dangerous with the puck and bring plenty of speed.

“This is not going to be easy,” Chapman said. “We’re going to have work very hard. We both know each other really well. They like to dump and chase to wear you out. We just have to get to the net. We need to get an early lead.”

Messalonskee is led offensively by its top line, comprised of Sam Dexter, Chase Cunningham and James Varney.

Dexter led the Eagles with 44 goals.

“Dexter is a real class act,” Shedd said. “He’s a swell guy on and off the ice.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

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