ORONO — Sam Dexter raced over to fellow Messalonskee High School senior Nate DelGiudice and leaped into his arms, the final horn already reverberating inside Alfond Arena.

Chase Cunningham followed. Then James Varney and the rest of the Eagles.

Coach Mike Latendresse ran out on the ice to join the celebration, raising his right index finger to a throng of supporters.

The Eagles were regional champs.

Dexter scored two goals and DelGiudice stopped 35 shots to lead Messalonskee past top-seeded Brewer 5-2 in the Eastern B championship game Tuesday night at the University of Maine.

“All season long we have worked for this moment,” Messalonskee coach Mike Latendresse said. “We accomplished it. We made it.”

Added Dexter: “It’s unbelievable. It’s all I can say. It’s an incredible feeling and I’ll never forget it.”

No. 2 Messalonskee (18-3) will play either York (12-5-2) or Greely (13-4-2) in the Class B state final at noon Saturday at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

“It just feels so unbelievable,” DelGiudice said. “It was just a great game all around.”

Messalonskee led 1-0 after the first period and 4-1 after two before settling into a defensive style in the third to win its first-ever regional championship. The Eagles played in Eastern A last season.

Corey Foye, Travis St. Pierre and Chase Cunningham also scored for Messalonskee, which had lost three games to Brewer earlier this season.

“We left with a bad taste in our mouths after every time we played them this year,” Dexter said.

Spencer Valley and Joe Fowler scored for two-time defending champ Brewer (18-2-0).

“It was a very good game,” Brewer coach David Shedd said. “They deserved to win. They played well. It was a really good game.”

Messalonskee led just 1-0 before Dexter and the Eagles pulled away for good with a flurry of goals in the second.

Dexter scored both his goals in the second, the first coming 2 minutes, 30 seconds into the period on a rocket of a shot from the right side.

“I just let it fly,” he said. “We just tried to shoot it on net as much as possible.”

He made it 3-0 with 4:06 left in the period, this time beating Brewer goalie Adam Cossette from out front with a low shot under the right pad.

The goal came six seconds after Valley nearly put Brewer on the board when he ripped the puck off the crossbar.

The Eagles took a commanding 4-0 lead when Corey Foye scored with 1:23 left in the second.

However, Joe Fowler finally put Brewer on the board when he beat DelGiudice with a backhand with just .4 seconds left in the second.

Brewer pulled within 4-2 when Valley scored with 2:33 left in regulation. However, St. Pierre iced it with an empty-net goal.

“Nate DelGiudice is the best goalie in the state, and he showed why tonight,” Latendresse said. “And Sammy Dexter, what can you say? He’s just the best leader.”

Both teams came out flying and generated plenty of scoring chances.

Cunningham gave the Eagles a 1-0 lead when converted he converted a rebound with 5:27 left in the first period.

Dexter and James Varney set up the goal with quick shots from inside the left circle.

Cossette stopped the initial shots, but kicked the puck into the slot on the third Messalonskee attempt.

Cunningham, who previously missed a rebound from in the slot just three minutes into the game, buried the puck past Cossette to give the Eagles the lead.

“It’s just an incredible feeling,” Latendresse said. “I knew we could do this.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

[email protected]

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