LEWISTON — Sam Dexter called it a “punch in the mouth.”

Really, there were few other explanations for a painful minute in Saturday’s Class B boys hockey state championship game.

Greely scored three goals in a span of 62 seconds late in the first period then held on to beat Messalonskee 6-2 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee to win its second Class B state title in three seasons.

“The third goal was the toughest of the three,” Messalonskee coach Mike Latendresse said. “There was a major breakdown in our zone. When you give up three goals, it’s difficult to come back from.

“Greely is a fantastic team. I thought they were the better team.”

The Rangers (15-4-2) certainly were Saturday.

Ted Hart and captain Pete Stauber each scored two goals for the Rangers, whose depth and speed were big factors.

“I thought our depth played a role in the outcome of the game today,” Greely coach Barry Mothes said. “We got all 18 guys in the game today. Certainly, in the third period we had a little more jump; it was a big difference.”

Pete Hurley and Ben Hackett also scored for Greely while freshman goalie Kyle Kramlich earned the victory with 14 saves.

Dexter and Travis St. Pierre scored for Messalonskee, which hung around into the third before a pair of empty net goals put the game out of reach. Dexter finished with a single-season school record 48 goals.

“It’s pretty tough,” Dexter said. “We go out of this game without any regrets. We battled back when we needed to. We never gave up. (It was) kind of the theme of the whole season — never give up. It’s what got us to this point.”

Messalonskee senior goalie Nate DelGiudice was again strong in net with 31 saves.

“After about the first half of the first period, we had some point-blank chances and it’s sitting at 0-0 still,” Mothes said. “We would’ve preferred not to let DelGiudice go a couple periods without give up a goal.”

Stauber, Hackett and Hart scored within 1:02 of each other late in the first period. Stauber got it going with a terrific individual play at his own blue line, stealing the puck before splitting two defenders up the ice. He raced in alone on DelGiudice down the right side and scored with a low shot to the far post with 3:04 left in the first.

Greely scored again with 2:14 left in the period, when Hackett beat DelGiudice with a high shot from inside the right circle. Hart scored 12 seconds later from out front to deflate an Eagles squad that was outshot 10-4 in the period.

“The difference was we stopped playing for like one minute in the game,” St. Pierre said.

Added Mothes: “To be able to strike as quickly as we did, it wasn’t something we anticipated doing.”

The Eagles clawed back in the second when St. Pierre scored a power-play goal with 5:38 left in the second.

Then, things got interesting.

Sam Dexter and Jacob Dexter came up short on breakaway bids for the Eagles in the final five minutes of the period. With 4:05 left, Sam Dexter took a pass from Jacob up the middle, raced in alone on Kramlich, but couldn’t get a backhand shot off.

“I should’ve shot it for sure,” he said. “I did get it up on the backhand but kind of lost it. Tough break.”

The brothers reversed roles about three minutes later, when Sam hit Jacob with a nice pass at the Greely blue line. Jacob Dexter charged in alone and put a shot toward the far right corner. The puck beat Kramlich but rang off the right post to keep it a 3-1 game.

“It’s part of the game,” Latendresse said.

Added Mothes: “The two breakaways, it was painful to watch those guys go in like that. They just missed and that would’ve really changed the momentum. That would’ve given them a huge lift. We’re lucky we dodged that.”

Greely added three goals in the third period — two on empty netters — to seal the victory.

Bill Stewart — 621-5640
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