The high school hockey season came to a close last weekend with the crowning of a pair of state champions — Thornton in Class A and Greely in B.

There were plenty of storylines that emerged throughout the season, and in Central Maine particularly.

Here are a few of them …

* Messalonskee wins first regional title in program history.

The Eagles (18-4-0) dropped from Class A to B this year, and the results were profound and immediate.

They stormed the conference and upended two-time defending regional champ Brewer in the Eastern B final.

Messalonskee, which fell short in the Class B state title game to Greely, cleaned up the postseason awards.

Sam Dexter, who finished with a program record 48 goals, was named Player of the Year in Eastern B. Senior goalie Nate DelGiudice and defenseman Travis St. Pierre were named to the Eastern B First Team as well.

Chase Cunningham was named to the Second Team.

“It really was a great season,” Messalonskee coach Mike Latendresse said. “When we started, we had two goals. One, we wanted to make the playoffs, and, two, we wanted to win our last game. We didn’t do that but we had an incredible run.

“We created history for the Messalonskee High School hockey program. It was just a special run.”

* Cony snaps playoff drought.

The Rams shook off years of futility by finishing the regular season 14-4-0 to earn the fourth seed in the Eastern A playoffs.

“The big reason of the turnaround is that the kids played with more confidence,” first-year coach Chad Foye said. “We finished things off. We didn’t have a whole lot of tough times. The kids were ready to step up and play.”

Cony edged Maranacook/Hall-Dale/Winthrop in the quarterfinals to win their first playoff game in 10 years.

Cony won 10 of its final 11 regular-season games.

“It was an important season because we want to get as many kids playing hockey as we can,” Foye said. “Preps and juniors can pull kids away and having a season like this helps kids want to stick around.”

* Waterville and Winslow struggle through disappointing seasons.

It wasn’t too long ago when both programs stood atop their respective classes — Waterville in A, Winslow in B.

Waterville won the 2009 Class A state title a season after Winslow won the Class B crown.

Neither was much of a factor this season.

The Purple Panthers and Black Raiders combined to go 5-30-1.

“It’s pretty much unheard of,” Waterville coach Dennis Martin said. “Two powers had tough seasons.”

Waterville played one of the most grueling schedules in the state, including games against Thornton, Falmouth, Biddeford, Bangor, Lewiston and St. Dominic.

Martin said the schedule will change next season.

“Next year we’ll make sure we’ll play the teams we have to, to make the playoffs,” he said. “We’ll play our local rivals, Lawrence, Winslow and Messalonskee but then we’ll see.”

Furthermore, Martin added there’s a chance the program will drop to Class B after next season.

“It’s what the school wants us to do,” he said. “I don’t really want to, but it may be a numbers thing. “

Waterville played well down the stretch, winning two of its final four games.

However, it wasn’t enough for it to reach the playoffs.

“Were we one of the top eight teams in the East?” Martin asked. “Yes, but we didn’t make the playoffs. When we started playing better, it was a little too late.”

* * *

The finalists for the Travis Roy Award were announced Monday.

Thornton Academy forward C.J. Maksut and Biddeford defenseman Taylor Reuillard represent the West. Bangor goalie Chris Howat and Lewiston defenseman Brandon Tiner emerged from the East.

Maksut led Thornton to the Class A state title and finished with a program record 143 points.

Waterville forward JT Whitten was a semifinalist for the award, which is given annually to the top senior player in Class A.

The winner will be announced at the Class A Hockey Coaches Association banquet Sunday at the Ramada Inn in Lewiston. The event starts at noon.

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

[email protected]

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