The Maranacook/Winthrop co-operative opened the season with a 7-4 loss to Cony on Saturday.

Austin Davis scored a hat trick for the Rams while four different players scored for the Hawks.

First-year Maranacook/Winthrop coach Chip Jones said his team has plenty to work on before its next game Thursday against Gardiner (0-1-0) at the Bank of Maine Ice Vault.

“We’re going to have to work harder on our forecheck,” Jones said. “We worked on it all preseason and it’s looked pretty good in practices. When we used it effectively Saturday, we created two turnovers and got two goals. But against a team like Cony we have to push the envelope harder.”

The Hawks also were whistled for 15 penalties, something Jones acknowledged hurt his team.

“Way too many,” he said. “We still have a lot of learning to do.”

• • •

Gardiner experienced what coach Jeff Ross called a “real eye opener” in a season-opening 8-0 loss to Camden Hills in a Western B game Saturday.

Ross knows it’s going to take some time for his young team to develop in the early going, and that Saturday was just a step in the process.

“We did some good things,” Ross said. “We competed. But their two big guys really just overwhelmed and overpowered us.”

Grayson Szumilas and Jack Orne each finished with four points for the Windjammers, who could challenge Greely for the Western B title.

“These guys are two of the best players in the state, regardless of class,” Ross said. “That line just killed us. They dominated but we had our moments. (Freshman) Hunter Russell played a nice game defensively.”

The Tigers featured a pair of freshmen on one of the top lines, Jacob Folsom and Tristan Hebert. The two skated with senior captain Alex Nadeau.

“This was a good lesson for our younger guys,” Ross said. “They got to see a very, very good team. Camden has a lot of speed. They exposed some things on us, but that’s OK. I’d rather have things get exposed now then in three weeks.”

• • •

Two-time defending Eastern B champion Messalonskee beat Bangor 3-2 on Saturday night to earn one of its biggest regular season victories in recent years.

“Bangor is really, really good team in Class A East,” Messalonskee coach Mike Latendresse said. “They are one of the top two or three teams in the East. They are big, physical, fast and they have some depth. This was a key victory for us. It was a big challenge. As far as regular season games, this is one of the biggest we’ve had a in a long time. We’ve played Greely the last few years in the regular season but never came out on top.”

The Eagles and Rams were tied 2-2 when freshman defenseman-turned-forward Brandon Nale scored the game-winning goal midway through the third period.

“We played extremely well,” Latendresse said. “We stuck to the game plan and really just played a sound game.”

However, it wasn’t all good news for Messalonskee.

Top line forward Josh Towle broke an arm during the game could be out anywhere from three to six weeks. Towle skates with brothers Jared and Chase Cunningham. After the injury, Latendresse moved Nale to forward.

“We’re not all that healthy, but we still stepped up,” Latendresse said.

Messalonskee at John Bapst on Wednesday. The Eagles return home Saturday for an 8 p.m. showdown with Western A power Falmouth.

Bill Stewart — 621-5640[email protected]Twitter: @billstewartkj

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