WATERVILLE — Messalonskee seemed to take the fact that Waterville hadn’t allowed a goal this season as a challenge Monday night. The result was relentless pressure and the Eagles taking control of Monday’s Eastern B showdown midway through the first period.

The Eagles scored a shorthanded goal 2:02 into the game, then responded to two Waterville power play scores with six unanswered goals in an impressive 7-2 victory at Colby College’s Alfond Rink.

Brandon Nale, Jake Dexter and Dylan Burton collected two goals apiece for Messalonskee (4-1). Burton tallied three assists, Nale and Dexter two each as the Eagles handed the Purple Panthers their first loss of the season.

“It puts us into first place, which is a great place to be, and it’s where we’d like to be the rest of the season,” Messalonskee goalie Elija Tuell said.

The Eagles (4-1) put themselves in a tight spot with a five-minute boarding major just 1:13 into the game. Cunningham took away some of the sting with his shorthanded goal 49 seconds into the power play.

“The shorthanded goal was a good sign,” Nale said. “Our penalty kill is probably just as good as our power play. We’re very aggressive on it.”


Waterville regrouped quickly and Michael Oliveira beat Tuell top shelf with a wrister at 3:39 to tie it.

Andrew Roderigue then gave the Panthers (3-1) their only lead, stopping a puck at the blue line to keep it in the offensive zone before skating to the middle of the left circle untouched and beating Tuell short side with a wrister at 4:52.

Tuell, who made 26 saves in the Messalonskee net, and the Eagles’ penalty kill bounced back strong after that, holding the Purple Panthers scoreless on all five ensuing power plays.

“I think those two weak goals made me get my head in the game and got me to focus a little more,” Tuell said. “After that, it was just make the easy saves.”

“We tightened up a lot,” Messalonskee coach Joe Hague said. “Those five-minute majors really are a thorn in your side because it’s a shooting gallery after that. Yeah, we did have a couple go in but after that everybody tightened up (the) ship. The goalie was definitely standing on his head tonight. He’s stepped up the last two-and-a-half games. Since the second or third period in Bangor, he’s been playing on fire.”

Nale tied it at 9:20 of the first by carrying the puck in on a rush and snapping a high backhander past Waterville goalie Nathan Pinnette (18 saves).


“I was just being outside on my backhand,” Nale said. “I put it on net and ended up going top shelf.”

Dexter’s first goal at 10:32 of the first proved to be the game-winner. Nale followed with his second goal, on the rebound of a Dustin Brown slapshot from the right point that tipped off Dexter’s stick, at 11:44 for the final goal of a back-and-forth first period.

“We made some bad decisions, and they can score,” said Waterville coach Dennis Martin, whose team had outscored Greely, Camden Hills and Hampden, 18-0, to start the season. “You can’t let them get going. That’s the key. When they get going, get odd-man rushes and stuff, they’re going to score.”

Dexter’s rebound goal at 3:06 of the second made it 5-2.

Waterville, which finished with a 28-24 advantage in shots, went back on the power play midway through the period but couldn’t beat Tuell’s glove on two promising opportunities. Then with 44 seconds left in the period, Burton took advantage of a wide open net to score his first goal on the rebound of Nale’s shot for a 6-2 lead.

“We just wanted to pepper (the) goalie with a lot of shots, get a guy down low, always keep a guy up high,” Nale said.


“In the second period, we had two breakdowns and they scored on both of them,” Martin said. “They capitalized on a lot of breakdowns. We didn’t capitalize on our chances.”

Burton’s end-to-end rush capped the scoring early in the third period.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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